Introduction: Upgrading Your Inexpensive Multimeter

Picture of Upgrading Your Inexpensive Multimeter

Like most low-cost multimeters the probes that come with the meter basically suck.  The quickest way to upgrade any meter is to buy better probes.  This is often very inexpensive and goes a long way.

You ask, can simply upgrading the quality of probes count as a meter upgrade?  I strongly believe so.  A great set of probes makes a world of difference, and I know you will appreciate the difference too.

I recommend buying a set of Fluke probes that come with the booted alligator clip ends.  These will last you forever and are worth every dollar.  What's more is that they really are not too outrageous in price, and way cheaper than a brand new meter.

There is one catch however.  Oh yes, there is always one catch.  The connector ends must be modified.  You see, the Fluke probes have shrouds around the banana plugs that connect to the meter.  Smart design, but unnecessary.  Simply cut the shroud off and the probe will connect to your Radioshack meter, or and meter that uses banana plug connectors.  Even modified these probes will still work with Fluke meters.  See photos for before and after modification.

Before anyone asks, the answer is No.  I am not affiliated with Fluke nor am I a sales person for any supplier what-so-ever.  I chose Fluke probes because the price was right and the quality was clearly there.  Other higher-end equipment manufacturer's probes should work too, they just might require a different modification from that outlined here.

Another quick and inexpensive must have probe is the Mini Hook Clip.  This probe will save you tons of time and frustration while reducing the posibility of shorting a circuit while under test.  See the photos of them connected to the ever popular Arduino.

If this doesn't drastically improve your meter feel free to call me a liar, but I know you won't.

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Comments

pfred2 (author)2012-06-28

I just remove the probe end and put my own clips on the cable. I have alligator leads, mini grabber, and micro grabber leads too. I don't know why meter companies just toss everyone probe leads. Probably because they're the cheapest, simplest things going. I rarely use them myself though.

Those alligator clips on the ends of the probes look really clumsy to me. I prefer just alligator clips on the ends of lead wires.

That sure looks like one cheesy meter you have there. You should buy a Fluke to go with your nice leads. Fluke meters are really nice.

WWC (author)pfred22012-07-07

You are correct. Fluke is top of the line. I have been using this one for many years Maybe 15 plus years.

Jason Bedard (author)pfred22012-06-29

It certainly is a cheesy meter. The silicone booted clips are not much use with low voltage but are quite nice with AC sources and higher voltage DC.

pfred2 (author)Jason Bedard2012-07-07

It isn't widely known but I am the patron saint of cheesy meters:

http://i.imgur.com/8dalX.jpg

Just some of my vast hoard. You should see the tub of leads I have!

Jason Bedard (author)pfred22012-07-07

That is a great collection.

I have owned a few of those very meters myself. The Multimeter shown on the far left is actually the autoranging version of the one featured in my instructable.

Thanks for sharing that photo.

Lectric Wizard (author)2012-06-29

I have a set of Fluke leads that have been in use professionally , daily , for over 10 years & still as good as new, though red has faded to dark pink ...cheers!

Yeah, they're built well. The set in the photos are about 15 years old. Mine must have had less UV exposure to have held their colour so well. Thanks for checking out this instructable.

Lectric Wizard (author)2012-06-29

Always thought a good sales slogan would be " If it works, it's a FLUKE " He He !

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