Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Touch-Screen, Wireless and Detachable Displays Make Modern Multimeters Exciting

From general-purpose to high-end measurements, multimeters are widely-used tools. Today, there is an extensive variety of multimeters in the market, including ones with wireless capabilities and touch-screen interfaces to make measurements intuitive. In this article, we attempt to guide you in selecting the right multimeter for your needs. -- Abhishek A Mutha

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What is new in multimeters, feature-wise

Fig. 3: Fluke’s 233 in action
Fig. 3: Fluke’s 233 in action

Wireless connectivity and data logging. Some T&M companies have launched next-generation wireless connectivity solutions for digital multimeters that let you measure over a greater expanse, quicker and trouble-free. For instance, Fluke’s CNX 3000 wireless multimeter allows you to access live measurements from three wireless modules, apart from the meter reading, from up to 20 metres away. This helps in seeing cause and effect in a chain of events, interactions between inputs/outputs or other measurement points, remotely as well as simultaneously.

In the case of Keysight’s U1200 series digital multimeters, a user can add Bluetooth connectivity by attaching U1117A IR-to-Bluetooth adaptor to the IR port, and U1115A remote-logging display can be used to view and log test measurements with an extended range of up to 100 metres. Yokogawa’s TY series of multimeters have data logging capabilities that enable the user with hands-free data storage and provides online graphical plots as well.

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Flir’s DM93, too, features wireless functionality connecting to two sets of devices—FLIR thermal cameras and mobile platforms—all via Bluetooth. Sam Ruback, product manager – test and measurement, FLIR, says, “Connecting to your iOS, Android and even your PC with FLIR software tools adds convenience and safety for your problematic testing targets.” He adds, “We have an exclusive Meterlink technology that integrates DM93’s digital multimeter measurement data onto FLIR Meterlink-enabled cameras for advanced analysis.”

Fig. 4: Different standards for digital multimeters (Image courtesy: Fluke)
Fig. 4: Different standards for digital multimeters (Image courtesy: Fluke)

Touch-screen interface. Slowly, vendors are starting to incorporate a touch-screen user interface to their T&M equipment. Be it oscilloscopes or digital multimeters, touch-screen is slowly trickling down to T&M tools with the aim of making these more intuitive, interesting and easy to learn for users. Claimed to be the first in a new class of digital multimeters, DMM7510 from Keithley Instruments is an integration of 1MS/sec, 18-bit digitiser for waveform capture, 12.7cm (5-inch) capacitive touch-screen display and, of course, a digital multimeter with resolution levels ranging from 3½ to 7½ digits.

The touch interface allows you to set up test faster and view results numerically as well as graphically on the screen with the ability to pan, pinch and zoom the waveform or signals, making high interaction with the data possible.

In a release, Jerry Janesch, senior market development manager at Keithley, noted that their DMM 7510 aids engineers to capture small signals at greater accuracy and pace in comparison to traditional digital multimeters currently in the market. Engineers get an in-depth understanding of their devices under test. To enhance low-level accuracy, this multimeter has expanded measurement ranges (100mV, 1Ω and 10µA). DMM7510 looks to address a wide range of test applications, including device characterisation, debugging and analysis, production or automated test, and applications in universities and research and development labs.


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