It ended…..

…..the long spell without rain that is. We had over a 100 mm during the last 24 hours in Longtan, but the south of Taiwan was worse off with some serious flooding. The temperature has dropped to a cool 22 degrees Celsius, but the forecast tells us that it will be back up to 35 degrees in no time and it will stay that way for the next week.

Despite it being hot and muggy I did spend some time in the shack on Sunday. Tried to fix the fan in the radiation shield of my weather station, but then my digital multi-meter refused to cooperate. Put the fan aside and spend an hour searching for the problem, but without a second DMM it is kind of difficult. I’ve had this DMM for the last 20 years and it was a gift from my father. It gave me a lot of joy during that time, but there is an end to everything so I am not too sentimental about retiring it. Besides, 20 year old technology is rather dated.

But what to buy as a replacement? The market is flooded with Chinese equipment delivered directly to your door. I am not a professional and only use a DMM for basic measurements and one of those Chinese ones should be good enough for me. On the other hand a nice Fluke would make my future measurements look a bit more professional. So I turned to the internet and the EEVblog website for some advice. Dave has made a buyers guide special on digital multimeters and it is both fun and entertaining to watch. Funny to see my 20 year old instrument in a slightly updated version passing by, but Dave makes pretty convincing points to not buy a similar model again with safety (actually lack of) as the main point. So go for quality and higher specs, but do I really need accuracy better than 0.5% and true RMS measurements? Probably not. But maybe once I get more options or better readings I find that they are really handy and then why have I waited so long in getting them?

Usually I try to find the best value for money. By searching RS and our local eBay site I narrowed down my list to the Agilent U1232A and the Fluke 115, because they are brand names and come out great in tests without being shabby on features. I also looked at lesser known and Taiwanese brands but funnily enough Taiwanese brands like Brymen are hard to get here Taiwan. Chinese brands, on the other hand, are not and one brand stood out a bit, namely Uni-T. Martin Lorton had very indept review of the Uni-T 61E on YouTube and I guess I will go with one of those. They are not the latest greatest, not the fastest, but they seem well build, accurate, safe and only a third of the price of a Fluke 115. A Sunday afternoon well spent and another problem solved.

Hans "Fong" van den Boogert, BX2ABT, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Taiwan. Contact him at [email protected].

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