Forum etiquette

Our mission ...

This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.

Remain civil and respectful

There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.

Stay close to the original topic being discussed
  • If you are starting a new thread choose a reasonable sub-forum to start your thread. (If you choose incorrectly don't worry, we can fix that.)
  • If you are responding to a thread, stay on topic - the original poster was trying to achieve something. You can always start a new thread instead of potentially "hijacking" an existing thread.

Contribute something meaningful

To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
  • This is not a chat room. If you are taking less than 30 seconds to make a post then you are probably doing something wrong. A post should be on topic, clear, and contribute something meaningful to the discussion. If people read your posts and feel that their time as been wasted, they will stop reading your posts. Worse yet, they will stop visiting and we'll lose their experience and contributions.
  • Do not bump threads.
  • Do not "necro-post" unless you are following up to a specific person on a specific thread. And even then, that person may have moved on. Just start a new thread for your related topic.
  • Use the Private Message system for posts that are targeted at a specific person.

"PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
  • "PM Sent!": Do not tell the rest of us that you sent a PM ... the forum software will tell the other person that they have a PM waiting.
  • "How much is shipping to ....": This is a very specific and directed question that is not of interest to anybody else.

Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.

Reporting problematic posts

If you see spam, a wildly off-topic post, or something abusive or illegal please report the thread by clicking on the "Report Post" icon. (It looks like an exclamation point in a triangle and it is available under every post.) This send a notification to all of the moderators, so somebody will see it and deal with it.

If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.

New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.

Other suggestions
  • Use Google, books, or other definitive sources. There is a lot of information out there.
  • Don't make people guess at what you are trying to say; we are not mind readers. Be clear and concise.
  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
See more
See less

Cheapo multimeters

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Cheapo multimeters

    Have you bought/used one? Your thoughts -

    See below.
    Last edited by Agent Orange; March 1, 2021, 07:27 PM.
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting


      Originally posted by Agent Orange View Post
      You can get one at Harbor Freight for $6.79 -
      Depends on what you want to use it for. I have 2 Fluke DVM's one of which is 37 years old and looks and operates like it's brand new. I also have a H/P that does frequency and dB which I don't thinks is out there anymore at least in the handheld version.
      Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting


        The cheap small "brick" multimeters are available everywhere and are more or less junk. I've used several of them and they're super inaccurate and/or the dial stops working properly, so you have to swipe it back and forth to get it to work. Everywhere that sells multimeters usually has one with their own brand name slapped on. Walmart, Harbor Freight and Tractor Supply sell them in different colors. I've seen blue, red and black ones.

        Walmart used to have one of their own brand multimeters that was $20 that was pretty good. The probes were good and it had a temperature gauge in farenheit.


          See the eeVblog YT channel. There are a couple of good videos on this.

          DMMs in general have gotten a lot better over the years. 6000 count multimeters are now pretty close to the "budget" brand.

          As a matter of fact, Dave reviews a new model today.
          Last edited by Chuck(G); March 1, 2021, 08:00 PM.


            I don't mean under 10$. 20 - 40$, closer to 20$. A video I watched mentioned the Vici brand iirc. I have an NJTY in my watch list.

            I currently have a Craftsman unit that's about 5 years old, but I haven't used it for electronic work at all (yet). I also have a small Radio Shack unit that I can't find at the moment. It also needs (mechanical) repair. Also have an analog Archer? unit I bought about 25 years ago. I figured I'll likely add something before long.


              We had a thread about a new voltmeter not that long ago:



                I have 2ea cheap $9 ones from Harbor Freight. They work well enough. They are within 1 digit of my 5 digit Fluke. The Ohms usually start with about 2 to 4 ohms with no zero.
                I've had them for about 3 years. The only one I've replaced the battery in was one I left it in ohms for over a month. I don't worry about dropping it or otherwise blowing it up. They do much more than what I payed for. They only have 2 AC scales.


                  for a long time those trash HF ones were actually free with a coupon


                    Originally posted by GiGaBiTe View Post
                    The cheap small "brick" multimeters are available everywhere and are more or less junk. I've used several of them and they're super inaccurate and/or the dial stops working properly, so you have to swipe it back and forth to get it to work.
                    Cheap multimeters with analog meters are junk (as are older analog ones that haven't been well preserved), but I've had mostly positive experiences with dirt-cheap digital units. Have one I bought at Fry's a few years ago for less than $20 that even has a frequency counter. (Only goes up to 20-something hz, but that's still useful.) Only bad thing about it is it uses watch batteries, but that's my fault for getting one so small.

                    Now, sure, I imagine that these things are pretty far from "laboratory accurate", but if you just need to check the voltages from a PSU or get a sanity check on whether you interpreted the markings on a resistor correctly they're fine.
                    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot


                      My knock-around DMM that I picked up 6 years ago is this one or its first cousin. It's not bad for what it is and the big display even has a backlight. I wish the continuity tester were louder, but that's about my only complaint.

                      There are better ones today for the same money; just check alienexpress for a bewildering array of choices.

                      On all of these DMMs, oxidation will creep in the switch contacts, so before you go measuring low-resistance stuff, give the selector knob a twirl or two to knock it off. That even goes for DMMs with gold-plated contacts.


                        That's all I use is cheap DMMs. Right now have a yellow no-name for my general computer/guitar electronics stuff, and then a dirty older red one for my cars. The red one is about 15 years old. The yellow one replaced another one I had that was a lot fancier. The yellow one replaced a 15 year old one that had a built in flashlight and backlit screen.


                          I still have my 90's vintage Fluke 29 series (purchased new). Changed the batteries a few times and I think I had to clean the contacts for the LCD once. Also had to get new probes.
                          What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
                          Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
                          Boxed apps and games for the above systems
                          Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems


                            Do modern day Flukes live up to their legacy? I can't see buying one now that they're no longer products of democratic society.


                              I have my trusty Radio Shack DMM that's served me for many years with no issues. I think with the yellow plasticky cover it tries to look something like
                              a Fluke. I doubt I payed much when I bought it.