# high end multimeters, part II

M

#### Michael

Jan 1, 1970
0
end multimeters. I ended up deciding to get the Fluke 189/FVF2. I put
in my order for it last week, and just heard back from Fluke (I am
Apparently, the 189 needs some special custom IC that they have run
out of stock of, and for whatever reason cannot get more stock of. So
they're just killing the line.

I can still order from a distributor that has stock - but it worries
me. I mean - I certainly suspect this means that there will be a
replacement for the 189 soon.

So, fine people of SED, what do you think? Get a 189? Wait for a new
model? Any other models I should be looking at?

Also - I asked them if there was a new one coming out, and they said
they couldn't tell me because they don't want to let their competition
know anything. Fluke has competition in the high end handheld
multimeter market? I had always thought that they were the only player
in town.

Anyways though - I think it's a fairly sure thing that a new one will
come out - but I just wonder when. I'd rather not spend $500 on a multimeter just to have it be outdated in a month... Thoughts? Thanks, -Michael E #### Eeyore Jan 1, 1970 0 Michael said: Hi there - a while ago I made a thread about recommendations for high end multimeters. I ended up deciding to get the Fluke 189/FVF2. I put in my order for it last week, and just heard back from Fluke (I am buying direct through them) that it is no longer being made!!! Apparently, the 189 needs some special custom IC that they have run out of stock of, and for whatever reason cannot get more stock of. So they're just killing the line. I can still order from a distributor that has stock - but it worries me. I mean - I certainly suspect this means that there will be a replacement for the 189 soon. So, fine people of SED, what do you think? Get a 189? Wait for a new model? Any other models I should be looking at? I've just been using a 189 actually and I'd get one. Nice meter. Look on ebay for a bargain one. Graham S #### SFC Jan 1, 1970 0 Eeyore said: I've just been using a 189 actually and I'd get one. Nice meter. Look on ebay for a bargain one. Graham What will happen if that special custom made chip blows? SFC M #### Michael Jan 1, 1970 0 "Eeyore" <[email protected]> schreef in bericht What will happen if that special custom made chip blows? SFC They said they're keeping extra stock on hand for repairs. But they will run out at some point - so it is a worry. -Michael M #### Michael Jan 1, 1970 0 I've just been using a 189 actually and I'd get one. Nice meter. Look on ebay for a bargain one. Graham It is a great meter. I stole my buddy's for a couple months and loved it. And the FVF2 package is awesome - has a ton of great accessories as well as the software and cable to read values in from the meter to the computer. But this whole thing has me really worried. -Michael E #### Eeyore Jan 1, 1970 0 Michael said: They said they're keeping extra stock on hand for repairs. But they will run out at some point - so it is a worry. Fluke's warranties are very good. Don't worry. Graham A #### Anthony Fremont Jan 1, 1970 0 Michael said: Hi there - a while ago I made a thread about recommendations for high end multimeters. I ended up deciding to get the Fluke 189/FVF2. I put in my order for it last week, and just heard back from Fluke (I am buying direct through them) that it is no longer being made!!! Apparently, the 189 needs some special custom IC that they have run out of stock of, and for whatever reason cannot get more stock of. So they're just killing the line. I can still order from a distributor that has stock - but it worries me. I mean - I certainly suspect this means that there will be a replacement for the 189 soon. So, fine people of SED, what do you think? Get a 189? Wait for a new model? Any other models I should be looking at? Also - I asked them if there was a new one coming out, and they said they couldn't tell me because they don't want to let their competition know anything. Fluke has competition in the high end handheld multimeter market? I had always thought that they were the only player in town. Anyways though - I think it's a fairly sure thing that a new one will come out - but I just wonder when. I'd rather not spend$500 on a
multimeter just to have it be outdated in a month...

