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Offline Carlos  
#1 Posted : 15 May 2022 15:21:24(UTC)
Carlos

United States   
Joined: 15/11/2014(UTC)
Posts: 106
Location: Freeport, New York
Hello to everybody:

Is the Fluke-117 a good multimeter to be used to read AC Volts in the Marklin C tracks ? The price for this one is U$S 250. Any sugestion ?

Thank you, regards

Carlos
Offline Bigdaddynz  
#2 Posted : 15 May 2022 15:32:45(UTC)
Bigdaddynz

New Zealand   
Joined: 17/09/2006(UTC)
Posts: 18,409
Location: New Zealand
It's a True RMS meter so should be good for measuring the voltage on Marklin tracks - the voltage is actually a square wave, but is best read on the AC setting of a multimeter. Because of that you may only get an approximate reading.

Plus it is a Fluke meter, probably one of the best you can get.
Offline Carlos  
#3 Posted : 15 May 2022 17:18:17(UTC)
Carlos

United States   
Joined: 15/11/2014(UTC)
Posts: 106
Location: Freeport, New York
Originally Posted by: Bigdaddynz Go to Quoted Post
It's a True RMS meter so should be good for measuring the voltage on Marklin tracks - the voltage is actually a square wave, but is best read on the AC setting of a multimeter. Because of that you may only get an approximate reading.

Plus it is a Fluke meter, probably one of the best you can get.


Thank you Bigdaddynz, I going to buy one right now.

Regards,

Carlos
Offline analogmike  
#4 Posted : 15 May 2022 20:38:32(UTC)
analogmike

United States   
Joined: 02/08/2014(UTC)
Posts: 708
Location: NEW JERSEY, USA
$250.00 for a multimeter? NOT. I was just on amazon and saw one for under $50.00 and it was a fluke too. If you're only checking for voltage why not just get a cheap one and buy a new train with the money you saved?

Mikey
I love the smell of smoke fluid in the morning .
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Offline blid  
#5 Posted : 15 May 2022 21:30:04(UTC)
blid

Sweden   
Joined: 02/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 196
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
I bought a DCC Specialties RRampMeter II for about $85.
CS2, 60215, 4x60174, C-tracks, LDT HSI-88, TC Gold. OneGauge Marklin and MTH, ESU ECoS 2.1 on LGB tracks. MTH 3-rail 0-gauge, DCS on GarGraves tracks. Z: Rokuhan tracks, analog or DCC+TC.
Offline JohnjeanB  
#6 Posted : 15 May 2022 21:40:56(UTC)
JohnjeanB

France   
Joined: 04/02/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,129
Location: Paris, France
Hi
In Carrefour France, a multimeter is 25€. It was much cheaper a few years back (under 10€ a decade ago) Agreed it is not a Fluke but works very well for Train and digital use.
No matter what the measure of a digital voltage will be very indicative. For checking diodes and the Beta factor on transistors it is OK I think
Cheers
Jean
My layout videos
latest vid
marshalling yard
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Offline Bigdaddynz  
#7 Posted : 16 May 2022 01:34:42(UTC)
Bigdaddynz

New Zealand   
Joined: 17/09/2006(UTC)
Posts: 18,409
Location: New Zealand
Originally Posted by: Carlos Go to Quoted Post
Thank you Bigdaddynz, I going to buy one right now.


Here's the spec sheet for the Fluke 117.

Fluke117.pdf (362kb) downloaded 18 time(s).

I have 3 multimeters. The first is a Digitech Digital True RMS meter which I purchased to replace my old analog meter, which I think was a Sanwa meter. I had been using it in the garage doing some work on the car. I must have moved the car for some reason and found the meter wedged under the front tyre. The case was cracked but the meter did still work for a few years after that and when it failed that's when I got my Digitech. The Digitech is a good meter and I still use it, but I got a cheap $20 analog meter because the continuity buzzer in the Digitech failed and it was a real pain not having that especially when you're under the layout trying to test for shorts. The analog meter is great for testing for continuity.

https://www.jaycar.co.nz...GiQt2EAQYAiABEgLKEfD_BwE

You can see the price of that meter has nearly doubled since I bought mine.

A few years ago I bought a Fluke 287 which is now the meter I use the most. It has a relative setting on it where you can measure a relative signal in relation to another signal. For example, in the audio world 0.775v is a reference level commonly referred to as 0db. The Fluke will produce a + or - db measurement relative to 0db.

It has all the other stuff as well, frequency measurement, capacitance, temperature (with a suitable probe), and it also has a continuity buzzer that works!
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Offline Toosmall  
#8 Posted : 16 May 2022 04:56:36(UTC)
Toosmall

Australia   
Joined: 26/07/2021(UTC)
Posts: 233
Location: Sydney
Nothing wrong with analogue meters, I have an amp and volt analogue meters in the car for my solar setup when camping. Quicker than looking up the Victron bluetooth app.



