INNOVA 3340 – Automotive Digital Multimeter Review
All things considered, a digital multimeter is arguably the most important tool when it comes to electrical maintenance. As a matter of fact, you would be doing yourself a great deal of injustice if you’d settle for carrying out electrical maintenance without using a multimeter.
A quick search on the internet for the best digital multimeter will give you a lot of feedback. This, however, does not mean that you ought to go for just any multimeter since the market is flooded with a lot of substandard products. This makes it quite hard to get exactly what you’re looking for.
Not to worry, however, because today, we'll be taking a look at the Innova 3340. This is a multimeter like no other- from the design and build quality to the specifications and the much it can handle, the Innova 3340 might just be what you are looking for.
Enough with the introduction already, it's time to move on to today's main event- the Innova 3340 digital multimeter review.
INNOVA 3340 Automotive Digital Multimeter 2018 Review.
For the Innova 3340, there is more to other than just a unique and compact design. Let’s take a look at some of the things you’ll be getting starting with the first impression, shall we?
The Innova 3340 first impression.
Out of the box, you'll obviously be getting the multimeter and the two test probes. The multimeter, like most of the other multimeters in its class, has got the banana input jacks at the front face. What makes the Innova 3340 stand out of the crowd, however, is the fact that it comes with four of these rather than the standard 2 or 3 input jacks.
The dial is on the front face just as it is expected for any digital multimeter. All around the dial are measuring stations each of which, I presume will come in handy in their own unique way.
The multimeter does have probe holders on the sides. And one each corner, there is a protective rubber guard which will work as expected as far as drop protection is concerned.
The display is large and just below it is four buttons; two on the extreme right and two on the extreme left. We'll know what each of these does in a short while.
The design and build quality.
It’s no good having a good performing multimeter if the build quality is inferior, right? Well, justin case you were wondering, the outside of the Innova 3340 is just as good as the inside.
Though it does not cover the multimeter all the way, each corner has got a protective rubbering. This feels sturdy to the touch and truth be told, I think it will be enough to protect the multimeter from any imminent damage just in case you accidentally drop it.
At the side of the protective rubbers at the top of the multimeter are probe holders. This is a new innovation in multimeters and even though they are not that strong, they will come in handy quite well when you want to free up one hand while using your multimeter.
Having the probe holders will also serve you well as far as protecting the probes from any potential damage is concerned.
The dial is firm and around it are 16 input selector stations including the two on and off positions. It’s not flimsy and considering this is an autoranging multimeter, you won’t have to turn it a lot which could weaken it with time. at the same time, as much as the dial is durable, it’s ergonomic placement and design on the multimeter makes it easy to operate.
One of the most annoying things one could face when using a digital multimeter is having to take out the whole back panel so as to make a battery replacement.
Whereas this may be a nag in other multimeters, it is not the case for the Innova 3340. This is so because it’s got a separate battery panel via which you can easily be able to access the batteries.
Even though a lot of multimeters today have got function buttons on them, this multimeter has got a little bit more than just the hold button. Let’s take a look at each of them and how they’ll come in handy, shall we?
SEL-starting from the extreme right, we have the ‘Sel’ button. It’s unique from the other buttons since it’s colored blue rather than black. The ‘Sel’ button comes in handy when you want to switch betweenresistance, continuity, diode check as well as when you want to check the AC and DC milliamperage ranges and clamp current.
CYL:this comes in handy when you set the multimeter to dwell range or rather RPM.
HOLD: as far as digital multimeters are concerned; the data hold feature happens to be one of the best. when taking your measurements, the need to maintain a given set of values may arise. In this case, you’ll need to utilize the data hold function. All you’ve got to do is press down the hold button and the multimeter locks the current readings on the screen. Even when you take different measurements, the values locked on will not change unless you press the hold button again.
