Shopping on AliExpress

“Shop the online stores on AliExpress.com to find reliable digital multimeter 9205a for unbeatable, cheap prices”
 
See Shop digital multimeter 9205a online – Buy digital multimeter 9205a for unbeatable low prices on AliExpress.com
I love to shop. I like to compare prices and features…. but AliExpress is daunting. For instance, I wanted a digital multimeter for various little projects that arise like checking dry cells or wet cells, building little circuits, measuring current, voltage and resistance to debug problems.

Well, Aliexpress has thousands of multimeters. The basic device starts at about $4.21 CDN with free shipping but lacking important functions like alternating current. The one I liked started at around $13 CDN delivered but there were still over 100 hits. Some had prices as high as $43 with free shipping and others were around $7 with some shipping. It’s still fun…

I’m going to buy a unit with delivered price of $12.48 CDN. It has these desirable features:

AC Voltage (V): 200mV, 2V, 20V, 200V, 700V
DC Voltage (V): 200mV, 2V, 20V, 200V, 1000V
AC Current (A): 2mA, 20mA, 200mA, 20A
DC Current (A): 2mA, 20mA, 200mA, 20A
Resistance (Ohm): 200, 2k, 20k, 200k, 2M, 20M, 200M, 2000M
Capacitance (F): 2nF, 20nF, 200nF, 2uF, 200uF

Oh, yes. It can measure the current-gain of small transistors, too. It has a socket that fits PNP or NPN junction transistors. I don’t know why I’d ever want that function. I know how to design against extremes in current-gain using negative feedback. Perhaps guys doing switching need that…

While I’m at it I need a clamp-on ammeter, some D cells, mouse traps, a hole punch to make wads for reloading shotshells and rechargeable 9V batteries. The mice? They got under the hood of The Little Woman’s car and shredded the liner to make a nest… Well, AliExpress has the solution.

Best of all, I didn’t have to drive anywhere. This stuff will all end up in my mailbox and a single payment by credit card covers it all, items from 7 different suppliers. This is cool. 😎

UPDATE – Within a few days, I received notice that 6 of 7 items had been shipped. Within a week, I received notice that the last item, some NimH D-cells had been shipped. So, I have several more things for which to live a few days longer, walking to the mailbox every day checking for new arrivals. Life is good.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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31 Responses to Shopping on AliExpress

  1. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson the problem is what do you do with parts that don’t certify for space. The answer is sell them for earth usage. Cheep can be good or can be poor quality.

    A properly certified and quality meter you don’t have normally have to put them through self certification to be sure your are safe. Of course as long as you are aware touching the cheaper meters means doing extra quality control work yourself and even then running into meter not have proper isolation shielding and under rated probe material.

    I do agree with saving money where there is no technical difference. Issue here you can run into a technically issue.

  2. oiaohm wrote,

    • “it is not the destroyed meter its your burnt hand or other items from the meter destruction. “, and
    • “Not all FETs when new are the diodes intact if there has been a supply quality issue.”
    • I know how to test a meter safely without endangering my health. I definitely will put it quickly through all of its ranges with realistic currents and voltages. I’ve worked with voltages over 10K quite a lot in my younger days, even sitting on a wooden stool 17KV above ground to adjust floating PSUs.

      I’ve ordered 50 FETs because they were so cheap. I can easily test them and sort them if I must. I doubt a country that can send robots to Moon would have much difficulty cranking out multiple transistors + diode packages. They may not even make them in-house but just distribute products made by others. It’s all good.

  3. oiaohm says:

    power-FET yes has protection true Robert but the problem here is you have to test on the side of the Power-Fet where if it broken you are in for trouble because that side is what goes to the devices..

    The issue with a meter not strong enough to take it is not the destroyed meter its your burnt hand or other items from the meter destruction. 100-200 dollars for a meter is a lot cheaper than medical if you get hurt from a cheep meter exploding.

    The FETs have built-in commutating diodes that take care of spikes.
    Not all FETs when new are the diodes intact if there has been a supply quality issue. Certified built inverters have tested for these faults. Building yourself you require the gear to test for this. Problem is you cannot go cheep in meter todo this but you don’t need to go insanely expensive. Suitable meter should be findable in the 100-200 dollar range.

