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Extech MN35 Digital Mini MultiMeter
Style Name: Manual RangingChange
Price:$19.99+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2011
I purchased this meter for hobby electronics use, and it has indeed served me well.
Initially I purchased an EX 330 and found that I needed a second multimeter to perform
simultaneous current and voltage measurements. I came across a lot of manual ranging meters in the $20
range, but I decided to try this one (Extech MN35) Since the Extech 330 performed so well.

Initially I was a bit worried that a manual ranging meter would be difficult, but it proved to be easy --
and it resolves voltage and current measurements much faster than my auto range Extech 330.

I have used this meter on several arduino projects and it performed well, and is rock solid.

Pros:
+ replaceable fuse, a must for newbies like myself.
+ Rock solid form factor, you know you'll drop you meter at least once.
+ Easy to read display.
+ Measures current up to 200 Micro Amps, Sweet!
+ Measures temperature to boot!

Cons: (You know there has to be at least one)
+ Not auto ranging, but what do you want for $20??

Summary:
This meter gets a thumbs up. If you are looking for a meter for hobby electronics, and don't
want to spend more than $20 I would definitely recommend this multimeter. I would also recommend
picking up a pack of fuses (250mA/250V) as well, They only cost a couple dollars.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2012
I am very happy with this multimeter. I am an EE and I have a bunch of home projects and I am very impressed with this meter considering it is only 20 bucks. The manual gives the specs and most measurements are within 2%, which it plenty accurate for what I am doing.

The temperature probe has proven quite useful. I was not planning on using it at all, but I built a power supply and used the probe to monitor the temperature of the heat sink. I used this information to determine the appropriate time to turn a fan on and off. The diode forward voltage meter is very nice too, seems to be accurate.

This is not auto-ranging, but it is really a convenience issue. One could even argue that this is better because the response time is faster since the device does not have to adjust every time you make a measurement.

Everyone complains about the continuity beeper, and it is pretty annoying. It is not de-bounces so when you make contact with the probe the meter screeches at you for a second until is puts out a solid tone. If the designers wanted to de-bounce the continuity feature they would have had to build in extra circuity to isolate the filter from all the other measurements automatically, which is a lot like the auto ranging, which is not what this meter does, so really it makes sense that this thing is a little rough with the beep.

My one complaint is that the 200mA max current measurement setting is tied in with the regular voltage measuring socket. Usually all current measurements require the user to move the probe to a different socket, which is the case with the 10A setting on this meter. But 200mA could do plenty of damage to a lot of circuits if someone wasn't careful. So don't hook this thing up to a hot circuit and start spinning the dial, you'll short your circuit in at least one of the settings no matter how you have the probes plugged in.

But seriously you can't go wrong for 20 bucks. Big display, plenty accurate, nice little kick stand, rubber bumper all around, I am really impressed with the build when considering the price. A lot of the reviews are people comparing this to a Fluke, and that's like comparing a reliable cheap sedan to luxury german sport sedan, so don't do it. One thing I will say about comparing this to a Fluke is the plastic and rubber materials, they seem very solid, but I haven't dropped it yet so we'll see.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2012
Are you thinking you may need a "Better Muti Meter" ... Are you thinking to yourself "Well, perhaps I can find a slightly better meter for a few bucks more?" -- Do yourself a favor and just stop looking now and buy this guy. This meter is overkill for 99% of people who actually even know how to use a multimeter. And those other 1% will look at a Fluke or something else, they would never even click on this item -- and if they do, they are just cheap.

Overall, This meter is well made, has a nice grippy case around it that will protect it if it gets bumped around. The continuity beep is easily heard over a running engine, but not loud enough to wake a sleeping baby. The dial has a nice firm click to it. The response time for readings is adequate with the digital readout -- but the hold feature makes up for that.

-1 star. Stinky plastic.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2012
I just bought this and was pleased that a battery came installed (especially because removing the screws to install the battery is less convenient that other meters.) And the unit is a little thicker than I expected at 1.5", although it does state this in the decription.

But my main complaint is that I could not get any reading when testing the voltage of what I knew was a new (and therefore fully charged) battery on my first attempt. But when I wiggled the probe ends attached to the meter, I could get a proper reading on the meter, but it was an intermittent connection. So I assumed that the problem was that the plugs were not making a good contact with the female sleeve contacts in the meter.

So I decided to insert a small screw driver into the male plug end of the probe wires that go into the meter to expand the end of the plug so they would make better contact with the sleeves in the meter. Surprisingly, this did not fix the problem even though I could feel that the probe ends were now making better contact with the sleeve contacts in the meter.

Well, I opened up the unit again and it appears that the female sleeve sockets are fully soldered to the PCB so that does not appear to be the problem. The next thing is to try other probe wires and sure enough they worked great!

Well I phoned the number on the manual and got a message that the number is disconnected. So I sent an email to their email support address listed on same manual. I may update this later if and when they reply. Costs about the same to send this thing back as it would cost to order a set of new banana plug probes. So I guess that that is what I will do.

Next day: So I ordered new probe wires plug another cheap multi meter from Annova, 3220. Its slightly smaller, better rubber corners plus band and side clip for holding probes. It also has a bigger LCD with more information on it and auto ranging. I haven't used either really but I think I prefer the Annova.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2013
I am not an electrical engineer, just a handy guy doing stuff around the house and car. But since I'd never owned one of these before, I did a lot of research before buying one. I am one of those people that when it comes to tools, I believe in buying a good quality thing once and never replacing it. I don't mind paying a bit more for something that will give good service and last a long time.

