$4 Multimeter!

You know those really cheap $4 multimeters that you see on eBay and Amazon all the time?


Nippon Labs TST-MM2003 Digital Multimeter

Generic DT830D LCD Digital Voltmeter Ammeter Ohm Multimeter With Test Leads Color Black

Generic Digital Multitester DT-830B LCD Display Multi Function Tester Color Black

Being myself, I couldn’t resist and I had to buy one! So just a few days ago it came in from the post  and I gotta admit that it took it an awful long amount of time to get here, almost 3 weeks! Besides that the thing came in a padded envelope and even with that the box was still a bit crunched up, but the multimeter was safe!

My impressions will this whole thing was a big roller coaster, but lets start from the beginning. First impressions, the packaging was fairly cheap and the box looked like it had been through a big journey. The instruction manual was surprisingly well written for such a cheap multimeter and the multimeter and probes felt very solid and quality.

I then continued to disassemble the multimeter and that is where things started to go downhill…

Upon first glance everything seems perfect and well constructed. What I found funny is that the battery is named Pakko, perhaps a name derived from the Hakko brand? Then I inspect the board a bit closer and notice a few things…

Oh my god! Just look at it! They really stuffed up on the inputs, the thing doesn’t even have proper wiring from one board to the other, they used solder! *snort* And then to add to that they forgot to add the fuse! I am not even sure if the current measurement works. I then remove the board.

The other side of the board as seen above is not as bad as I thought it would be. The contacts and the traces seem to be very well positioned and there is a little bit of stress relief on the battery connector as seen above. It appears to be that the board is one sided as I can see the soldering of the components from the other side of the board.

Then back to the plastic casing itself. I remove the selection wheel and look what I found! A free blob of solder, straight from the factory! (seen in the middle, right hand side)

The verdict: A decent multimeter if you use it for simple purposes such as measuring battery voltages where quality and accuracy of the meter are not very important. I love the feel of the meter itself, it is compact and feels very solid, but I think that the plastic will break if I drop it… I would defiantly not use this thing on the mains and for jobs which need good accuracy of measurement. We use these in school and I believe that it is good for such a use, but not much on anything else. Before I wrote this post I tried to put it back together, the damn screen and the selection wheel are stuffed up, the screen is playing up and I don’t know how to put the wheel back into place so that it would select the right thing. A word of advice, if you do buy this meter, do not take it apart! Overall, I don’t have much to say. You get what you pay for!


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