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Old 08-21-2015, 10:27 AM   #15
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Klein or Ideal are good buys.

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Old 08-21-2015, 10:53 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by 1bigmess View Post
I challenge anyone to provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a simple V-Ohmmeter like those that HF gives away are inaccurate enough that they cannot be trusted for troubleshooting or other use on an RV. Broken meters don't count for this challenge.

How much meter accuracy is truly necessary for RV electrical? +-1%? Are you gonna say there's a problem with a circuit if a meter reads 123 volts vs 120? 12.86 vs 12.91? Mass producing an inexpensive V-Ohmmeter isn't rocket science, the darn thing doesn't have to land on a comet that is hurtling through space.

And the price is right!
I have to agree! I have many meters, analog digital, high quality expensive.
I made my living in electronics, I&C. For years the troubleshooting standard was the Simpson 260, and there are only a few who can read it to 3 decimal places. You are not calibrating your RV to the Bureau of Standards.

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Old 08-21-2015, 01:05 PM   #17
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I stated they are GREAT for troubleshooting as they indicate well.

However if accuracy is needed such as verifying battery float voltage they need to be checked against a reference.

Yes I have used them for both and while being responsible for hundreds of battery plants I can safely advise that tenths of a volt matter and a couple % error could mean toasted batteries.

13.6 is happy place for a VRLA battery and if error of 4 % which is what the last ones had then the voltage could be set too high if meter read low.

Remember the battery is picky and charge current is 0.1% C so maybe 0.1 amps and a slightly higher voltage will increase that rate.

1 amp WILL toast the battery over time in storage.
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:09 PM   #18
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What kind of brand/model of Volt ohm meter?

Sears Craftsman makes a nice meter which often goes on sale for $15-20. Works well. Has a rugged case with kick stand. I have three or four of them (Motorhome, jeep, shop, etc) for many years.
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:16 PM   #19
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For someone that is *not* making a living by the +-1% of a volt or surviving on a battery system, for the casual RVer nearly any V-Ohmmeter will be fine, even if a half a volt off at 13.5 volts.

None of my meters read the same as any of the others, and I have no way to reference them. Somehow I've stayed out of trouble and my batteries are fine, nice 12.6 resting voltages for all.

One can spend their money any way they wish. Recommending a $100+ dollar V-ohmmeter without knowing what the other person needs it for is, IMO, Brand Loyalty at best, showing off, or at worst a waste of money for the person asking for the recommendation.

As always, buyer beware of their own situation, when going cheap or buying the best quality available.

So again, what does one really need for RV work?

If one buys the best quality available, how do they know it is calibrated properly despite any reassurances from the manufacturer or retailer?
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Old 08-21-2015, 01:49 PM   #20
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One thing I look for in a meter especially for trouble shooting is a Back light to read without aiming a flashlight at it when your cramped up in no or low light situations. Another is a Minimum/Maximum feature to help you out trouble shooting.
An AC/DC clamp meter is great & even better when it has 0-10 amp DC plug in jacks on it too. My clamp on meter has all & very handy. I think mine is an Amprobe.
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Old 08-21-2015, 06:47 PM   #21
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I have had my Fluke 7-600 for 30 years (or more). It has been wet, dropped, wedged under a tool box, and beat to no end. Still works like a charm! Think I paid $25-$30 for it back then. I remember having to think twice about buying such an expensive meter, LOL! \ken
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Old 08-21-2015, 06:57 PM   #22
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I have a nice Fluke and a couple of other meters that I've collected over the yeas, but they just gather dust. When I'm working on my cars or motor home (12 volt systems) I just want something simple that I can see a dial swing at a glance. I use one like this 99% of the time. Analog Tester - 5 Function

Mine also has a tone setting on the Ohm portion of the meter and it's easy to here it when I'm contorted under a dash.
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:11 PM   #23
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Have used a fluke for many years It cost me $250 and never failed me. I replaced the probes once. The one I have is a little more then one would normally use for DIY type guy, They are the best IMO and I made a living using MM for many years. Worth the extra $$$
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:23 PM   #24
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For the money, this one, AC and DC current, voltage and resistance. The only problem with this one is I had to paint the little arrow on the dial so that could see it better.

Amazon.com: MASTECH MS2108A 400 AC DC Current Clamp Meter: Industrial & Scientific
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:34 PM   #25
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Ok, cheap meters certainly can give you accurate results. However for the non tech guy that gets an erroneous measurement because of cheap connections, crummy probes, or short leads and cannot make a decent measurement, why would anyone that spends tens of thousands of dollars on an RV cheap out on a tool? Give me a break. Most of the people on here are not tech geeks like me but to recommend a piece of crap tool is asking them to buy a cheap knuckle breaker tool.

Yes a knuckle breaker tool will work and we have all used them. A decent voltmeter is one of the least expensive tools in the box. Get a good one so those of us that spend countless hours helping our fellow rvers are not troubled by erroneous measurements or lack of confidence.

Yes Harbor Freight can supply a voltmeter. Do you want to use a $5 dollar piece of equipment while you are stranded along the road? If you want help from well qualified folks get a good meter and do some practice with it. There are many you tubes to help.
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:36 PM   #26
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I have Fluke, Simpson and B&K DMM's. I also have a half dozen Harbor freights for my tool boxes. The biggest difference is the better meters have another digit. All digital meters suffer from a +_ 1 count on the last digit as part of the conversion process. If in doubt I do a bit of calibration of the cheap meters against the good one's. If I see a significant spread on the good one's I'll pay to get one calibrated since I no longer can get one done for free. OTOH standards are not that expensive. ;-)
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:43 PM   #27
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Check out radio shack. Meter is inexpensive, analog and foolproof-even the wife can use it. I have had one for maby 20 yrs-replaced internal battery's once, cover is broken off & is still my favorite. Keep in tool box but also keep a "free" HF one in each vehicle-"in case". Also sometimes I prefer to see the needle move on an digital instead of trying to read the analog when I am working upside down in the dark while trying to diagnose an electrical issue.
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Old 08-21-2015, 07:48 PM   #28
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I got a Mastech MS2108 True-RMS AC/DC Clamp Meter with Inrush Current Measurement, $68 from Amazon. A True-RMS meter was required when I checked the converter in a Sightseer I had.

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