MAX/MIN button: here’s something you’ll not get in most multimeters. In some cases, it is necessary to store your recorded readings. Whereas you could keep track of these using a notebook and a piece of paper, that could be rather tiresome not to mention you could easily lose your data. So as to make things easier for you, Innova has included the MAX/MIN button which you could use to record your extreme values. If you have a new maximum or minimum value, all you have to do is press the button to over-write the currently recorded value and you’re good to go.
Now here’s something interesting. The auto-ranging feature is one of the most sought-after properties by both expert electricians as well as beginners. As a matter of fact, not having this feature ona digital multimeter is somewhat a deal breaker.
For the Innova 3340, the autoranging feature is included which makes it easier for you to take your desired measurement.
Provided you know which unit you want to measure, all you’ve got to do is switch to it using the ‘SEL’ button to switch to it and then go ahead and take the measurement. Unlike the manual ranging multimeters where you need to go through the hassle of knowing the correct range, this one does all the hard work for you.
Both as an entry level multimeter or an expert level, it will definitely do you justice.
Auto shut off feature.
In order to be rated as 2018’s best, the digital multimeter needs to have the best power saving capabilities.
Most of the time when we are done troubleshooting our electrical appliances, we tend to forget to turn off the multimeter. If the meter is left on for a few days, it may easily drain all the battery power which may inconvenience you greatly.
Other than just inconveniences, you’ll have wasted a lot of energy not to mention that you obviously will have to go get another pair.
The best way you can get to conserve as much power as possible on a digital multimeter is going for one that’s got the power saving mode. Even though this feature has been adopted by most manufacturers over the past few years, you and I can definitely agree that it still is worth pointing out.
The Innova 3340’s auto shut-off feature is triggered after 10 minutes just in case you leave the multimeter sitting idle. As a result, this not only extends the battery life but the life of the multimeter as well.
Definitely the best automotive multimeter.
Most digital multimeters can be used for basic automotive maintenance. Whereas other multimeters can handle basic automotive maintenance such as battery check, this multimeter is designed to carry out most automotive troubleshooting.
Out of the box, you’ll be getting a temperature probe. With this, you can easily be able to measure temperature both in Celsius and Fahrenheit.
Besides just taking care of the battery check and measuring temperatures in both degrees and Fahrenheit, the multimeter does come with a clamp included. This makes it possible for you to check the ignition cables hands-free.
Other than just being ideal when it comes to troubleshooting your household electrical appliances and automotive appliances, it’s important that you be comfortable working with it as well.
Kickstand for hands-free usage.
At the back of the Innova 3340, there’s a kickstand included.It’s not a feature that you’ll get in most multimeters which makes the Innova 3340 a choice worth your money.
If you’ll be recording a lot of values, all you’ve got to do is pop this open and that’s it, you can use both probes without laying your hands on the meter.
Another added advantage of using the kickstand is that you won’t have to hold the multimeter up in order to take your readings.
Besides just the kickstand at the rear, something else that will make using this multimeter a walk in the park is the wrist strap at the rear.
With the wrist straps at the back of the Innova 3340, you'll not only be able to use it hands-free but at the same time reduce the odds of dropping it. This, backed up with the kickstand make the Innova 3340 the ultimate multimeter for use for the domestic, automotive and industrial application.
There’s a nylon pouch included.
Something else that adds to the convenience of using this multimeter is the nylon pouch that comes with it.
Whereas the wrist strap and the kick-stand make it ideal for you to use this multimeter hands-free, the nylon pouch makes its storage easier hence protecting it from damage. Besides this, the pouch also serves to carry the multimeter easily.
It won’t be any good if you’ll not be able to clearly see it, don’t you agree? The first impression for the Innova 3340 is that the display is quite large.
When powered on, the first thing you’ll notice is that the digits displayed are quite large. The LCD display on the Innova 3340 is a standard 3 ¾ or rather a 4000-count display. One thing that swept me off my feet is the clarity on this device.
Something else that also caught my eye is the symbols present. There’s the low battery, AC/DC volts, current, ohms, degrees etc. each f these let you know what you’re measuring just in case you happen to turn the dial to the wrong station.
