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Discussion Starter #1
So if you were going to attempt to build a pedal, what kind of multi-meter do you need? What functions do you need? Would something under $30 from Crappy Tire do the trick?
 

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I agree with greco. Multi-meters are so inexpensive now.
  • Capacitance
  • Diode check
  • Transistor hfe & lead identification
$50 will get you all of that @ Amazon ca
 

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Agree. I would add that "auto-ranging" is, while not critical, a nice convenience. Also, wider ranges of measurement is also helpful. So, get one that will measure up to 20 megohms or higher, and measure capacitance of at least 20uf. AC voltage is less critical. You need it, but for what we do, measuring AC over 120V is pretty well pointless. I would imagine they are all 4-1/2 digits these days, so no point in recommending that.

If the meter CAN identify transistor pinout, that's wonderful, but the socket will identify which pin goes where, when inserting, so if you don't get a plausible hfe reading, flip the transistor leads around until you do. That will let you identify which lead is which. Note that such testing will NOT tell you anything about FETs.

Finally, nice pointy test leads let you get into small places, like being able to measure the voltage on a single IC pin without inadvertently touching an adjacent one.
 

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64 Gretsch 6120, 65 Fender Tremolux and a 58 Supro 1624T
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Personally, I would spend a bit more and get something that reads capacitance.
I find capacitors are often pain to sort out.
Canadian Tire often puts their DMM's on sale.

@mhammer should be here soon.
^^^^ Quick as a bunny :) ^^^^
 
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Hold on...for most pedals, you don't need a meter at all if you can read resistor codes (or keep them sorted and labeled). Of course, it does come in handy for trouble shooting, or measuring transistors if you get one that has that function. I've built maybe 100 pedals and several amps and never had to measure capacitance.
 

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I measure it all the time, particularly when dealing with small ceramics and "greenies" where the legending has worn down enough to make it hard to read. Sometimes, as well, one wants to know that caps are matched for value, such as with some filters.

As for reading resistor codes, I'm sure you've encountered resistors where the colour bands were easy to "read" but the colours difficult to be certain of. Some purple bands can look brown, and orange, red and brown are often easily confused if your lighting is not perfect. And of course, there are plenty of times when one wishes to know the actual resistance value that a pot has or that a trimmer is set to.
 

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Oh, I wasn't saying I didn't use one - almost every resistor I ever used got measured before going in, I certainly can't read (OK, haven't taken time to LEARN to read) colour bands. Also very handy for pots, as you mention.
 

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I measure it all the time, particularly when dealing with small ceramics and "greenies" where the legending has worn down enough to make it hard to read. Sometimes, as well, one wants to know that caps are matched for value, such as with some filters.

As for reading resistor codes, I'm sure you've encountered resistors where the colour bands were easy to "read" but the colours difficult to be certain of. Some purple bands can look brown, and orange, red and brown are often easily confused if your lighting is not perfect. And of course, there are plenty of times when one wishes to know the actual resistance value that a pot has or that a trimmer is set to.
I have color vision issues. I like my meter.
 

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This is what I use.

Fluke 179

I have never had any need for anything more and while it was more than $50 I still consider it money to be well spent.
 
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I have been using an analogue Sanwa YX360TRF and a digital Sanwa PM-3 meter for as long as I can remember. It would be nice to have a meter with auto ranging, though.

A few years ago, my dad gave me his Meterman 30XR. He decided he was too old to tinker electronics. That digital Meterman 30XR beats my Sanwa PM-3 by more than a mile, feature-wise.

@jb welder, Meterman was bought out, indeed.

For years, I have been looking at Fluke meters whenever I visit a shop that carries them, for the sake of keeping up with what is the latest (plus a bit of drooling exercise). For my needs, I don't really have to have one, but I wish I did. It is just so.... Gucci......

And I can't afford to have a Ferrari as a daily commuter. either.
 

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Hold on...for most pedals, you don't need a meter at all if you can read resistor codes (or keep them sorted and labeled). Of course, it does come in handy for trouble shooting, or measuring transistors if you get one that has that function. I've built maybe 100 pedals and several amps and never had to measure capacitance.
Building pedals and troubleshooting go hand in hand, especially if you are just starting out. I can't think of a good reason not to have a half decent multimeter on hand.
 

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Get a chinese Fluke. 101 or 15b will do the trick. ~ 50CDN
 
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