I have a couple of cheap multimeters & they are accurate enough for model trains.

Also have a Kyoritsu 2046R DC clamp meter. I would be lost without it. Once you start using a clamp meter you wonder how you survived without one.

The 2046R only goes down to 0.1 amp. But there is a work around for low amp readings. Wrap the positive (not both) through the clamp 4 times, then divide your reading by 4, easy! Or 10 times and divide by 10 etc.
Offline Goofy  
#9 Posted : 16 May 2022 06:14:55(UTC)
Goofy


Joined: 12/08/2006(UTC)
Posts: 8,582
Why to get one fluke when you have CS3 to read out voltage on the track??
H0
DCC = Digital Command Control
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Offline H0  
#10 Posted : 16 May 2022 08:08:52(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,603
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: JohnjeanB Go to Quoted Post
Agreed it is not a Fluke but works very well for Train and digital use.
To get a useful reading for digital track voltage, you will need a True RMS multimeter with a sufficiently high sampling rate.
Or use a cheap multimeter in DC mode with a bridge rectifier and a capacitor to get a useful indicator.

But do not trust the reading of a cheap multimeter in AC mode when it comes to track voltages. Swap the red and brown leads and when you get a completely different reading, then you know the multimeter in AC mode is not useful for track voltages.
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
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Offline Carlos  
#11 Posted : 16 May 2022 17:40:53(UTC)
Carlos

United States   
Joined: 15/11/2014(UTC)
Posts: 106
Location: Freeport, New York
Thank you for your suggestions but I already decided to buy the Fluke 117 which I'm waiting by mail

Regards,

Carlos
Offline Bryan  
#12 Posted : 17 May 2022 22:42:23(UTC)
Bryan

Australia   
Joined: 08/09/2010(UTC)
Posts: 148
Location: Bowral, NSW, Australia
I have been looking at Fluke multimeters for quite a while.
There are boundless reviews on them and they are considered the best on the market.
The one I am looking at is the Fliuke 87V, all the reviews cannot basically fault it.
Fully RMS and any value measured is exact as measured on predefined inputs. It is the most accurate hand held multimeter you can buy before going to bench units.
I currently have a supposedly fully RMS multimeter from Jaycar, some functions do not even zero out on selection. As once being a production line electrician, it does go against what you are use to.
Buying expensive tooling for a few , I can understand not worthwhile, however quality tools always better in the long run.
I will be buying my 87V next financial year, as I have bought a lot of tooling already for the workshop this year.

David
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Offline Toosmall  
#13 Posted : 18 May 2022 00:00:23(UTC)
Toosmall

Australia   
Joined: 26/07/2021(UTC)
Posts: 233
Location: Sydney
The Fluke 87v looks like a nice multimeter.

Here is the Kyoritsu 1061 for reference.
https://www.kew-ltd.co.j...n/products/detail/00977/
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Offline xxup  
#14 Posted : 18 May 2022 01:41:58(UTC)
xxup

Australia   
Joined: 15/03/2003(UTC)
Posts: 9,351
Location: Australia
Fluke 87V - A$1000 . See https://sydneytools.com....trial-digital-multimeter

Serious kit there..
Adrian
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Offline Mark5  
#15 Posted : 18 May 2022 02:00:11(UTC)
Mark5

Canada   
Joined: 29/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,201
Location: Montreal, Canada
I have a cheap digital and one analog multimeter.

I am not an expert in electronics or pcb boards, I just follow the plan and solder what I am told as closely as possible, often I just understand the gist.
What would be the principal reason to need such accuracy on the track?

My only thought is, I would want to test where and when I might need a booster.
No idea really how that would work in digital as I have never tried.

Can anyone list their main uses? ... or is the list too long.
DB DR FS NS SNCF c. 1955-65, fan of V200, electrics and steam, so hard to narrow down...
...signaling systems, yard traffic and shunting, Sommerfeldt catenary,
and station architecture (esp. stations from 1920-70).
In process: a new modular layout, track planning and drawing benchwork.
Email anytime or chat live: https://discord.gg/jAEKyTWQPQ
Offline H0  
#16 Posted : 18 May 2022 07:54:27(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,603
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: Mark5 Go to Quoted Post
What would be the principal reason to need such accuracy on the track?
IMHO the accuracy is often not needed, but people should know about the inaccuracy of the El Cheapo meters.

From time to time we see posts from people in panic writing "I only have 11 V track voltage" or "I have 32 V track voltage". No need to panic, this is the expected display you get from an El Cheapo in AC mode when measuring track voltage.

You need a second booster when the first booster often switches off with overload.

