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A blog for electronics professionals, amateurs, hackers, and anyone interested in the world of electronics.

5 December 2010

Fluke 233 Multimeter Follow-up - WTF?

The review of my Fluke 233 has proven surprisingly popular, comprising nearly half my blog traffic! I have had my Fluke 233 just over 4 months now, over which time it has had pretty light use. Which is why what I am about to say is a bit of a surprise.

In my review I wrote:
Batteries.  400 hours estimated life is excellent. That probably works out at 3 to 4 years usage for me. But, when they go, it does mean potentially 5 batteries have to be replaced.
 I have used it for maybe 5 hours use at the outside, and not at all for the past month or so (sadly, my engineering has mostly been on paper or PC recently). That doesn't sound much, but it adds up to quite a few voltage and resistance measurements.Anyway, I came to use my Fluke 233 today and this met me:

Pretty much running on empty! Removing the remote head results in a BATT warning and no measurements are possible. If I am going to be installing a new set of 5 batteries every 4 months then it becomes a very expensive meter! I had thought that using high energy density AA cells was a good idea (the cells it came with were brand new Duracells with a very long use-by date), but maybe Fluke are covering up some nasty quiescent current use. I don't have my Fluke 77with me to test current at the moment, but swapping out the batteries allowed me to test the off-load voltages, which were all around 0.95-0.96 Volts.

Given the recently found RF vulnerability in the Fluke 87 V, it does make me wonder if Fluke are taking their eye off the ball. I will be investigating this further, because it surely cannot be right that a meter eats a set of 5 cells in 4 months, especially given such light usage. Watch this space!

In the meantime, if you have experienced any similar failures, please let me know!