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Old 05-27-2022, 03:06 PM   #1
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Model: Fourwinds 24F
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Digital multimeter - essential RV tool

One of the most important tools in my RV and probably the most used is a digital multimeter. If I look back over 80% of my coach issues have required electrical troubleshooting - both AC and DC, or tracing wires. I am not alone - look at the Forum posts over the past few weeks and a vast majority are electrical related. Given that, how many times do you see the “old hats” ask if someone has a digital multimeter and do they know how to use it? If you don’t have one, then get one and watch a YouTube video on how to use it.

Now is the perfect time for all of the fathers out there to ask for a digital multimeter for Father’s Day. You aren’t the man who has everything until you have a digital multimeter.

Jim

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Old 05-27-2022, 03:13 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbo12 View Post
One of the most important tools in my RV and probably the most used is a digital multimeter. If I look back over 80% of my coach issues have required electrical troubleshooting - both AC and DC, or tracing wires. I am not alone - look at the Forum posts over the past few weeks and a vast majority are electrical related. Given that, how many times do you see the “old hats” ask if someone has a digital multimeter and do they know how to use it? If you don’t have one, then get one and watch a YouTube video on how to use it.

Now is the perfect time for all of the fathers out there to ask for a digital multimeter for Father’s Day. You aren’t the man who has everything until you have a digital multimeter.

Jim
EXCELLENT idea! A motorhome is an ideal environment to hone those electrical troubleshooting skills, having both an AC/DC (No Angus... not THAT!) voltage system. An essential part of RV ownership!
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Old 05-27-2022, 03:21 PM   #3
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I agree that a digital multimeter is a must have tool for RV maintenance. You need to be able to check voltages at various connections to see what is going on.

But multimeters won't measure (much) current, as usually they have a 500 ma limit, sometimes a few amps. And you have to break the circuit to be able to measure current with one.

The device I use almost as much is a clamp on DC ammeter. All you have to do is clamp the probe around the wire you want to measure current. This is very useful for example to see if the chassis electrical system is charging the coach system and visa versa or where your parasitic DC loads are going. I clamp on to the batteries DC + terminal and then pull each of the converter's DC fuses one by one and note any change.

They aren't cheap though and don't be fooled by lots of misleading ads such as on Amazon. It needs to say DC ammeter, not AC ammeter and AC/DC voltmeter like most of the Amazon ads that you get when you search for DC clamp on ammeter.

Unfortunately prices have gone up and it now costs more than $100 for a decent one from Klein tools, much more for a high end one from Fluke.

David
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Old 05-27-2022, 03:38 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=jimbo12;347754]One of the most important tools in my RV and probably the most used is a digital multimeter.


I still have one I got off USS Towers when she was getting decommissioned and I was raiding it equipment/cables for my ship!

Made in American and still works like a champ!
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Old 05-27-2022, 03:48 PM   #5
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My multimeter of choice. Classic Simpson 260.

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Old 05-27-2022, 03:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DavidEM View Post
I agree that a digital multimeter is a must have tool for RV maintenance. You need to be able to check voltages at various connections to see what is going on.

But multimeters won't measure (much) current, as usually they have a 500 ma limit, sometimes a few amps. And you have to break the circuit to be able to measure current with one.

The device I use almost as much is a clamp on DC ammeter. All you have to do is clamp the probe around the wire you want to measure current. This is very useful for example to see if the chassis electrical system is charging the coach system and visa versa or where your parasitic DC loads are going. I clamp on to the batteries DC + terminal and then pull each of the converter's DC fuses one by one and note any change.

They aren't cheap though and don't be fooled by lots of misleading ads such as on Amazon. It needs to say DC ammeter, not AC ammeter and AC/DC voltmeter like most of the Amazon ads that you get when you search for DC clamp on ammeter.

Unfortunately prices have gone up and it now costs more than $100 for a decent one from Klein tools, much more for a high end one from Fluke.

