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mhrackin
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CEO
Re: Harbor Freight
mhrackin   8/25/2014 2:53:45 PM
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I agree on items like screwdrivers or electronic-type pliers/cutters.  Quality pays on those    I have bought some really well-made socket wrenches for a pittance there (a full set of deep metric for $10 less 20% off using a coupon), and the DMM is great for free (perfect for throwing in the glove box for example).  Other freebies were quite acceptable at the price also!  I have bought a couple of "rare-use" power tools (a reciprocating saw, a small 3-gallon 125PSI air compressor mostly for tires) that were exceptional bargains on sale/coupons.  I do have a coupon or two for tape measures but I have so many already, including a couple I inherited from my father-in-law in 1972!

TonyTib
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CEO
Re: Harbor Freight
TonyTib   8/25/2014 2:42:10 PM
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HF's stuff varies.  The tape measures (sometimes available for free) are pretty sweet, the DMM is OK for a "throw-away" tool box item (my biggest pet peeve: no continuity beep!  You have to spend $20 at HF to get that, in a much larger meter.  I do like the $40 HF DMM - it's one of my two main meters).


The coupons are worth checking out, too - my "toolbox" calipers are the 6" HF digital models; I paid $10 w/coupon, so Max overspent on his callipers ($20!!!!).  (My good one is a Mitotoyo, but I like have some cheap stuff for my toolbox).


A lot of their hand tools are not worth it (my toolbox is filled with Bondhus ball end hex wrenches and Wiha screw drivers -- both well worth it considering how much I use them).

mhrackin
User Rank
CEO
Re: Duratool tool kits
mhrackin   8/25/2014 1:19:12 PM
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For the stateside folks: if you have reasonable access to a Harbor Freight store (500 throughout USA), they usually have a coupon for some free items (only one per visit, but no purchase required, but it's hard to do wuth all the cheap stuff they carry). Most of the time one of those "freebies" is a nice little digital multimeter that's actually pretty good: 7 functions, with decent test leads, and reasonably accurate for most trouble-shooting use.  I have the good fortune to have a store within a mile or so of my office, so every few weeks I go through the flyers (the coupons are generally good for several months) and make up my shopping list for lunchtime.  The one from last week's newspaper (Aug 17) has a coupon for the multi-meter, one for a headlamp bwith lens, another for a magnetic parts dish, an LED flashlight, scissors, screwdriver set, and a 20% off any one item, all good until Oct 25.  I have the meter, parts dish, and LED flashlight already, so have to go through the small pile of current flyers to see what I can get on my next trip.

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Duratool tool kits
David Ashton   8/22/2014 4:05:54 AM
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@Salbayeng...thanks for the info, interesting. The QM1500 is the full sized meter, is that what you got, or the baby QM1502?    For $5-10 a piece you can't expect much I guess, and current shunts are notoriously difficult to get right.  For what Max is talking about here - a quick and dirty unit to do odd measurements and keep in your toolbox - they are fine.  Incidentally the full size Jaytech QM1500 has exactly the same ranges and specs so think it's the same circuit as the baby QM1502, probably the baby has an SMD DVM IC.  I like that they have 4mm banana sockets, it makes it easy to make up a pair of croc clip leads as well as the probes.   

salbayeng
User Rank
Rookie
Re: Duratool tool kits
salbayeng   8/22/2014 1:29:52 AM
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@david

Mine was the thin meter with foldover case and leads permanently attached. 

I did buy 10 of the Jaycar QM-1500's a while back, I checked the 20v range against a 5digit meter for each of them, and put a green dot on that range if it was within 1digit (they seem to be with 4 digits usually). The current ranges are pretty awful, So I use an external 1ohm resistor with back to back 1N5819's across it, and measure with the 200mV range = 200mA. The leads supplied with the meters are pretty awful, about 1 in 10 will be open circuit , brand new. The soldering on the input sockets can sometime be less than average and easy enough to get a dry joint after a few plugins/out, I've opened up a couple and refreshed the little dab of frosty lead free solder , with a full circumferential fillet of full lead solder and RMA flux.

For testing a batch of units I was making (with PV cells and batteries) I folded up a bit of aluminium so I could make a rack of 3 DMMs wide x 2 DMMs high at a good viewing angle, then stuck the meters on with blu-tak (poster adhesive) This way I can measure 3 currents and 2 voltages plus have a spare troubleshooting meter. I make up a "loom" with 22g hookup wire to go to the meters, and use those cheap little gold 4mm male banana pins that the RC guys use to hook up BLDC motors and batteries.  With the leftover 11 or so leads , I cut the probe off the end, and attach one of (a) a female contact (like those that go in 0.100" headers. (b) a gold plated pin from a 0.1" header (approx 0.024 across) (c) gold plated pin from 2mm header (about  0.016 across) , These leads usually attach quite well to standard clips and headers, and fit in vias and through hole pads on the PCB

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Duratool tool kits
Max The Magnificent   8/21/2014 5:20:34 PM
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@David: ...now you have one in your hot sticky hand, what do you think of them?

For th eprice ($2.50) they are brilliant -- not the best accuracy and certainly not a lot of precision -- but for something to slip in your back pocket or travelling toolkit - -just to be able to chesk "this and that" -- they are GREAT

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Duratool tool kits
David Ashton   8/21/2014 4:03:13 PM
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@Max....now you have one in your hot sticky hand, what do you think of them?  My feeling is - not top quality by any means, but good features in somethings so small, and adequate for a toolkit.  Buy sa small cheap camera bag to keep it in, along with the original probes plus a set of alligator leads (AND a spare battery!) and you have something really useful.

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Duratool tool kits
Max The Magnificent   8/21/2014 10:24:55 AM
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@David: FYI -- Those QM-1502 multimeters you recommended from Jaycar came in -- I bought 11 at US$2.50 each (because they have a $25 minimum) -- I've got one in my travelling toolkit and I'm giving the rest away as "stocking stuffers"

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Interesting discovery
Max The Magnificent   8/21/2014 10:21:31 AM
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@salbayeng: ...one of the fun things to do on field trips is to compare your toolkit with your colleague's. So after the obligatory Mick Dundee quote "call that a knife" ...

LOL

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Duratool tool kits
David Ashton   8/21/2014 8:01:36 AM
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@Salbayeng - was it the thin meter with a foldover case you got, or the Jaycar type one?

I had a super small (almost credit card size) meter I got from a Tandy but it also did not survive long.  One problem with these meters is that the leads go straight into the meter and they will almost certainly fail there.  The Jaycar one uses standard 4mm Banana plugs which I think is a plus.

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