    Nonsense. I know how the circuits work and where to measure voltages and currents to avoid spikes.
    I was not referring to a spike issue alone. Parts out of spec you attempt to make a 120V inverter but instead could end up with like a 100OV+ inverter. In the 100+ dollars meters there are meters designed to fail safely if this happens.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lg44zuxGmMg
    This video is what happens when a underrated meter not designed to fail safely gets higher voltages. Yes these can serous-ally hurt you.

    If the result was just meter broken so it did not work I would say use cheap meters and dispose of them when they break. Problem here the result of a cheep meter + high voltage is fire or explosion. One lot of medical to treat burns is more than 100 dollars. So 100-200 dollars on a good meter is down right cheep insurance. Please note its not price alone. Its grade and design of the protection system used in the Meter. Something that can take a few thousand volts and be safe is just in materials crosses 70 dollars. Makers has to make some money off making the devices this is why you normally don’t see them under 100 dollars unless its a liquidation sale.

  4. DrLoser says:

    Here is a decent JD tractor for $2500, just erect a temporary shelter for storage and put that thing to work!.

    A good thought, and a sound engineering suggestion, Dougie.

    But, sadly, I suspect that $2500 is more than Robert paid for those dratted unreliable Lexuses and Caddys, combined.

    Darn those brand-names!

  5. oiaohm wrote, “Engine is basically double the size of the final stable power yield.”

    That may be true for 3600 rpm gasoline engines but these diesel engines deliver. Here’s my engine in a commercial genset delivering 12KW at 0.8 power factor. The engine is rated for 14.7KW. That’s 80% not 50% and the issue is the inductance of the windings on the alternator not anything to do with the efficiency of the engine.

  6. dougman wrote, “Take some pics of the back end of the machine. How does the tiller get driven?”

    It’s the craziest contraption I’ve ever seen. The back plate of the transmission comes off and a gear on the tiller meshes with a gear in the transmission of the tractor. It’s a bloody pain, probably one of the top two or three deficiencies of the unit. It takes two strong men to change from ploughing to tilling and I’m only one guy… It took me most of a few hours to change over when two men can do it in five minutes. The tiller’s just too heavy for one guy to manage. I had to hoist it and line it up precisely and use the bolts to pull it together…

    No, the main PTO is a four-groove pulley on the engine. The tiller uses three grooves. For full powertakeoff I’d have to disconnect the tiller from the tractor to use multiple grooves. Otherwise I’m limited to a few HP on one belt. It’s just easier to have a second stationary engine already coupled to the alternator. The engines are cheap, just a few $hundred plus a few $hundred more for freight. Diesels are great for these four-pole alternators. They beat gasoline direct drives hollow in terms of reliability. 1800 rpm v 3600 rpm is a huge advantage for the small diesel engines. The only customization I would need would be a bigger tank for fuel. I could probably buy fuel in a barrel and use the empty barrel as a tank afterward. Then I could run the thing for days on a filling. The big advantage of an inverter is that I don’t have to rely on a mechanical governor for frequency/over/under-voltage. Also, many alternators put out 400V 3-phase and a full-wave rectifier gives decent DC for the inverter. Using a higher voltage results in higher efficiency for rectification/switching.

    Finding the right inductor is a problem though. Alibaba wants to push volume and most suppliers won’t ship just a few units and they want all units to be identical when the characteristics of the inductor are optimized for each alternator. I may have to use multiple inductors in parallel to deal with different capacities. I was thinking of building a bunch of inverters designed to run a single household circuit but it would be nice to have one that could also run my 240V stuff like the geothermal heating, stove, drier and welder. One size doesn’t fit all. However, a single inverter control module can run them all. It’s the power-handling devices that need some flexibility. It’s just silly to use a $10 part that can deal with 20KW in a 1.5KW inverter. Power FETs for those small units cost $0.21 or so.

    I can easily match or better commercial prices here because I’m retired and don’t charge for labour. I can spend days designing one-off stuff and have fun all at the same time. In the dark of winter, that’s priceless.

  7. oiaohm wrote, “engine yield and generator yield is different. About 50 percent of the engine torque power rating is what you can expect as electrical generation then a little lower so you have room to cope with spikes. 13KW/2 6.4KW safe is about 5KW.”

    These generators are >90% efficient. The engines are rated by brake horsepower/KW, not kPLAN or such.

    oiaohm wrote, “Getting the parts to make a good quality inverter is normally more expensive than buying a properly certified and perfectly good quality inverter in the first place.”

