Fluke 101 digital multimeter 22 hours Plus Research Review
It’s quite sad that most people do not know about the digital multimeters. Take it from someone who’s had a vast experience with electronics, this is one of the most important electrical tools- for industrial, automotive and basic home maintenance.
Just like any other electrical maintenance tool, the market is highly flooded with a lot of multimeters all of which, obviously, will not offer as good a multimeter as they claim to offer. This is basically why we are here today- to present to you one of the best; the Fluke 101.
To save you the hassle of having to shop for one on your own, we’ve invested hours of research to present to you this review.
Trust me, as long as you’re interested in quality, this Fluke 101 review will definitely blow your mind. That being said, how about we move on to the details right away, shall we?
The first impressions of the fluke 101
I’m sure you’ll be pleased as I am upon unpacking your package- one word to describe the fluke 101 is simply compact. It’s actually surprising that this multimeter can have so many functionalities taking into consideration its size.
You can easily pocket it and as for the grip, well, it rests just perfectly in your palm. On the front face of the multimeter is the dial and around this are 6 different stations each of which will we will take a look at later on in our review.
The front face also does have two buttonsthe one on the left is labeled ‘hold' and is somewhat rectangular in shape whereas the one on the right is rounded and yellow in color. We’ll see what each of these does later on in our review.
The probe ports, unlike in the other multimeter go in the bottom rather than the front; this diversion from what we're used to, in my opinion, is a change for the better since it makes using the multimeter much more comfortable.
The display also did get my attention. This large and I assume should be easy to read.
The build quality and design
It’s no good having an outstanding multimeter with a poor build quality, right? As much as a digital multimeter should be able to handle the much it’s expected to, the construction design should also be just as good- you should enjoy every dime you spend on it from the features it’s got.
Whereas most portable multimeters will come with the test probes wired onto them, the fluke 101 does maintain the portable banana to test probes. Considering that the jacks are at the bottom, it will be quite convenient to use and pocket this multimeter even with the probes still connected.
For its size, the dial selector is quite amazing. It does not threaten to come out of place and at the same time, the movement is solid and smooth enough to be operated by one hand. As far as the markings are concerned, one thing that caught my eye is that the stations are not clustered which makes it impossible to dial the wrong setting.
The back side of the multimeter is mostly flat with the exception of the battery compartment. This is separate and you won’t have to take off the whole back face to access the batteries which indeed does make battery replacement a walk in the park. You’ll simply have to pop open the battery compartment similarly to what you’d do when using a TV remote.
The multimeter is designed to use up as little space as possible hence you won’t be getting any kickstand at the back. Not to worry however if you’d like to use the multimeter hands-free- you can purchase a magnetic stand separately from fluke.
Told you there's more to it than just a compact design! As much as it will easily fit in the palm of your hand, the Fluke 101 does have a rugged touch added to it. Considering you may be carrying around this multimeter quite a lot, the rugged design will ensure that you get to use the multimeter for years.
The dimensions and weight:
Yes, it’s small enough to be easily pocketed but what exactly are its measurements? The fluke 1010 is one of the smallest and most convenient multimeters in its class since it only measures 8.1 x 4.4 x 2.3 inches. It weighs only 10 ounces which are approximately 160 grams.
As far as convenience is concerned, I’d greatly recommend this to be your multimeter of choice.
Two test leads:
Included in the fluke 101 standard package are two test leads. These are the basic banana to probe tips and they come with protective caps included. I strongly advise that you keep the caps on when the multimeter is not in use.
Personally, I think that this is one a must-have on a digital multimeter since it serves equally as good for an expert just as it does for a first-time user.
We’ll be taking a look at some of the electrical units you can measure using the multimeter. Other than just this, you won’t have to worry about setting the range yourself. As long as you are aware of the unit you’d like to measure, then you’re good to go, let the multimeter do the rest for you.
If you’ll be measuring a lot of continuous values, this feature shall come in handy quite well. Also, just for the sake of saving you the trouble and time it takes to set the range manually, the Fluke 101’s autoranging feature is responsive enough to get you through asap.
Auto power off capability
Though it is highly recommended to power off the multimeter after every use, most people easily forget to do this. Besides just the autoranging capability, the Fluke 101 also has got the auto power-off feature. This feature kicks in if you happen to leave the multimeter idle for 20 minutes.
