Monday, September 20, 2010

Fluke face to face with Kryptonite

Australian electronics engineer Dave Jones proves that the Fluke 87V DMM goes haywire in the presence of GSM.

Much as I'd like to see this fault for myself, I simply cannot afford to fry my 87V. Instead I used a Fluke 117 as the lab rat. Apparently, the cheapo doesn't even know what a cell phone is. Barely a reaction and not a hint of malfunction.

This GSM susceptibility is yet another item in the list of disappointments I have with the 87V. First and foremost is its unforgivably flimsy 9V battery connector. It's no different from those found in China made toys!

I cannot imagine how Fluke could have blundered something as basic as this. My old Sanwa DMM had a far more superior battery-compartment-connector system. You unscrew the battery compartment at the back of the meter, remove it, flip it over and insert the battery into it, and then plug the whole thing back into the meter body and screw tight. Once inserted the battery terminals automatically make contact with metal prongs inside the meter. Absolutely great design! Now why couldn't Fluke have made something similar with this model? It's already the Series 5!

They certainly did it right on the Fluke 117:

Next on the list, and one that puts me off whenever I notice it is the LCD. For some reason Fluke seems to have sacrificed the viewing angle exactly perpendicular to the unit. When looking straight down the segments have rather poor contrast--not as black--as when looking at an angle. At first I thought my unit was faulty, but I've checked another brand new 87V and an 83V and their LCDs both have the same characteristic. And the batteries are still fresh so it's not a low voltage problem. I was never annoyed with the display of my old Sanwa so I guess it didn't have this quirk. Testing the 87V, the LCD is a  6:00 type with a bias angle somewhere between 20 and 30°. The readout is still tolerable even at 60°.

1 comment:

  1. Whole new series has a problem with LCD's, I have a Fluke 28II with even worse lcd.