    That’s the beauty of my plan. The Chinese economy is built on copying designs that work with industry-standard parts. I will be using the same parts as the commercial units. I know how to over-design as well, using higher than necessary ratings all over the place. I have been doing electronic design for decades. I’ve fixed a lot of poor designs encountered in the commercial world since the 1970s. I remember a resistor kept burning out on some DEC drives of the day. I looked at the diagram and calculated they had not the right size of resistor. I replaced a half-watter with one watt resistor and problem was solved. I’ve studied the plans for inverters published by International Rectifier. Using their copied modules I don’t have to worry about commutation. The transistors switch off and on in a few microseconds and the controllers have defaults that are proper to avoid having pairs of transistors fuse. Similarly insulation and current-carrying capabilities are well known.

    oiaohm wrote, ” top of the line multi meters when dealing with building inverters due to circuit issues due to defective parts can make very dangerous voltages that can exceed what most meters under 100 dollars will safely handle.”

    Nonsense. I know how the circuits work and where to measure voltages and currents to avoid spikes. The inverters are basically CMOS integrated circuits driving power-FETs. The FETs have built-in commutating diodes that take care of spikes. Of course bad things happen but the meters are so cheap I just don’t care. I may well buy a few so that I’m never out of sight of them. I’ve dropped a lot more metres than I’ve fried and this one comes with a protective wrap. Even dropping might be survivable. Wet/cold/heat are other matters. As long as I keep TLW away from it I should be OK. She’s a terrorist to hardware.

  8. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson engine yield and generator yield is different. About 50 percent of the engine torque power rating is what you can expect as electrical generation then a little lower so you have room to cope with spikes. 13KW/2 6.4KW safe is about 5KW.

    Yes rotary electrical generator can get 98 to 99 conversion effectiveness but this does not happen in your smaller generators.

    The PTO connection goes where the tiller goes. Depending on design this can be simple or hard to set up. Of course removing the tiller all the time is a pain in but. Yes doing by taking the tiller off putting generator on has the advantage that you don’t add load always to the machine.

    Of course a decanted generator is always less of a pain that using a tractor based solution.

    https://generatorhouse.com.au/gensafe-gs3-5kva-3-5kva-6-5hp-petrol-generator-powered-by-honda
    Take above premade generator with everything matched
    http://www.rapidtables.com/convert/power/hp-to-kw.htm
    4.847049168 KW right.
    Note Max yield electrical is only 2.7KW. So 2.3 is about safe.

    This is the way the maths with most small scale generators come out. Engine is basically double the size of the final stable power yield.

    I don’t know what size the Sears tiller engine is. Rough maths is basically 50-40 percent effectiveness allow on for electrical production max. If 40 percent of the Sear tiller engine will not do what you need you could be in trouble. Excess generation can cost dollars but being short having power supply cut in and out can do major electrical damage.

    I’m looking at building my own inverter.
    To this I normally say no here in Australia . There are many issues with building your own.
    1) Insurance companies frown on self built inverters in a very big way.

    2) Government requirements. Like here in Australia they must have C tick or RCM approval marks/certificates so using self built/uncertified inverter for anything other than a toy to demo to students how inverters are constructed is a offense with fines. So Australia is absolutely don’t.

    So do check your certification requirements because building your own might be illegal or way more expensive than buying assembled.

    Of course it does not help that Chinese don’t understand Australian regulation. So you get like SGS logo(one of the Australian quality certification companies) with C tick in middle printed on device. Legally passable just but the C tick logo should have been put on the device independently. So it might take awhile to understand how the Chinese production puts the CA required branding on device or what they call it.

    3) Getting the parts to make a good quality inverter is normally more expensive than buying a properly certified and perfectly good quality inverter in the first place.

    4) The tools you need when making inverter can become problem.
    A) top of the line multi meters when dealing with building inverters due to circuit issues due to defective parts can make very dangerous voltages that can exceed what most meters under 100 dollars will safely handle. This is a case where I would say you buy a fluke or one of the other high end meters. Please note entry level fluke meter is not rated high enough to be messing around with inverter circuits either. Inverter circuits/welders are about the same kind of multi-meter requirement.
    B) dummy loads. Yes you need them when testing welders/inverters. Dummy loads if the voltage is wrong they will take it. But not testing inverter under load means what looks safe may turn completely unsafe once load is applied.
    Basically your workshop is a lot more expensive to say the least or run very serous risks.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh1n_ELmpFI
    Please do watch the 2010 video on multi-meter construction there is key differences in multi-meters design for very high voltage risk and those built for normal work. Fuses alone in them are completely different.

