A Great Budget but Versatile Multimeter
Here’s a great multimeter for most electronic enthusiasts. Whilst we’d all love a £400 ‘Fluke’ multimeter in the shack, you don’t have to spend that kind of outlay to get a meter with plenty of functionality and half reasonable accuracy.
I was in the market for a replacement as my very old shack ‘Micronta/Radio Shack’ auto ranging meter [circa 1970’s] had eventually given up the ghost. I remember it cost around £15 way back then – not bad for 40+ years of service!
Not wanting to spend hundreds of pounds, I looked for a more modern unit with useful functionality that could be used as a general test instrument in the shack and workshop.
The ‘Holdpeak HP-770D’ was a gem to find. Do a search online and there’s swaths of different multimeters in the budget range. Many will be adequate for doing basic measurements and most to either 3 or a maximum of 4 digits. However, I came across the 5-digit ‘Infurider YF-770D’ which is an exact copy of Holdpeak’s HP-770D. There was a ‘last-one’ deal on eBay for £35.00 – so I took the chance.
I’d also looked at the ‘Brymen‘ range which seems to be a valid opponent to some of the ‘Fluke’ range, but at a fraction of the cost. Going forward, if I ever decide on a ‘Pro-Grade’ unit – I’ll be looking at Brymen first.
So, for £35.00, it’s a fraction above your normal £20-£30 budget line, but that extra few pounds gives you lots of useful enhancements.
As a caveat, the current online price for the HP-770D, looks to be around the £40.00 mark – depending on where you buy from.
I chose it for the following reasons.
- Displays at 5 digits so you can get down to very good small measurements, up to a hundredth of a volt for instance
- Diode and Capacitance function
- Continuity buzzer
- Capacitance setting – you can measure down to 0.001 nf [1pf] – great for electronics
- DC Amperage goes to 20A – most hand-held meters only do 10A – even Fluke and Brymen
- True RMS and CATIII 1000v [some sites say 600v in ‘real’ terms]
- Also has a transistor HFE test socket that will do NPN and PNP transistors
- Accuracy at 0.1% [more than enough for general troubleshooting]
- Back lit and auto power off
- Data Hold function
- NCV [Non-Contact Voltage] – great for checking AC power lines
- Temperature [Centigrade and Fahrenheit]
- Frequency – up to 10MHz
- ‘Manual’ or ‘Auto’ ranging – user selectable
- Display updates at 5 times per second [most budget units are slow at only 2 times/sec]
OK, it may not be a ‘Fluke‘ or ‘Brymen‘ – but it also comes with a set of factory test leads, a case, battery, multi-function socket and thermo-coupler – not bad for £40.00.
You’ll often pay £10.00 for an aftermarket case alone [even on eBay or Amazon].