LCR testers

Jazid

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Hi,

can you knowledgeable folks point me in the direction of a decent and preferrably affordable LCR meter. Given our hobby it needs to do large L and C values, and ideally have some kind of test frequency selection as well. Oh and ESR would be a plus..what do people use? I have tried a couple of the cheapo testers and whilst fine they seem to be a bit too automated and don't allow frequency selection or fixing. Is there something new that does this, or alternatively what are the pros and cons of buying a big old bench model second-hand and if so what manufacturers/models should I look out for? Any good ideas?

Many thanks in advance :)

 

johnniebaby

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I agree, find one from a reputable manufacturer. Wayne-Kerr made superb bridges, the B900 was excellent. Other makes worth seeking out are Marconi, Radiometer and Racal as mentioned above. S
Seriously? :?

 

SergeAuckland

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Actually, yes, they made superb equipment. http://www.waynekerrtest.com/
The guy who started Wayne-Kerr was a film buff and his two favourite actors were John Wayne and Deborah Kerr. My first job during University vacations was at W-K as they were just down the road in Tolworth from where I lived in Surbiton at the time.

I worked on the B900 bridge and as they were part of the same group as Ferrograph, I did some early work on what became the Ferrograph Studio 8.

S

 

Jazid

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Woh! Like the buses. Thanks guys! Another question, what is the chance of such a beastie being reasonably accurate if offered for sale nowadays. Do I need a recent calibration sticker, or what should I look out for? Maybe a reliable re-seller? PM if appropriate...

Also any advice about taking ESR measurements. Pretty please?

 

i_should_coco

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Truth is, it depends. I believe my RACAL is reasonably accurate. It agrees with another meter I have pretty well.

 

Jazid

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Sounds a bit like my AVO... And not like my L3-3 :roll:

 

Jazid

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Hey ho. Any tips 'n' tricks then when presented with a large lump of ageing electronics? I can use some measurements from cheapo testers but that seems all wrong...

 

i_should_coco

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Don't get me wrong, the decent old stuff (Marconi, etc.) is still going to be bette than cheap Chinese garbage. It doesn't drift that much.

 

SergeAuckland

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Woh! Like the buses. Thanks guys! Another question, what is the chance of such a beastie being reasonably accurate if offered for sale nowadays. Do I need a recent calibration sticker, or what should I look out for? Maybe a reliable re-seller? PM if appropriate...Also any advice about taking ESR measurements. Pretty please?
Truth is, it depends. I believe my RACAL is reasonably accurate. It agrees with another meter I have pretty well.
If you buy one from a private seller, it's unlikely that it will have been professionally calibrated in recent times. How much that matters depends on the design. Also, it depends on whether you need something for comparative measurements or absolute measurements. By that I mean, do you need to know that the capacitor is 2.25uF, or is it sufficient to know it's the same as another known good capacitor? If the former, then calibration is necessary, if the latter, then stability is more important than absolute accuracy. In the latter case, you can always check the calibration by buying some assorted 0.1% resistors and 1% capacitors and check the meter against them as a transfer standard. If the meter shows them to be within tolerance, then you know that the meter is at least that good. Alternatively, ask someone to measure some R C and L on their meter and check their values against yours.

There are several places that calibrate instruments, Livingstone Labs is one, but the charge is likely to be as much as it costs to buy an uncalibrated instrument on eBay.

S.

 

Jazid

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Thats encouraging! I will dredge through my bookmarked resellers tomorrow. If anyone has or knows of one going spare please do let me know :^

Sent from my GT-I5800 using Tapatalk 2

 

i_should_coco

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If you buy one from a private seller, it's unlikely that it will have been professionally calibrated in recent times. How much that matters depends on the design. Also, it depends on whether you need something for comparative measurements or absolute measurements. By that I mean, do you need to know that the capacitor is 2.25uF, or is it sufficient to know it's the same as another known good capacitor? If the former, then calibration is necessary, if the latter, then stability is more important than absolute accuracy. In the latter case, you can always check the calibration by buying some assorted 0.1% resistors and 1% capacitors and check the meter against them as a transfer standard. If the meter shows them to be within tolerance, then you know that the meter is at least that good. Alternatively, ask someone to measure some R C and L on their meter and check their values against yours. There are several places that calibrate instruments, Livingstone Labs is one, but the charge is likely to be as much as it costs to buy an uncalibrated instrument on eBay.

S.
:^

 

SergeAuckland

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Don't get me wrong, the decent old stuff (Marconi, etc.) is still going to be bette than cheap Chinese garbage. It doesn't drift that much.
I have the RF signal Generator kindly donated by Stewartwen. It's around 40 years old, and yet, given about 2 hours to warm up and stabilise, it's very stable for frequency and level. The problem with very old valved instruments is that they generally do take a few hours to stabilise, in labs they tended to be switched on in the morning and left on all day, so by coffee time they were fully specced. Later SS instruments were stable in minutes. Provided all the knobs and switches work, and can get to them for a squirt of contact cleaner, old instruments can be a good buy.

S.

 

Valvebloke

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Also any advice about taking ESR measurements. Pretty please?
These Peak ESR meters http://www.peakelec.co.uk/acatalog/jz_esr60.html look a bit cheap-and-cheerful but actually they seem to be the business. I have one and it gives reproducible results over a pretty wide range. And it is a doddle to use, even on in-circuit components. I'm told that their after-sales support is very good too. But my meter's never misbehaved so I can't vouch for that personally (the only thing better than good after-sales is not needing it). Of course measuring ESR is one thing and interpreting what it really means can be another ...

VB

 

Jazid

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Yes VB I have seen them and heard good things as well. Having tried other cheapie efforts I needed to hear summat good from a known source, so thanks for that. Reason I am interested is I have a Maplins voucher about to expire and havent been overly impressed with anything else I got from there...

Has anyone found a used equipment seller who seems straigbtforward or particularly reliable? I dont fancy eBay for an old meter TBH.

Sent from my GT-I5800 using Tapatalk 2

 

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