  9. dougman says:

    Hold up! Doesn’t this walking contraption have a pto? I am willing to bet that it does. You could just connect a shaft to that and connect it pto driven generator.

    Take some pics of the back end of the machine. How does the tiller get driven?

    Btw, at 3000rpm you could just drive a 50HZ generator, no need to introduce losses by providing a gearbox. A lot of devices these days can handle 50/60HZ.

    Here is a decent JD tractor for $2500, just erect a temporary shelter for storage and put that thing to work!.

    https://fargo.craigslist.org/grd/5337110445.html

  10. oiaohm wrote, “Robert has can take a pto connected generator as well. Normally 5 kw so not a lot of power but enough to run be bare min.”

    Actually, my machine yields 13KW at 2200rpm… It’s a bit cumbersome to connect an alternator (loosening engine mounts to move V-belts and such). If I only wanted 2KW or so, a single V-belt would have access to one groove of a 4-groove pulley, but it would be a pain to bring together the alternator and engine in the middle of some dark and stormy night instead of just firing up an engine in the garage or driveway. Instead I will use a different engine, the one from the dead Sears tiller which is like new. Unfortunately it runs at ~3000 rpm so I will have to gear it down a bit for the 1800 rpm alternator I want to buy. I have one quotation of $800 delivered. That may look like a lot but the ST-3 alternators are built like tanks and will last the life of my house as backup. I can always buy a bigger engine and alternator. I’m looking at building my own inverter. Yes, there’s a board for that on Aliexpress, for just a few dollars and you connect a few components like IGBT transistors and an inductor and you’re good. There’s even an LCD panel one can use to monitor what’s happening but I could also use the new meters. I will decide which way to go after Christmas. For now, I’m just window-shopping. TLW just wants a small unit from the hardware stores but they run 3600 rpm and are good for a few hundred hours and they’re dead. A diesel at 2200 rpm and an alternator at 1800 rpm is good for 100h between oil-changes and 1500 hours of operation 23.5×7. It’s just a better replacement for the utility. Cost is about 3X the cost of electricity from the utility but at least we’d be self-sufficient. I’d like to link in solar/wind eventually but TLW will never approve until the utility bills bite.

  11. oiaohm says:

    Dougman walking tractor as Robert has can take a pto connected generator as well. Normally 5 kw so not a lot of power but enough to run be bare min. Also a walking tracker is a lot simpler to jack it wheels off ground to make sure it cannot go anywhere compared to a normal tractor.

    So pto generator is a possibility in Roberts case.

    The most important thing about buying from China is correct certification. There are many inverters on aliexpress that I cannot bring into Australia and use because they do not have required Australian certification.
    http://www.austest.com.au/au_nz_approvals.php
    Now I don’t know CA laws. Using something not approved has huge fines here.

    The said reality here is Generic from china may have better quality certifications than name brand product in the same field and in fact be better quality. Price and quality don’t absolutely align. Some products the brand doubled the price and does not change the quality at all.

    Just like I pointed out that I could find a certified meter for exactly the same dollars as the one Robert has looked at. I could also find a meter in fluke colors at the same price range with certifications as well as those models are made in multi colors.

    Ivan the define of Counterfeit changes country to country. So what is Counterfeit in one country is not Counterfeit in another. There are Counterfeit fluke products out there with certifications because the maker has done everything right to their product can be certified(making the model in fluke and non fluke colors). Certified products with correct Certifications and Features for task will not kill you, your dog or get you fined for using dangerous product. Yes this is the problem Counterfeit and Certified are different cases. Counterfeit product may or may not be dangerous. Uncertified product you can be 100 percent sure it dangerous unless it extremely simple.

    Yes you can be done for importing a Counterfeit product that is in fact safer and more certified than the true product because it clashes with someones trademark. Counterfeit does not math to quality its a trademark/appearance issue. Of course Counterfeit could be dangerous but again it will not have proper certifications if it is dangerous. Like even food has certifications methods for quality and sourcing. Trade depending on quality certifications.

    If it does, then your basement is not draining properly, the foundation walls should be dug up and backfilled with #57 stone and pipe that allows water to drain away.
    I know Dougman sounds like a good idea. But what you just described can produce the exact problem.