This is a situation where you don't need to spend a lot to get a lot. Yes, there are some really cheap, badly made MultiMeters out there. This isn't one of them - it is cheap, but pretty well made and perfect for basic needs like mine. It seems pretty sturdy, the dial has a nice positive click to it that seems well made, and I have dropped it several times with no ill-effects. I like the little pop-out stand and the probes work just fine for my simple needs. I have even used the temperature probe a few times, which I thought I would never use at all when I bought this.

It gets to a stable reading pretty fast, and the numbers are big and easy to see even if you are working somewhere awkward with it.

I am sure somebody doing far more complex work might want something fancier than this, but for contractor/automotive/handyman use, this is just perfect. It seems quite well-made and should last a long time. There is nothing crummy about this despite the low price. Probably the only thing I would change is to have a place to store all the probes integrated into the case. I just wind them around the meter and that is ok, but integrated storage would be nice.

One other tip to pass along: When I was shopping for one of these things, I was trying to figure out whether I should get a fancier MultiMeter with a built-in voltage proximity detector or get one of those stand-alone Fluke pen-shaped detectors instead. I ultimately decided to buy that little Fluke pen to test for the presence of a hot wire and get a cheaper MultiMeter, and I am glad I made that decision. The Fluke pen comes with a little blade shaped probe tip that inserts into any socket. Unlike a detector attached to the top of a MultiMeter body, the little blade will hold the pen in the socket and play a loud tone continuously while that plug has power. That makes finding the breaker easier in many cases. I also think that a voltage detector is really about keeping me safe, so I am ok paying extra for Fluke-level quality on that. But for a MultiMeter, somebody like me doesn't really need anything more than this - the extra quality and precision would be wasted on me. So if your needs are like mine, my recommendation is to get a basic MultiMeter like this rather than spending more just to get the voltage detector integrated into the MultiMeter.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2012
I wanted a couple of low-cost DMM's that had basic functionality, to tote around in toolbags. The Extechs fit the bill quite nicely. The first one I ordered was the MN35 and of course, I checked its factory calibration against a couple of much more expensive meters in the shop, an ancient Fluke 8000A/AZ bench meter that I have calibrated every few years, and a WaveTek handheld unit that was a top shelf, $600 DMM back 15 or 20 years ago when I bought it. Both meters agree with each other on about everything I throw at them.

Surprisingly, the little $20 Extech agrees with both of them when I checked a number of components, voltages from a lab grade power supply, and currents from some fixed-current regulators I built for charging various batteries. I wasn't expecting anything better than "reasonably close", but although the Extech lacks the resolution of the better meters, all readings were the same up to the meter's resolution limits.

For what I needed, this is more than good enough... and considerably better than I had hoped.

CONS: After a month of bouncing around in the vehicles, I had a display segment stop working, but this was fixed by merely taking it apart, wiping the contact fingers for the LCD display on the PCB and reassembling the thing. It has been fine, since. I've had better meters than this do that, so I rather doubt if this is going to be enough of an issue to worry about.

Amazon's delivery was prompt, as usual. They're getting big... will be bigger than Google and FeeBAY and the whole lot of them in a few more years. Their great customer service is a big part of the reason why. When they get higher up on the heap, it will be interesting to see if that's the first thing they abandon, as the other corporate giants I mentioned have done.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2012
I own a couple of Craftsman clones of the MN36 (see uploaded pictures). I had high hopes for it being small, cheap, autoranging DMM, and with auto shut off. But in this particular case, you get less, much less, than what you pay for.

The delay and ghosting on this thing is terrible. You must always guesstimate the results and wait, and wait, and wait for the actual reading to pop for a moment and disappear again. I am sorry to say that the 3 dol. Harbor Freight meter, that they often give away for free, is more reliable than this thing. Perhaps it is an instance of bad batch vs. good batch? It's made somewhere in China. Having used many different DMMs from different brands, I would rate this one as the least reliable I used, so far.

If you only need cheap basic to check batteries in your remote, go for Harbor Freight. If you need reliable, save up your beer allowances and grab yourself a Fluke. Life's too short for this kind of misery in one's pursuit of happiness.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2013
good for basic testing, throw a way meters like this one seem just as reliable as high end models and you dont weep when you drop it ...would purchase again
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2012
Looked like a good bargain. All I needed was a multi-meter for alkline/home batteries, car batteries and continuity tests. Unfortunately the 20V scale was inoperative, with garbage on the LCD screen. It would read on the other settings. Returned and investing more for hopefully a better meter. 3 minutes of Quality Assurance testing by the manufacture would have prevented this return.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2013
I bought this meter, like many others to use for hobby projects. This is a fairly nice cheap digital multimeter. It has many useful features, such as beeping continuity test, a hold button, unfused 10A measurements, and resistivity tests.

I was looking for a DMM that was 20 bucks or less, and I'm pretty pleased with this one so far. If you're looking for something comparable to a fluke or other high end multimeter, this ain't it. It doesn't have features found in high end multimeters like auto ranging, higher amperage fuses, etc... But what do you want for 20 bucks.

It came with a temperature probe, which isn't super useful. I tested it against an actual thermometer and the temperature measurement on the meter is generally off by 5-10 degrees F. Also there's no real documentation on how hot you can get this probe before it gets destroyed.
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