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  • solid meter

    posted by testsubject on 02/22/2011
    3 0

    Involvement:General (knows how to use it) - Ownership:more than 1 month

    Pros:

    1. Built pretty solid.

    2. Dial clicks with reassurance.

    3. AA battery operation (instead of a more expensive and unfavourable 9V disposables - which some of Fluke's more expensive meters still use! (Hello?! It's 2011.).

    4. Buttons feel good.

    5. Meter doesn't feel like a plastic shell filled with lots of air, like some cheaper meters do. Knock, knock...

    Cons:

    1. Continuity buzzer buzzes intermittently when touching probes together or testing continuity with the probes. Huge disappointment to me. Tried to clean the probes; same deal. You only hear a consistent tone when touching the grooved area of one probe with the grooved area of the other probe.

    2. No backlight but this can be expected for the price.

    3. Readings overshoot or undershoot for a second or two before they become stable.

    4. Meter comes with batteries installed (would prefer to just use my Sanyo Eneloop rechargeables). If these cheap and disposable ugly batteries have to come with the meter, I would prefer them not installed and unused. Batteries can leak, after all.

    5. Battery cover is affixed with a screw and has to be lifted up in an unnecessarily hard fashion. Easily amongst the most annoying battery covers I've seen. Not sure if the rest of the Fluke range is like this but I don't like it.

    6. Yellow protective holster has a mild odour.

    7. As a temperature tool, I found the temperature probes pretty cumbersome and annoying. A "use once" feature to me - which could have been made a lot more refined and graceful.

    OtherThoughts:

    1. I would have preferred the meter didn't come with disposable batteries installed. It's 2011. We can kiss disposables away and we really need to start thinking about where our constant, burdensome, frivolous waste ends up. It amazes me that people still buy these but more than that it amazes me companies ship these to advanced users who are more than likely using their own rechargeables.

    Particularly with Eneloop low self-discharge batteries having been invented several years ago, it's high waste dealing with disposables. Multiply it by thousands of meters sold.

    2. Protective sheet over the LCD contained some small debris underneath it with my sample (and the debris caused air bubbles). Not ideal. Every other product I've bought with a transparent protective sheet over the LCD has been flawless except this one. Nothing earth-shattering but a slight down-side.

    3. Meter is a bit larger and heavier than I expected, which could count as an advantage to many people as much as it is a disadvantage to some. Not exactly the ideal "shirt pocket" meter, but it wasn't expected to be, but still a bit large for a budget meter.

    4. Box has lots of Chinese text but English is thankfully included in the large instruction booklet.

    5. Box has unbleached cardboard inside (and minimal plastic). Good.

    Bottomline:

    Good (but not outstanding) features and build quality for the price.

    Someone on the web has opened the Fluke 17B up and shown how well it's made inside. Probably a lot better than most of the competition at this price - but I'm not sure.

    Basics like the Continuity test is a total let-down, though! Which sort of puts things into perspective. Why aren't basics like this given more attention?

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