Since I don’t use a multimeter that often, and don’t need high precision, I bought an ultra cheap multimeter (Sunwa DT830B) locally a couple of a years ago. I normally use it for continuity testing (no beep though) for repair work / checking solder point, and some quick voltage measurement, and it works well for these simple tasks, although the lack of buzzer makes it a little inconvenient. But I discovered its limits when I tried to measure current. The 200 mA range works fine, but I started to encounter issues when switching to the 10A range, as device under tests would just start rebooting if the current draw was too high, and the manual indicates that you “cannot measure more than 15 seconds in the 10A range”. Since I did not want to spend $100+ on a Fluke multimeter, I did some research for a better multimeter, and finally bought UNI-T UT61E digital multimeter + 9V battery for $56.27 on DealExtreme, but it’s also available without battery for about $50 on Amazon US, Ebay, or Aliexpress.
I’ve just bought it today, and I would usually write about it once I receive it, but there are already detailed reviews on the Internet which are rather positive, as well as users reviews. According to UT61E user’s manual, currents up to 5A can be measured continuously, and a neat feature is that you can also connect it to your (Windows) computer to gather data with the provided software (UT16E Interface program), or another free program called UltraDMM. The multimeter comes with test leads, RS232 cable for connection with a PC, an adapter to measure capacitors, and a CD with documentation and software. The adapter also have holes for transistor measurements, but it is not supported by UT16E model.
MJLorton’s review comprised of 4-part video review (almost 2-hours!) is the best, and most extensive review I’ve seen. The final conclusion is that this multimeter is very good for the price, and it mostly works as advertised. The display is sharp and crisp, even better than Fluke DMM is that respect, but there’s no backlight, and it does not refresh as fast (about twice per second) as better quality and more expensive multimeters such as the $400 Agilent U1272A. Accuracy is decent and within specs, but possibly not as good it could be (or calibration was off), measurements may overshoot for a short time while changing voltage, and there’s no auto-power off. Finally, the multimeter is rated CAT IV (600V), and CAT III (1000V), but after tearing down the tool, the reviewer had low confidence in these safety ratings, and only recommend to use it for electronics, and home appliances, but avoid high power measurement.
I’ve included the 4-part video review below.
Part1 – General impressions, basic functions such as DC voltage & current measurements, continuity, accuracy testing, etc…
Part2 – PC data logging software & UltraDMM application testing, mains measurement (230V/50Hz), etc…
Part3 – UT16E tear-down compared to Agilent U1272A, multimeter power consumption, and battery life estimation.
Part 4 – Torture test a low (8 C) and high (40+ C) temperatures, calibration with DMMCheck board.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.