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Fantastic for the price, terrible at high prices. For the non wood stuff.

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Review by dbhost posted 08-03-2016 03:07 PM 3049 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Fantastic for the price, terrible at high prices. For the non wood stuff. No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Unless you are 100% hand tools, you will likely eventually be dealing with electricity in your shop. I have an old Blue Point digital multimeter from the mid 1990s that simply kills this thing hands down, but keep in mind, I bought that one 20+ years ago at a price of several hundred dollars.

I misplaced the Blue Point and needed to know what was going on with my wiring. I needed a multimeter NOW, and I didn’t want to buy an expensive one. Harbor Freight to the rescue.

After the sale price, combined with the 20% off coupon the multimeter ended up in my toolbox for about $15.00. Maybe a little more, but without a doubt, not over $20.00 after taxes.

Over the years, I have owned meters from Sunn, Craftsman, Blue Point (Snap On), and Radio Shack. With the exception of the Blue Point, this CenTech meter fit, finish, and function wise beats all the others I have owned hands down. The meter is dead on accurate.

I give it 4 stars and say it is terrible at high prices because of the “feel” of the meter. It really does seem to be a cheaper copy of the Blue Point, but the plastics used, well, they are plenty obviously cheap. There is just a hard to explain tactile difference in using this meter compared to my high end meter that really is a big difference in feel when using it. Now the question is, are you going to use a multimeter often enough for a $200.00 + price difference worth it to you?

Had I not already owned the Blue Point (which I have since found again) I would happily give this thing 5 stars and move on my merry way. It really is a nice meter. Fully featured, very accurate, dead on easy to read, and a great bargain. It just feels, well, cheap in hand compared to a high end meter is all. It doesn’t effect function in the slightest.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/c/daves-workshop




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dbhost

5708 posts in 3226 days



12 comments so far

View dday's profile

dday

150 posts in 1423 days


#1 posted 08-03-2016 04:29 PM

I have one of the ones that they were giving away free with any purchase. It works great. It really has more functions than I need but it helped me diagnose my lawn tractor’s bad solenoid and let’s me check to make sure something’s really off when I think it is.. and of course, check a wire for a break..

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Gunnerb47

2 posts in 692 days


#2 posted 08-03-2016 05:26 PM

I also got the ones that were give ways also and gave one to each son and my son in law.
In my last position I use to pick them up and then hand them to the machine techs at work that did not have a meter. In my industry at that time keep in mind machine tech was a fancy title to give machine operators :)
They were smart intelligent persons but not really techs so this gave them just a bit more knowledge and capabilities. However these meters and those personnel were not allowed in the high voltage areas. Arc flashing has maimed and killed many maintenance electricians using proper equipment but not following all the safety protocols.

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dbhost

5708 posts in 3226 days


#3 posted 08-03-2016 06:24 PM



I also got the ones that were give ways also and gave one to each son and my son in law.
In my last position I use to pick them up and then hand them to the machine techs at work that did not have a meter. In my industry at that time keep in mind machine tech was a fancy title to give machine operators :)
They were smart intelligent persons but not really techs so this gave them just a bit more knowledge and capabilities. However these meters and those personnel were not allowed in the high voltage areas. Arc flashing has maimed and killed many maintenance electricians using proper equipment but not following all the safety protocols.

- Gunnerb47

You are scary right. Sadly I work in I.T. where I manage much of the video monitoring / logging systems. I have seen things from electrical mishaps that will haunt me for sure.

If you don’t know what you are doing around electricity, don’t get near it!

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/c/daves-workshop

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

1276 posts in 2104 days


#4 posted 08-03-2016 06:44 PM

I have a really nice Fluke 83V that stays in my shop, but have outfitted my R/V, my hangar, and r/c tool boxes with cheapies.