David
$15 Harbor Freight. Mine is working great after 10 years. I have a short (one foot) extension coed with 12 awg THHN wires between the plug and receptacle so I can measure the A/C current. For DC I use the max hold function. Of course you have to turn the circuit of and on to measure the max current flow. The use store switch works well for this when the converter is off.
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Old 05-27-2022, 03:54 PM   #7
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My multimeter of choice. Classic Simpson 260.


I remember that old girl! ha
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Old 05-27-2022, 04:06 PM   #8
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Father's Day???? You know we can't wait on such formality...we're trained to get what we want and get it now. You can always ask the kids to reimburse you.
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Old 05-27-2022, 04:42 PM   #9
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I've been carrying a cheapo multimeter from wally world for the last twenty years. It has been invaluable numerous times.
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Old 05-27-2022, 05:18 PM   #10
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Been carrying one for over 15 years. It has never been needed,
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Old 05-27-2022, 05:19 PM   #11
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I use these in the rig. I have a very good one at home, but cheaper meters are good enough for trouble shooting in an RV. If you can use a clamp on meter for DC and AC current, then it saves the time and effort to open the connection and insert a meter inline.

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Old 05-27-2022, 06:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportcoupe View Post
My multimeter of choice. Classic Simpson 260.

I haven't seen one of those since my early Navy days. We though we were big time when we got a Fluke 8600.
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Old 05-27-2022, 07:51 PM   #13
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Digital multimeter - essential RV tool

Quote:
Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
I haven't seen one of those since my early Navy days. We though we were big time when we got a Fluke 8600.

Me, too. Damn, I hated calibrating them.

For all the twidgets - http://www.simpson260.com/downloads/...ser_manual.pdf
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Old 05-27-2022, 07:53 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=macdaddy1111;347762]
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbo12 View Post
One of the most important tools in my RV and probably the most used is a digital multimeter.


I still have one I got off USS Towers when she was getting decommissioned and I was raiding it equipment/cables for my ship!

Made in American and still works like a champ!
Navy 4K$
I'm sure Ma Bell paid $400+ for this one in the 80s, and it still works
Paid less than $20, 35 yrs later for this one
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Old 05-27-2022, 07:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Beau388 View Post
$15 Harbor Freight. Mine is working great after 10 years. I have a short (one foot) extension coed with 12 awg THHN wires between the plug and receptacle so I can measure the A/C current. For DC I use the max hold function. Of course you have to turn the circuit of and on to measure the max current flow. The use store switch works well for this when the converter is off.
I think that little squiggle next to the 20A, 40A, etc means AC current. I don't see any DC symbols which would be a dash.

David
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Old 05-27-2022, 08:00 PM   #16
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yes upgraded also to a digital, Still keep my traditional meter. I wanted to know exactly how much voltage going into batteries.

Since we are talking Father's Day gifts. I think a Honda EU2200i would work for me.
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Old 05-27-2022, 08:04 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by sportcoupe View Post
My multimeter of choice. Classic Simpson 260.

Looks just like my Archer (Radio Shack) one. Still have it in the original box!
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Old 05-27-2022, 08:20 PM   #18
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Too lazy to remove from box... Think I got this in mid 1970s??
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Old 05-27-2022, 09:16 PM   #19
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My Father In Law gave this to me 25 years ago. I was wondering if I would ever get to use it, and here it is; I got it out today. I guess I will pack in the RV for emergency fixes

Anyone recognize it?

It has label on the top is very hard to raed bit it looks to say:

Approved Source:

TERMOD INST. CORP
48-15 31st Avenue
Long Island City N.Y. 11103
748-726-4850
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Old 05-27-2022, 10:01 PM   #20
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THOR #20220
i have a mulit meter but not a "clamp on DC ammeter"

Can i get on amazon or can someone recommend?

01) so you clamp on any line and shows volts??
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