Considering you’ll be needing a pair of AAA batteries to keep it going, you’ll need to maximize their use and there’s no better way to do this than via the auto power off.
As much as the pair of batteries will get you going for some time, we recommend that you always have a backup pair with you just to be safe. Using the multimeter in low battery power has also been known to give unstable or rather erratic values which is something you obviously do not want.
As much as it is a convenient feature, some people do not really get the kicks off the auto power off and are, on the contrary, irritated by it. If you'd like to disable this, all you have to do is press down the yellow button while turning the unit on.
Safety for use with cat III rating.
You can definitely agree that you’d be more comfortable working with a multimeter that’s verified of safety rather than working with one that isn’t, right?
Considering that this multimeter is mainly meant for basic home use, it is CAT III safety rated. With such a rating on any multimeter, it will be completely safe for you to use it in measuring high voltages without any risk of damaging it.
The CAT III rated multimeters simply qualify for use when troubleshooting problems with the building’s mains which is also the case in the fluke 101. Nonetheless, you should do the testing with utmost caution to prevent any risk of electrical shock.
By meeting the IEC61010-1 CAT III standard, not only will you be able to test a wide range of appliances, but you’ll at the same time be safe- get to protect both the meter and yourself.
Inside Fluke 101
One thing that dictates how conveniently you get to use your multimeter is the nature of the display. After all, there’s no point in getting a multimeter if you’ll be having troubles taking the readings, is there?
Regarding its size, the screen to body ratio is quite larger than you would expect as compared to other multimeters. This makes it ideal to use without squinting or straining. One downside to the display, however, is that there is no backlight on it.
Whereas on the screen you can be able to see all the relevant icons, the lack of a backlit feature makes it quite difficult to use the fluke 101 in dim light conditions.
Outstanding 6000 counts
Besides just a large display, the fact that this multimeter is one of the few 6000 count multimeters in its class. This makes it possible to take a wide range of readings since the largest possible reading on this multimeter is 5999 units.
As for the refresh rate, it’s reasonably quick. Considering it is sometimes annoying to wait for a few seconds before you’ll be able to take your reading.
A low battery indicator
The Fluke 101 is not just all about a large display and an outstanding count- one of the icons on the LCD is the low battery indicator. Well, it's not every day that you get a heads up on when to get a new set of batteries for your multimeter, is it?
With this feature incorporated on the meter, you’ll know when to get a backup pair.
In order to test whether or not your display is working correctly, there is the hold button. You can press this down when powering on the multimeter and you’ll be able to see all the displayable functions on the LCD display.
Data hold function.
Other than just testing whether the LCD display is working correctly, the hold button can also be used to freeze the present displayed readings when need be.
All you have to do is press the button once and that’s it. In order to resume normal operations, press the button again.
When the data hold is triggered, the display does not change even upon measuring a different potential. We, therefore, strongly advice against measuring unknown potentials using the hold function since this could result in an electric shock.
An addition to spice up things- the smart strap.
The compact size of the fluke 101 is compact enough to carry around without these but even so, you can get a fluke smart strap with the multimeter to make it easier to carry it around.
This is, however, an optional choice to have come along with your multimeter. It’s sad that it is not included in the standard package i.e. the multimeter, test leads and a pair of AAA batteries installed.The fluke 101 kit, on the other hand, has got all the contents of the standard package with the addition of the smart strap.
Using the fluke 101
The most important thing about a digital multimeter is how much you can actually get to do with it. Let’s start off with voltage measurement
Measuring DC and AC voltage
This is one of the most important electrical measurements that a digital multimeter should be able to measure flawlessly. On the face of the fluke 101 are three dedicated stations for measuring voltage.
The first just next to the ‘off’ button is the AC station which you can also use to measure mains voltage. Right next to the AC station is the DC station and next to this is the Millivolt AC station.
Having in mind which voltage you want to measure, connect the test leads to the terminal marked V and the black one in the COM port.
Simply measure the voltage by touching the probes to the correct testing point on your circuit then read the value that is displayed.
Owing to the fact that this multimeter is CAT III, 600V rated, it can handle quite a huge amount of current which is a plus for you.