How much can you be able to do with the Innova 3340?
AC/DC voltage measurement.
For this, you’ll need the black lead in the COM port and the red one in the jack marked ‘V’, set the dial to the appropriate station i.e. ACV or DCV. Connect the probes in parallel to the circuit then go ahead and take your measurement.
For this, you’ll need the black probe in the jack with the ohm symbol and the black in the COM jack. Set the dial to the ohm position and then press the selector button, as necessary till the auto-icon is displayed. Polarity does not matter in resistance and any probe can go at either end of the resistor. Go ahead and record the measurements as displayed.
For diode test, the black probe goes into the COM jack whereas the red one goes into the diode jack (symbolized by an arrow with a verticalline at the pointed end). Have the probes on either side the read the displayed results.
Reverse the leads and again read the results. Upon comparing the readings, one should indicate a voltage drop and the other an over range (OL) condition.
Being the most basic of tests, you’ll need the red probe in the jack with the continuity symbol (should look somewhat like sound waves) and the black in the COM port. Switch the selector to the position with a similar symbol then press the SEL button till the continuity icon is displayed. Place the leads on either end of the component being tested and listen for the beeper.
It will only sound if the continuity of the item is less than 120 ohms
The red jack should go in the ‘Hz’ jack of the tester and the black one in the COM jack. Switch the selector to the Hz position.
Have the red test lead on the signal output wire of the sensor circuit and the black should go on the chassis ground wire- the vehicle's manual should help you find this-. Go ahead and read the display.
Duty cycle measurement
With the red test lead in the jack and the black one in the COM jack. Set the selector to the DUTY% position. Have the red test lead onto the signal wire of the circuit or sensor under test and the black test goes on the chassis ground then read the displayed measurement
The red test lead should go into the ‘ms’ jack and the black one remains in the COM port as usual. Have the red lead in the signal input wire and the black on a good chassis ground; you should ensure the selector is in the ‘ms' position while doing all of this
This requires the use of an optional ‘K-type’ thermocouple. Have the positive lead of the thermocouple into the °C / °F jack and the negative lead in the ‘15A’ jack.
Set the function selector switch to the °C or °F position then read the displayed results.
Clamp current measurement
Have the red lead from the clamp adapter go into the jack of the tester and have the black one plugged into in the ‘COM’ jack.
Set the selector dial to the position and then clamp the clamp adapter around the wire from the source or load under measurement. Having done so, go ahead and read the displayed results.
AC/DC current measurement
With the red test lead into the or the ‘15A’ jack of the multimeter and the black lead in the COM jack. Use the SEL button to choose between DC amps and AC amps. For current below 400mA, use the position and from 400mA to 15A, turn the selector to the ‘15A’ position
Disconnect any power to the circuit and have the leads connected in series to the circuit; reconnect the power and read the displayed results.
Dwell angle measurement.
Plug the red test lead into the jack of the tester and have the black probe go into the ‘COM' jack. Place the red test leads to the breaker points or the ‘- ‘terminal of the ignition coil and the black one should go on the Ground terminal of the battery.
Turn the selector to the position and press the CYL button as necessary till you have the correct number of cylinders of the vehicle under test is shown on the display. Start the engine and read the values displayed.
- Autoranging capability- utmost accuracy and also saves on the time taken to make your recordings.
- Has got a kickstand and wrist strap for hands-free usage.
- The auto power off feature saves on battery power.
- Though the display is awesome, the screen isn’t backlit making it difficult to use in dim light
From all that we’ve seen about the Innova 3340, it may just be the best multimeter for both automotive and electrical maintenance. Proving to be efficient for both an expert and a beginner-level user, I advise that you get a hold of it as soon as possible.
As much as it is an outstanding choice, it’s important that you pay heed to the precautionary measures just to be safe.
All in all, the Innova 3340 is quite a bargain. From the display to the performance, I think that it’ll give you the biggest bang for your buck. All in all, it’s also important to consider your priorities before making your purchase- you deserve the best.