Yeah, that doesn't sound too cool, but they'll probably have repair stock
for years. New models will come out anyway and hasn't the 189 been around
for a while now? There's allways an Extech 560 like I recently got.
http://www.extech.com/instrument/products/alpha/MM560_570.html
For about $200, I'm happy so far. Of course they want$80 for the interface
and the logging features aren't as nice as the Fluke. I just bought a 10K
..01% resistor and measured it. The display reads 9999 Ohms, I'm happy with
that accuracy. But then my 15 year old beater rat-shack meter shows it at
9990 Ohms which floored me. No affiliations yada yada, just a happy user of
one.

M

#### Michael

Jan 1, 1970
0
Fluke's warranties are very good.

Don't worry.

Graham

They said they'd have parts for it for a couple years. But the word
"couple" seemed a little ominous to me... It would have a 10 year
warranty on it which is decent, but when spending this much on a
multimeter I expect it to be around for a long, long time...

Problem is - I don't see what other options I have. This situation
just plain sucks.

-Michael

J

Jan 1, 1970
0
Michael said:
I can still order from a distributor that has stock - but it worries
me. I mean - I certainly suspect this means that there will be a
replacement for the 189 soon.

That's probably a farily good bet, although depending on whether Fluke still
viewed the 189 as "leading edge" vs. just an "old school solid performer,"
their recommended replacement might not be as close of a math to the 189 as
you'd like.
So, fine people of SED, what do you think? Get a 189? Wait for a new
model? Any other models I should be looking at?

I'd be tempted to get a 189 now, and if they do come up with something so
much better you can't live without it, sell the 189 on eBay.
Fluke has competition in the high end handheld
multimeter market? I had always thought that they were the only player
in town.

It's likely just a company policy. Although arguably there isn't *that much*
direct competition to the 189, HP has been releasing a lot of
"scopemeter"-like devices lately, and Keithley and HP and others all have
benchtop meters that compete. B&K Precision competes too.
Anyways though - I think it's a fairly sure thing that a new one will
come out - but I just wonder when. I'd rather not spend $500 on a multimeter just to have it be outdated in a month... It won't be outdated anyway: The Fluke 189 has the same basic accuracy specs as the Fluke 89 IV that was released something like a decade ago -- they'd just added a few useful additional features and made data logging (a lot) easier. ---Joel J #### Joel Kolstad Jan 1, 1970 0 Michael said: They said they're keeping extra stock on hand for repairs. But they will run out at some point - so it is a worry. Since it has a "lifetime" warranty, at some point they'd give you some "comparable" replacement from the models available at the time that it fails. E #### Eeyore Jan 1, 1970 0 Joel said: Since it has a "lifetime" warranty, at some point they'd give you some "comparable" replacement from the models available at the time that it fails. Fluke's warranties are superb. I got a client's 70 series DMM fixed for free even though they had no record of its purchase. Fluke simply accepted the serial number as evidence of eligibility. Graham G #### GregS Jan 1, 1970 0 Since it has a "lifetime" warranty, at some point they'd give you some "comparable" replacement from the models available at the time that it fails. Lifetme? Is my 189 lifetimed?? greg M #### Mike Monett Jan 1, 1970 0 Michael said: Hi there - a while ago I made a thread about recommendations for high end multimeters. I ended up deciding to get the Fluke 189/FVF2. I put in my order for it last week, and just heard back from Fluke (I am buying direct through them) that it is no longer being made!!! Apparently, the 189 needs some special custom IC that they have run out of stock of, and for whatever reason cannot get more stock of. So they're just killing the line. I can still order from a distributor that has stock - but it worries me. I mean - I certainly suspect this means that there will be a replacement for the 189 soon. So, fine people of SED, what do you think? Get a 189? Wait for a new model? Any other models I should be looking at? Also - I asked them if there was a new one coming out, and they said they couldn't tell me because they don't want to let their competition know anything. Fluke has competition in the high end handheld multimeter market? I had always thought that they were the only player in town. Anyways though - I think it's a fairly sure thing that a new one will come out - but I just wonder when. I'd rather not spend$500
on a multimeter just to have it be outdated in a month.

-Michael

Michael, over the years, I have spent a fortune on HP, Fluke, Tek
etc. lab equipment. All of it eventually died and became impossible
to repair.