Besides voltage measurement, it’s also important that your multimeter of choice conveniently be able to measure resistance.
To get started on this, you first need to ensure the dial is set to the correct station i.e. one with the ohm symbol on it. One thing you should always remember before measuring resistance is to ensure there’s no power connected to the circuit to be measured.
There are only 2 banana jack inputs on the multimeter and no matter what you measure their connection should never be swapped. With the red jack in the ohm port and the other one in the COM terminal, you can measure the resistance by touching the probes to the points on the circuit you’d like to measure.
Testing for continuity
This is one of the easiest things you can do using a digital multimeter. Continuity simply verifies whether or not the circuit is complete.
The resistance mode and the continuity mode share the same station on the dial hence with the resistance mode selected, press the yellow button to switch to continuity.
Provided the resistance is less than 70 ohms, the beeper sounds continuously indicating a short circuit and if the display reads OL, then the circuit is open,
With the dial still at the resistance station, press the yellow button twice to activate the diode test mode. You’ll see the diode icon symbol on the display.
With the probes connected just as they were for resistance mode, connect the lead of the red probe to the anode and the black one to the cathode of the component under test.
Having the diodes correctly connected, read the forward bias display on the LCD. If the polarity of the leads is reversed with diode polarity, the display shows OL.
Turn the dial to the station right to the Ohm station, go ahead and touch the probes to the capacitor leads.
You’ll have to wait a while for the readings to stabilize after which you can then take the reading as displayed on the display.
Switch the dial to the Hz station then have the leads connected the same way you did with our previous measurements. Simply measure the frequency by touching the probes to the correct test points of your circuit and that's it, record your readings.
Measuring duty cycle.
With the rotary switch at the frequency mode, press the yellow button to switch to the duty cycle. Leave the probes connected as they were and then touch the probe tips to the correct test points of the circuit. Go ahead and read the percentage of duty cycle on the display
- Has got the auto power-off feature included which saves on battery power.
- The multimeter is small in size which makes portability quite easy.
- It’s got the autoranging feature- saves you the time it would take to set this and improves accuracy.
- The continuity beep may lag at times
Fluke 101 Specifications
|V AC (40-500Hz)||Range||600.0 mV|
|V DC||Range||6.000 V|
|Resistance Ohms||Range||400.0 Ω|
|Accuracy||0.5 %±3 digit|
0.5 %±2 digit
0.5 %±2 digit
0.5 %±2 digit
0.5 %±2 digit
(10 Hz – 100 kHz)
|Duty Cycle||Range||0.1 % to 99.9 %|
|CAT Rating||CAT III 600 V|
|V AC Range||600.0 V|
|V DC Range||600.0 V|
|Ohms Range||40.00 MΩ|
|Size||130 mm x 65 mm x 27mm |
|Operating Temperature||0 °C to +40 °C|
|Storage Temperature||-30 °C to +60 °C|
|Operating Humidity||Non condensing (<10 °C)|
<=90% RH (at 10 °C to 30 °C)
<=75% RH (at 30 °C to 40 °C)
|Operating Humidity, 40 MΩ||80% RH 10 °C to 30 °C, 70% RH 30 °C to 40 °C|
|Operating Altitude||2,000 meters|
|Storage Altitude||12,000 meters|
|IP Rating||IP 40 per IEC 60529|
|Vibration Requirements||MIL-PRF-28800F, Class 2|
|Drop Test Requirements||-10°C and 1 meter to surface, per IEC-61010-1, and Fluke SOP 39.1 for portable Hand-held equipment|
Shipping container drop per Fluke SOP 39.
|EMI, RFI, EMC||Must meet all applicable requirements in |
|Absorption/Corrosion||Per Fluke SOP 39.1|
|Temperature Coefficients||Add 0.1 x specified accuracy for each degree C above 28 °C or below 18 ºC|
Wrapping things up, we can definitely agree that the fluke 101 will definitely be worth the money. As an entry level multimeter, you can use it conveniently if you want something to get you started on electronics. Alternatively, you can get this as a backup pair to always carry along with you when need be.
Although there are some disadvantages to this multimeter, the positives greatly outweigh the setbacks it’s got with the backlight being the major one.
All in all, this is a multimeter that’s good for amateurs just as it is for the experienced users which is another reason you should get yourself one of these.