Instructables

Go buy a digital Multimeter next week...

Harbor Freight is having a sale. This is a quite useful meter; it probably won't set any accuracy records, but at $4.99, everyone experimenting with electronics ought to have one. At $2.09, everyone who thinks they MIGHT do electronics should get one, and actual experimenters should get two (so as to be able to measure current and voltage at the same time.)


Picture of Go buy a digital Multimeter next week...
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gmoon5 years ago
Just fried my cheapo Digital VOM last night :P (spiked to death testing a 375V transformer on the 750V setting.) Still have my Craftsman analog meter, but I need both.

Hey! Harbor Freight has a store 10 or 12 miles away...cool.
gmoon gmoon5 years ago
OK, checked out the retail store, which was only about 3 miles out-of-the-way today. Bought a similar meter (with back light) for $4, some heat-shrink tubing, and two stepped drill bits for $15. The larger of the bits is humongous, maxing out at 1 3/8 in. Sigh...my new favorite store....
I have yet to go into a Harbor Freight. My friend Michelle has been bugging me constantly about it, though. She did tempt me by telling me they might have watch tools there, though. :D
If you do happen to go into one, guaranteed you will not walk out empty handed. My nephew did get a watch case opener to change a multitude of batteries. He got tired of scratching the cases by trying to pry it off with pliers or a screwdriver. These are imported knockoffs of all kinds of stuff but if you need a one-off disposable tool like a giant drill bit or various hand tools a step-up from dollar-store brands and don't want to spend a lot, this is the place. Power tools lack the precision and quality. I would get the 36" pipe wrench to hang on my wall as art.
westfw (author)  caitlinsdad5 years ago
Yeah; HF has a reputation for "marginal" quality tools, but I find it to be a pretty perfect match for my "hobbyist" skill, interest, usage, and thriftyness level. The meter is a good example. It probably lacks accuracy compared to a $100 meter, and I wouldn't expect it to hold up to constant abuse, and I'm not sure I'd actually use it on 1000V circuits. But sheesh! Less than $3! (and of course, it's probably built by the same company that provides most of the $10 meters found at Sears/etc...)
These cheap meters hold up remarkably well, I've had on more than 5 years and it's been dropped multitudes of times and even flooded with transmission fluid. I also have their better meter which goes on sale for $19.99 often.
I think I had one of the circuit testers just to check if the power was off before I changed a wall outlet. You can never have too many of those around and try to find one when you need it just like a pencil or tape measure, anyway, poked it in the outlet box and I guess it popped and smoked from grounding out on the outlet box. I checked the probe tip and it was hollow metal unlike a quality solid probe which would have survived with a burn mark. It's like a candy store. Not the high end Dove chocolates, but you can still get your fix.
HFT is great for a hobbyist or someone without lots of money to blow on tools. I got a reciprocating saw for only $16 I figure even if it only lasts 1/4 of the life of an expensive one its still worth it. I was going to pick up a few for my EV, but I haven't started it yet
As long as you know what you are getting, I have no problem with that. It just makes you appreciate what really good tools should be. I think you have to compensate a fairly OK machine with better accessories though, like spending the money you saved overall on the saw for a few good name brand blades. They do have a bunch of welding equipment fairly cheap that would be fun to work with.
Actually I bought my blades from them (only ruined one so far). I can't wait to get one of those welders. They used to have ones for only $80!!! I'm taking a welding class right now, so it might finally happen!
zachninme5 years ago
Is it possible to make solar mutlimeters? It seems that people that have these style of multimeter never use them and are apt to leave them on, thus being always dead. It would be nice if there were meters like this that didn't have a battery so you don't run into that problem. Then again, its worth noting the people who'd buy this sort of thing are going for the cheapest... something solar wouldn't help with.
NachoMahma5 years ago
. "Offer good for in-store purchases only." Arrrrgh! No bricks-and-mortar HF in my area. . Makes me feel kind of silly for spending $200+ for my Fluke 77. I don't really need true RMS. I could have bought 100 of the cheapies and called them disposable. :)