I now have a policy of designing and building my own lab equipment.
The ic's available these days are inexpensive and probably supply
more than enough capability for anything you may wish to measure.

For example, the AD7794 is a low power, low noise, complete analog
front end for high precision measurement applications. It contains a
low noise 24Bit sigma-delta ADC with six differential inputs:

A few precision resistors and a stable voltage reference will give
you basic DC voltage and 4-wire ohms capability. Depending on your
requirements, true rms or log capability are available from ADI up
to several GHz. A simple program in Basic or whatever language you
choose can provide data logging. When newer is'c arrive, you can
simply redesign the circuit to incorporate the new chip and gain

You can easily add other interfaces to measure inductance and
capacitance to a resolution that would be difficult to purchase. Or
you can simply buy the AADE (sp?) meter for less than several
hundred dollars.

This applies across the board. There are very excellent designs for
wideband precision signal generators, Vector Network Analyzers, and
just about anything else you could possibly want. This newsgroup is
an excellent source of info on precision measurements. Just search
for any of Win's posts for information on precision current sources,
bridges, and many other topics.

I'm sure you would find many people willing to help with any design
and debug issues you run into.

When it comes time for an inexpensive sampling scope that will take
you to about 10GHz, check the Noise-Rejecting Wideband Sampler on my
web site:

All it needs is a pretty good time base

Regards,

Mike Monett

E

#### Esther & Fester Bestertester

Jan 1, 1970
0
end multimeters. I ended up deciding to get the Fluke 189/FVF2. I put
in my order for it last week, and just heard back from Fluke (I am
Apparently, the 189 needs some special custom IC that they have run
out of stock of, and for whatever reason cannot get more stock of. So
they're just killing the line.

Does this apply to the 187? (187 = 198 without logging)

S

#### Steve

Jan 1, 1970
0
Mike Monett said:
Michael, over the years, I have spent a fortune on HP, Fluke, Tek
etc. lab equipment. All of it eventually died and became impossible
to repair.

I now have a policy of designing and building my own lab equipment.
The ic's available these days are inexpensive and probably supply
more than enough capability for anything you may wish to measure.

If you need the capabilities of a 189, you're not going to duplicate that in
your own shop for under $500 - unless your time is free and you have no deadlines. And you still have to face the obsolescence question - its just been moved to somewhere else. If your DIY equipment fails (it always fails while you are trying to accomplish some other task, otherwise you wouldn't know it had failed), you suggest you might have to redesign it to use some other chip that's available at the time. I don't see how that's any more cost effective than throwing out a dead/unrepairable DMM and buying a newer model. Either way, there is a secondary investment at an inopportune time, to replace equipment that you expected to last longer than it did. If its a DIY device, the investment may be primarily time, instead of cash. But its still real money, and real schedule time. Overall, I am very happy with the 189. I wouldn't let impending obsolescence keep me from buying another one. Most of the time, DMM's last long enough that they don't owe us anything by the time they die. (My Heath DMM is 30 yrs old and works fine, but I needed true RMS and logging so I bought the 189. I still use both, plus several old HP bench DMM's). Buy what you need from a reputable brand, and assume that either the warranty will cover problems, or else it will last long enough that you aren't pissed off when it becomes necessary to replace it. And the third possibility, that its unrepairable in a short time due to some part supply problem that the manufacturer didn't adequately plan for, becomes a very low probability risk that you should be able to live with. As someone else suggested, in that case you should still be able to buy replacement parts on ebay. Steve M #### Mike Monett Jan 1, 1970 0 Steve said: If you need the capabilities of a 189, you're not going to duplicate that in your own shop for under$500 - unless your time
is free and you have no deadlines.

Your estimate is way too high. I got a small 3 1/2 digit from
Walmart. It's fine for general troubleshooting.

For other applications like process control, you don't need much.
And you still have to face the obsolescence question - its just
been moved to somewhere else.