    Putting a hole in the basement wall to allow drainage that is under ground can work in reverse particularly if it a ground water problem. The solution I have done for a problem with ground water filling basement is 4 fold.
    1 embed a tank in the basement at the lowest point to take all water that enters the basement.
    2 100 percent water proof the walls.
    3 install a small windmil out side that looks like a decoration but it has a really functional pump to drain the tank.
    4 install a electric sump pump for when there is not enough wind.
    Most of the time when there is power outages there is tones of wind and the tank can take a decent amount of time to fill. Tanks last longer than batteries. Wind mil maintenance is cheaper than batteries and inverter.

  12. dougman says:

    $2500 for a old farmall http://www.kijiji.ca/v-farming-equipment/winnipeg/farmall-tractor/1114387071?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

    Just need a pto generator, single bottom plow or cultivator with a disc harrow. Toss in small pole barn with gravel floor and you got yourself something.

  13. dougman says:

    See in reality, this is why I advocated buying a tractor to begin with.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDcTunPpX0U

  14. olderman wrote, “make yourself and the little woman dependent on what you have cobbled together.”

    That’s not true. If Manitoba Hydro doesn’t fail again, we won’t have to depend on our stuff at all. Anyway, I’m using industry-standard parts everywhere. Any electrician could make it right. Inverters, batteries and such are plug-and-play.

    I’m planning to make the engine of that failed Sears tiller the prime-mover for a big alternator, so I can use that to run a few circuits in the house and/or recharge a few batteries. Even with diesel the cost is about triple what Hydro normally charges so they are the first choice until I get solar working here. That’s not likely while The Little Woman has any say… She loves LED lights but I haven’t persuaded her that solar panels are cute. Maybe if I live long enough I’ll be able to replace shingles with solar panels, but ours are good for at least another decade.

  15. olderman says:

    “So I choose to do that.”

    and make yourself and the little woman dependent on what you have cobbled together. Colleagues living in areas with unreliable power have wound up installing standby generators (diesel or gas), not a cheap solution, but one that others can maintain for you if need be.

  16. DrLoser wrote, “Buying any sort of Uninterruptible Power Supply for a sump pump is wild fiscal irresponsibility.”

    Last summer, while I was home alone and ill, the power went off. I had to get down on my hands and knees and bail the damned thing for 5h. I won’t do that ever again I hope if I have such a UPS. As it was I was nearly exhausted by the time the power returned and there was a puddle. I know it’s rare that power fails but we are utterly dependent on our utility and I want less such dependence. I can get that by using a few batteries and inverters and generators and solar panels and windmills… So I choose to do that.

    Most of our power comes from the North via high voltage DC transmission lines. They are very reliable but we all know that a tornado or ice-storm could take them down for days possibly. With my diesel generation scheme I would be good for weeks of outage. That’s the kind of independence I seek. It’s also a good investment as this kind of equipment except for lead-acid batteries is very durable especially if only occasionally used. Eventually I’d like to have a wall of NiFe batteries in the garage to deal with this but I happen to have a few lead-acid batteries available so that’s what I will use in the short term. If I had my way the roof would be covered by solar panels but there’s an edict about that… {:|

  17. DrLoser says:

    I sense that you are missing the point, Robert. As Dougie rightly says:

    Your sump pump does not not need to run 24/7. If it does, then your basement is not draining properly …

    Buying any sort of Uninterruptible Power Supply for a sump pump is wild fiscal irresponsibility.

    Save that $50, Robert! Save it! And invest it in repairing that Cadillac and/or Lexus that you so much regret having bought!

  18. dougman wrote, “My God, just wire 12V batteries in parallel and tie to a suitable inverter.”

    24V inverters may be a touch more efficient. A UPS is mostly an inverter and a battery. The Chinese make so many kinds of inverters it makes your head spin and doubts about the meaning of the words in the description abound. The sexiest inverters I’ve seen will join up your windmill, water pump, solar panels, inverter and battery charging system all in a neat bundle and they run to hundreds of KW. It’s too bad I don’t have an infinite supply of money or I could buy them all… Some of the 12V in-your-car kind produce square waves and are not the best for driving inductive loads like motors and switching power supplies. The sinusoidal outputs are much easier to use for everything. I could make my own inverter but the difference between just putting out a square wave and a sine wave is a lot of work of the one-off kind. The Chinese certainly have them figured out. That’s why they make them and that’s why people buy them. I could probably make a 20KW inverter to run most of the house but I’d have to buy a lot of parts and assemble them. That’s a headache. The world of electronics has certainly advanced. They have these wonderful IGBT devices that basically drive whatever you want with any voltage you want at any frequency you want and that’s 90% of an inverter. It’s the other 10% that’s tricky for me. I could install one of these microcontrollers to spit out the waveform or hard code it into a ROM but it’s still a lot of parts I don’t have at the moment. I certainly wouldn’t save anything if time=money.