I have an example of the Centech reviewed here, but I really like this one a lot better for the same money:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KHP6EIK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I like the Etekcity so much, I’ve purchased three of them for various kits. It just feels less cheap, and I like the display and backlight best…

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dbhost

5708 posts in 3226 days


#5 posted 08-03-2016 07:47 PM

Wasn’t aware of the Etekcity unit. Yes the CenTech “feels” cheap. I mean really cheap. but it works well…

Those Fluke meters are awesome, but make my Blue Point look like a Harbor Freight tool price wise… We have some Fluke network analyzers that are monsterously expensive but they help me keep everything working right…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/c/daves-workshop

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3158 days


#6 posted 08-03-2016 11:59 PM

Had a Fluke, small hand held, not cheap, but it finally died after 20 years of use and abuse. I even sent it back to the factory when I broke the LCD. It was purchased over 35 years ago.

Now I have a good RS bench top that is very nice, about 10 years old, and used infrequently. I have another lesser one that is in a tool tote, but I am not at home so can’t look up the brand, but I think it is RS. I have had some cheapies, and they work surprisingly well. These days I don’t use them often, but I use them. I was into ham radio for a long time, built a bunch of Heathkits, but no longer. Don’t do much electronics these days, although I used to, but I do run a lot of 120 and 240 circuits….........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

17556 posts in 3182 days


#7 posted 08-04-2016 08:12 AM

Unless it is sent out for calibration its really hard to know how accurate the meter is. We have to have ours sent out every yr. I own cpl flukes and a Simpson 260 one of the best meters made. These work for home and bang around no doubt. However a digital meter can lead you down the wrong path at times while troubleshooting as far a voltage. It will pick up voltage if even if the wire has most of the strands broken. Good luck

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

1276 posts in 2104 days


#8 posted 08-04-2016 11:49 AM

Wasn’t aware of the Etekcity unit. Yes the CenTech “feels” cheap. I mean really cheap. but it works well…

Trust me, the Etekcity is still kind of cheap feeling…

Any of these cheapies are fine for lots of basic testing. For example, I don’t plug my R/V into unknown power connections until I verify all three wires as in the correct socket, as well as voltage. I’m not worried about 110 vs. 125 volts, I’m looking for 240 where I expect 120. Nothing kills the fun like a reversal or 240v on a connection labeled for 120.

I can also verify the basic state of charge in my 12v system, test fuses, bulbs, exterior lamp sockets, and find opens, shorts, and grounds in wiring that gets continually shaken and was assembled by drunken morons… None of this stuff requires a $400 meter.

Ken, a technique that helps me from being fooled by digital meters is to avoid using autorange whenever possible, especially on meters without an extremely visible decimal point.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3158 days


#9 posted 08-04-2016 02:13 PM

My main tool tote has a multimeter in it, essentially always has. I built it 25 years ago. It used to travel in the motor home with me when I had one. It even has a soldering gun, wire nuts, etc. It was really built mostly for electrical stuff. Here is a blog on it: tool tote

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Richard's profile

Richard

1916 posts in 2684 days


#10 posted 08-04-2016 07:09 PM

If I need to know if an outlet works I just plug something in and if it doesn’t work , the outlet is Dead. :)
Well I actually do a bit more than that so a decent meter is in my tool box as well.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2766 posts in 2290 days


#11 posted 08-05-2016 12:21 PM

“If I need to know if an outlet works I just plug something in and if it doesn’t work , the outlet is Dead” – not always true. I had to fix an outlet for someone that appeared dead. When I took the outlet out of the box it shorted against the metal box and I got a tickle (I shut off the circuits marked for the recepticals, but this turned out to be branched off a light fixture). The previous tenants broke the plastic on the fixture by yanking sideways on the cords as this was behind a couch and the neutral screw was loose so the outlet appeared to be kaput. If I had a non contact meter I would have known that there was live power there.

View Richard's profile

Richard

1916 posts in 2684 days


#12 posted 08-05-2016 06:17 PM



“If I need to know if an outlet works I just plug something in and if it doesn’t work , the outlet is Dead” – not always true. I had to fix an outlet for someone that appeared dead. When I took the outlet out of the box it shorted against the metal box and I got a tickle (I shut off the circuits marked for the recepticals, but this turned out to be branched off a light fixture). The previous tenants broke the plastic on the fixture by yanking sideways on the cords as this was behind a couch and the neutral screw was loose so the outlet appeared to be kaput. If I had a non contact meter I would have known that there was live power there.

- dhazelton


Yep there is always those Gotcha things , Murphy’s Law. :)

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