Very few people need the capability of the ADI chip. It won't go
obsolete for a very long time.
If your DIY equipment fails (it always fails while you are trying
failed),

Why would it fail? Plenty of people here have designed products that
are still in service 20 or 30 years later.
you suggest you might have to redesign it to use some other chip
that's available at the time. I don't see how that's any more cost

The modules are so cheap I usually make a bunch. They are so simple
the reliability is very high. If something happens to one, I just
put another on-line.

A general-purpose dvm has a lot in a small package. For some reason,
all the ones I got from Fluke, Radio Shack, and others died in the

The more expensive equipment had a higher failure rate due to the
complexity. I could not afford to have multiple copies, so when they
went down, it was a major panic trying to find someone who could
repair them, ship them across country, then find them broken due to
shipping damage on the return trip.

Enough of that. I now make $25 to$50 modules that do anything I
need. Very rarely is there any reason to go more expensive, then not
by much. Certainly for the price of a used piece of test equipment,
I can make a whole lab of useful modules all ready to link together
on an opto-isolated bus and control processes or simply take data.
Either way, there is a secondary investment at an inopportune
time, to replace equipment that you expected to last longer than
it did.

If you make your own modules, you can easily afford multiple copies.
This is very useful for complex projects, since you can afford to do
much more than you could when buying commercial equipment.
If its a DIY device, the investment may be primarily time, instead
of cash. But its still real money, and real schedule time.

You can have greater performance for less cost, don't have to lug 19
inch rack equipment around, no need to pay for all the duplicate
displays, power supplies, keyboard entry, internal cabling, and
separate chassis big enough and strong enough to support all that
wasted redundancy.

When you control your own software, you can make the modules do
anything you want. Just try that with most commercial equipment.

Which, by the way, is now running on some version of Windows. The
reliability, or lack thereof, is sufficient reason alone to make
Overall, I am very happy with the 189. I wouldn't let impending
obsolescence keep me from buying another one. Most of the time,
DMM's last long enough that they don't owe us anything by the time
they die.

A simple dmm is not a big deal. It probably will give you some good
use, then die.
(My Heath DMM is 30 yrs old and works fine, but I needed true RMS
and logging so I bought the 189. I still use both, plus several
old HP bench DMM's).

See? A well-designed piece of equipment can last a long time.

For some reason, more recent equipment doesn't have the same
longevity. See my next comment.
Buy what you need from a reputable brand, and assume that either
the warranty will cover problems, or else it will last long enough
that you aren't pissed off when it becomes necessary to replace
it.
And the third possibility, that its unrepairable in a short time
due to some part supply problem that the manufacturer didn't
adequately plan for, becomes a very low probability risk that you
should be able to live with. As someone else suggested, in that
case you should still be able to buy replacement parts on ebay.

Long ago, I paid over \$50,000 for a brand-new HP 8505 network
analyzer just released. One year later, they took it off the market
because it was so badly designed.

When it died a short while later, the repair cost was so exorbitant,
that after I wasted so much time trying to fix it myself, I threw it
in the garbage.

Too bad. It had a nice YIG oscillator. But that was the part that
died.

Regards,

Mike Monett

D

#### DaveC

Jan 1, 1970
0
Does this apply to the 187? (187 = 198 without logging)

In the "for what it's worth" category, my local Grainger outlet (huge
for you non-US types) used to place the Fluke 187 & 189 meters on the wall
behind the counter, I presume because of the expensive price tags that they
have. They have recently been moved to the displays out on the floor. Maybe
they're hoping they'll be lifted? (c;

G

#### GregS

Jan 1, 1970
0
In the "for what it's worth" category, my local Grainger outlet (huge
for you non-US types) used to place the Fluke 187 & 189 meters on the wall
behind the counter, I presume because of the expensive price tags that they
have. They have recently been moved to the displays out on the floor. Maybe
they're hoping they'll be lifted? (c;

For the average tech, its overkill. Its a little large to carry around. Still, at the Fluke survey I attended,
the majority like them like the Fluke. Not the overkilled one, but the simpler ones. I think
i was the only one that had one out of about a group of a dozen of various industries.
For Grainger, I would not think its a big seller.

greg

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