    OTOH, I’ve received word that my pension will finally be working next month so I may be able to afford some more toys…

  19. dougman says:

    A UPS?…for a sump pump?

    My God, just wire 12V batteries in parallel and tie to a suitable inverter. Your sump pump does not not need to run 24/7. If it does, then your basement is not draining properly, the foundation walls should be dug up and backfilled with #57 stone and pipe that allows water to drain away.

    Spending $50 on $5000 problem, will not make it go away.

  20. DrLoser says:

    I’ve bought lots of “name-brand” stuff that didn’t work for me, like a certain Cadillac and a certain Lexus. They are fine, expensive items but with serious flaws.

    This doesn’t sound like you at all, Robert. At some stage you have bought a brand-new Cadillac, or a brand-new Lexus?

    Good Lord. Either one of those is beyond even my exalted price range.

    And both of these fine, expensive items let you down because of their serious flaws?

    Agog, I am. Agog. Share! Share!

  21. olderman says:

    Robert Pogson, confusing cheapness/personal choice with efficiency wrote:

    “The Chinese goods may well be flawed but so far they work for me. ”

    And what does that have to do with their actuality or how others view them?

  22. olderman, confusing efficiency with something else, wrote, “Robert Pogson, being a cheapskate, loves taking chances with cheap junk that most other people wouldn’t take.”

    Everything’s a risk these days, even getting out of bed. I prefer to assess the risks and act accordingly. Buying stuff from China is less risky for me than driving in heavy city-traffic in poor weather or at night, for instance. One doesn’t get killed hunting and pecking in a browser. One can get killed driving into town to buy something from a retail shelf and you may still be unsatisfied with the purchase. I’ve bought lots of “name-brand” stuff that didn’t work for me, like a certain Cadillac and a certain Lexus. They are fine, expensive items but with serious flaws. The Chinese goods may well be flawed but so far they work for me. That tractor did take some getting used to but it does the job much faster than the Sears tiller. I just wish I were stronger and more brave to use it… 😉

  23. olderman says:

    Meh.

    Multi-Meters or computers…
    Robert Pogson, being a cheapskate, loves taking chances with cheap junk that most other people wouldn’t take. It’s his right to do so and to blog about it, just so he understands what others think and do is THEIR right to do with their money.

    Personally would have gotten the best deal on a fluke that I could find, and move on, just a I bought and took Delivery on a Dell Xps 8900 desktop running windows 10 Pro and will move on.

  24. Ivan wrote, “If you want to buy counterfeit products from China, knock yourself out. Just don’t whine about it when the inevitable breakage happens or it kills your dog.”

    Counterfeit? Many of these products are “no-name”. That is, they have no brand at all and bland colouring. The D cells, for instance, are in a plain plastic sleeve with specifications the only marking. They are generic products. Do I expect them to actually have 10A-h capacity? Nope, but I will test them with the multimeter… They are a good deal at the price.

    As for quality, China is a mixed bag. I’ve bought stuff that was superior to local retail products at thrice the price. I’ve also bought some stuff I regretted. Hence, I check things out as best I can and so far I’m more than satisfied. e.g. I wanted a device to regulate the temperature of terraria. Locally, there are gadgets costing $30-$40 that will do the job. AliExpress sold me digital thermostats with relay and sensor for $4. The Chinese are great at taking COTS parts and assembling quite useful products. Sometimes the language gets in the way but they are happy to clarify concerns by e-mail which works for me. I would gladly accept the occasional bad buy in exchange for lower prices, faster service, free shipping and not having to fire up the Lexus and take a trip into city-traffic.

    My next project could be a UPS for the sump-pump. Locally, that would cost me over $100 to get a 12VDC to 120VAC 1500W inverter which I can buy for ~$50 (modified sine wave) or $150 (pure sine wave) in China. Further, I can get 12/24/48/96VDC to 120VAC for about the same price for longer backup times. My local retailers don’t have those values. Even on reduced price sales, a modified sine wave inverter here is $140. China is the manufacturer for the world and may eventually become the world’s retailer too.

