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Old 01-18-2021, 07:02 PM   #1
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Multimeter for DIY motorhome owner

I am not asking what I should buy, I already have a number of good multimeters. Instead I am asking what features in a multimeter you think are important for the DIY'er motorhome owner.


I know a lot of you are going to say the basic $5 Harbor Freight multimeter is all anyone needs, and agree one can do a lot with one of these cheap meters, and they are better than nothing, but there is still a lot they don't do.


It is my hope that this thread might help us come up with a list of features everyone doing more than basic trouble shooting should shop for when buying a multimeter for use around an RV, in particular a typical motorhome.


To me the important points in rough order of importance are:
Volts DC, True RMS volts AC (true RMS due to all the inverters out there that may read incorrectly on more basic meters), including Min/Max and Average Volt feature, Continuity meter, Ohm meter, Hz meter for generator governor tuning, AC/DC clamp meter, Capacitor tester for testing air conditioner capacitors, diode test function and a proximity voltage alarm


Did I miss any?
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Old 01-18-2021, 08:06 PM   #2
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aside from standard multimeter functions, AC & DC current function is a must have
I know you listed it, just sayin' don't leave home without it!
makes problem solving so much easier.....just need to learn basic electricity and how to use it
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Old 01-18-2021, 08:09 PM   #3
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+1 DC clamp on amps... many do AC just be sure it does DC.
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Old 01-18-2021, 08:16 PM   #4
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Audible continuity is a biggie.

Good quality probes and wires. Plus piercing tips addon.

Ruggedized case - for the occational drop.

Autoranging is a nice to have. However for RV use typically only using on 12vdc or 120/240vac, so not a biggy.

I carry two meters. One being a clamp-on (ensure does both AC & DC).
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Old 01-18-2021, 08:17 PM   #5
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In answer to your question a the end, nope, at least I don't think so.
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Old 01-21-2021, 10:36 AM   #6
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Audible continuity feature is a must. Saves nots of time when chasing connections.
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Old 01-21-2021, 12:02 PM   #7
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While we are talking about nice to have features, i would also add a backlit display
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Old 01-21-2021, 12:30 PM   #8
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Pretty complete list, esp the DC current clamp.
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:14 AM   #9
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Few issues/ thoughts: 1) *** T-RMSV meter is several hundred $$, and screen/ display labeled as such; 2) AC-VOLTMETER CAN BE USED TO TUNE GEN; 3) CHEAPEST/ EASIEST when capacitor suspect is REPLACE? (***Ran into issue/ MFR discussion recently w/ UPS). (My concern w/ NO experience) wud b the typical 2000-watt RV INVERTERS and their waveforms? The LOW VOLTAGE issue I experienced w/ UPS TEST gave SLOW SPEED (vs house voltage) to little <40w fan, i.e similar to a YOUTUBE user test w/ MICROWAVE OVEN POWER/sounds using RV 2000-WATT INVERTER.
(FOOTNOTE): Recent experience & mfr CONVERSATION w/ (cheap $$ and moderate $$ computer UPS) output voltage (both square wave, similar readings, 85-95-vac w/ cheap HF meter and a BECKMAN. I See a SIMPSON 260 om SAYS: "The 260 responds to the average value of an AC waveform. It is calibrated in terms of the RMS value of a pure sine wave. If the waveform is nonsinusoidal, and depending upon its waveform, the reading may be either higher or lower than the
true RMS value of the measured voltage. Thus an error may be introduced if the
260 is used to measure a non-sinusoidal waveform. Also, accuracy is lessened at
higher input frequencies..."
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Old 01-22-2021, 01:14 AM   #10
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One get get a good true RMS meter for a lot less than several hundred dollars, for $170 one can buy my first pick of multimeters for RV repair use, a Fluke 117 online, there are also a number of RMS multimeters from lesser brands for under half that.


Here is one from a brand name company that claims true RMS voltage for about $75 https://smile.amazon.com/Amprobe-AM-.../dp/B007FZFE9K


Here is another for $66 https://smile.amazon.com/Extech-EX35...dp/B01AIUCNOW/


there are many others for even less from companies no one has ever heard of before.
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:54 PM   #11
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A dual/low impedance Lo-z meter can save you from loosing your mind I you find ghost voltage where you started looking and no power can flow. Works like a wiggy ,analog or test light to 12vdc.
Here's a decent meter not too high priced
https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...,sgro:iv,mvi:0
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Old 01-22-2021, 07:27 PM   #12
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I find frequency really handy with non-inveter gensets.
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Old 02-06-2021, 07:27 PM   #13
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I don’t even know how to use my multi-meter to be honest but if I were shopping for one, the first criteria would be not “made in China”. But that is just me.
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Old 02-06-2021, 08:37 PM   #14
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Where would you prefer it be made?
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