You need an accurate volt reading under load to find out if you need more feeder wires. Noobs often think they need more boosters or more transformers, when only more feeder wires are needed.
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
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Offline Purellum  
#17 Posted : 18 May 2022 10:00:40(UTC)
Purellum

Denmark   
Joined: 08/11/2005(UTC)
Posts: 3,441
Location: Mullerup, 4200 Slagelse
Cool

Originally Posted by: H0 Go to Quoted Post
You need an accurate volt reading under load to find out if you need more feeder wires.


The "under load" part is actually the most important thing here, and where a lot of people fail BigGrin

Per.

Cool

If you can dream it, you can do it!

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Offline bgemski  
#18 Posted : 18 May 2022 21:04:41(UTC)
bgemski

United States   
Joined: 15/05/2003(UTC)
Posts: 153
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ
I have used the Fluke 28 II, pricey yeah but built like a tank and true rms along with a few other goodies built in.
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Offline Bigdaddynz  
#19 Posted : 19 May 2022 02:08:30(UTC)
Bigdaddynz

New Zealand   
Joined: 17/09/2006(UTC)
Posts: 18,409
Location: New Zealand
Originally Posted by: xxup Go to Quoted Post
Fluke 87V - A$1000 . See https://sydneytools.com....trial-digital-multimeter

Serious kit there..


My Fluke 287 would have cost me $1700+ NZD had I purchased it here, but I got mine off Amazon US. I had to have it relay shipped via NZ Post's Youshop service (Amazon would only ship within the US), but even with those costs and GST added on, the total cost was around $750 NZD.

The current NZ element14 price for the 287 is $1724.79 NZD - Fluke 287

The 87V price is $1154.21 NZD - Fluke 87V
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Offline Normmeister  
#20 Posted : 19 May 2022 03:03:28(UTC)
Normmeister


Joined: 15/04/2011(UTC)
Posts: 36
Location: Australia
people think that it has to be true RMS to get an accurate result because the track signal is not sine wave, which is what ac voltmeters are calibrated to. While this is true, what most do not realise is that the real limitation in measuring track voltage is that it is quite high in frequency compared to the 50 or 60 Hz that again ac voltmeters are calibrated for. The sampling rate is a much more important figure, in other words the "frequency response" of the meter. In the same way one would not use a common DVM to measure the frequency response of an audio amplifier.
Some DVMs have a much better high frequency response than others, but this figure is not normally shown for DVMs.

Norm.
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Offline Mark5  
#21 Posted : 19 May 2022 06:41:42(UTC)
Mark5

Canada   
Joined: 29/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,201
Location: Montreal, Canada
Originally Posted by: H0 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Mark5 Go to Quoted Post
What would be the principal reason to need such accuracy on the track?
....

You need a second booster when the first booster often switches off with overload.

You need an accurate volt reading under load to find out if you need more feeder wires. Noobs often think they need more boosters or more transformers, when only more feeder wires are needed.


That is gold. Thank you.
More feeder wire and good connections have usually been the resolution on our excessively long carpetbahns.
DB DR FS NS SNCF c. 1955-65, fan of V200, electrics and steam, so hard to narrow down...
...signaling systems, yard traffic and shunting, Sommerfeldt catenary,
and station architecture (esp. stations from 1920-70).
In process: a new modular layout, track planning and drawing benchwork.
Email anytime or chat live: https://discord.gg/jAEKyTWQPQ
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H0
Offline H0  
#22 Posted : 19 May 2022 08:05:13(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,603
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: Normmeister Go to Quoted Post
While this is true, what most do not realise is that the real limitation in measuring track voltage is that it is quite high in frequency compared to the 50 or 60 Hz that again ac voltmeters are calibrated for.
I mentioned that in post #10.
Practical experience shows that the readings of an old True RMS Fluke meter with a sampling rate of around 100 Hz were far from the correct values.

Simple volt meters just measure the average voltage of the rectified current and estimate the effective voltage with a correction factor for sine waves. That explains the huge difference when swapping the test leads. I think frequency does not really matter here.
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
UserPostedImage
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Offline marklinist5999  
#23 Posted : 19 May 2022 15:17:35(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 1,701
Location: Michigan, Troy
I have a Craftsman that uses a 9 volt battery and it works fine for my needs. It has 3 lead ports. I don't even know how to test every component, so I don't see what a more costly meter would do for me.
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Offline Bryan  
#24 Posted : 20 May 2022 23:13:35(UTC)
Bryan

Australia   
Joined: 08/09/2010(UTC)
Posts: 148
Location: Bowral, NSW, Australia
Another advantage of the Fluke multimeters looked up is that they are repairable. With the 87V all spare parts are available, especially housing parts. The meters can also be returned to Fluke to be repaired. In this day of throwing out a tool with the slightest breakage or malfunction it is a refreshing change. The 87V has a limited lifetime warranty as well.

David
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