  25. Ivan says:

    If you want to buy counterfeit products from China, knock yourself out. Just don’t whine about it when the inevitable breakage happens or it kills your dog.

  26. oiaohm says:

    Thanks dougman. Its dark grey inside and yellow outside that is the fluke trademark. But to the human eye dark grey looks like black.

    http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/fluke/pdf/multimeter_safety.pdf

    Please note something Dougman. The meter I have chosen and the meter Robert has choose are the same price. Difference is mine has CE iec1010 standard on it. Ok those the maker is allowed to self certify. Please note any CE IEC1010 marked meter even those made by fluke may be only self certified. But at least being self certified it comes with rated allowance for error and if it out side that its warranty.

    So there is cheep meters with the correct reg markings and there is cheap without correct reg markings. Mine is also yellow and green not yellow and dark grey. You are fairly much bet anything in only fluke colors that is not fluke is uncertified. At least not by CE or IEC because products in breach of trademark in all forms of the product means it cannot be certified by CE or IEC rules. Of course maker is free to make the same model in different colors for countries so a CE/IEC certified meter that is not fluke should be findable in not fuke colors. If you can only find the meter in fluke colors and not fluke it truly junk even if it has certification marks because the certification marks if it has any are fake.

    Basically there are many levels of meters.

    Cheep without any certification. These are truly 100 cheap junk totally not trust-able and don’t stand any chance of keeping calibration of all.

    Cheap with self certification. At least has basic safety certifications. These will not take abuse and not always exact but these will normally give precision results (not correct results but repeating the same results). Ok one level above junk. Not for mains electrical work.

    Then you move on to the Mastech MS8229 and HYELEC MS8236 like meters. Theses start at about 60 dollars and go up the makers has ISO 9001 and CAT III or better meters.
    Then you head into the 100 dollars+ range of your flukes and other high end brands of course these are normally stronger.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh1n_ELmpFI
    Is a good watch. Particularly when considering buying a multimeter even that is was done in 2010 lot of the information has not changed.

    And it still true if you see socket that fits PNP or NPN junction transistors you are really in the bottom end and old designs. Modern designs are all auto ranging.

    To be true the meter I put up I don’t 100 percent trust. But its better quality than the one you found Robert. Now I don’t know how far your budget will go.

    More expensive the meters the better the safety tech in them on adverage.

  27. dougman says:

    Heh, Fluke received its trademark patent in 2003 and it is legally enforceable.

    https://www.sparkfun.com/news/1430 & /1428

    http://hackaday.com/2014/03/19/multimeters-without-a-country-flukes-broad-trademark-bans-yellow-multimeter-imports/

    https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=75934005&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch

    I have to say, SparkFun is run by idiots. Spending $30K on cheap meters hoping to make maybe double or triple that, but ended up losing them to trademark infringement. Which I would agree is rather dubious, however, cheap meters do not come with any regulatory markings and are not calibrated by any means.

    So again, CHEAP JUNK.

  28. oiaohm wrote, “Yellow outside black inside is trademarked by Fluke”.

    Yellow outside black inside is not a trademark. Those are colours. They might be part of a trademark but not a trademark on their own. They could be a “design patent” in some places but contrasty colours are not unique. They are a safety feature or help in not losing something. That’s not exactly patentable IMHO. I remember working in a factory in the 1980s that had orange/black used widely to tell us where we could walk or not.

  29. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson I am in Australia and I know I cannot order that meter in that color pattern. Yellow outside black inside is trademarked by Fluke so attempting to import like the one you are looking at runs into customs problems here in Australia.

    I do agree with dougman that certification on calibration is not on that device.

    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/J34-Free-Shipping-DT9205M-LCD-Digital-Multimeter-Voltmeter-Ohmmeter-Ammeter-Capacitance-Tester-Hot/32298705062.html

    I would trust this one more. 1 not fluke colors(green core) 2 has ratings.

  30. dougman says:

    Hmmmm… this looks sketchy. Does this device have RoHS, CE markings, CSA markings, UL markings, built per CAT III/CAT IV safety protections?

    Who is the manufacturer? Are they ISO9001 certified?

    Also, does this meter come with a certificate of calibration? Probably not as it’s accuracy is probably greater than 5%, which places it beyond the CBEMA curve. I have thrown people off jobsites with shoddy electrical testing equipment.

    CHEAP JUNK.

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