Electrical test and measurement equipment reviews.

  Digital Multimeter, Clamp on meter, Oscilloscope, Electronic component testing tools, all measuring equipment for demanding applications of our times:  Switching or Uninterruptible power supply, PV Inverters, VFD motor controllers, industrial electronics repair & HVAC.

Written by Kiriakos A. Triantafillou, Industrial maintenance electrician, Hellas.

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Megger UK / AVO410 review – By the eye of the Industrial electrician.


 By Kiriakos Triantafillou ©2013   February 24 2013  

Intro


Part – 1 Basic specifications / accessories


Part - 2 AVO410 housing and build quality


Part - 3 Performance level in the ranges of:  Volts / Ohms / Capacitors / Ampere

Part – 4  Exploring the advanced features

Part – 5 AVO410  Build to last

Part - 6 Conclusions

Part – 1
Basic specifications / accessories



6000 count backlit digital display


True RMS reading on AC mode


1000 V DC / 750 V AC ranges


10 A AC / DC ranges


Resistance, frequency and capacitance ranges


CAT IV 600 V



Test leads
The test leads that came with this meter has silicon cable and have

GS38 compliant shrouded tips on the prods.

The specific design of cables is my favourite one due the fact that you can use the same cables with a variety of other 4mm banana compatible test probes (alligator clips) and even you can create an cable extension if needed.


Another convenience which those cables offer is that you can connect them directly to any shrouded female banana plug and especially on those new Mains plug adaptors with banana test points in the back.

While those cables has great build quality and even nice rubberized strain relief points at the cable exits, the 4mm banana it is more long than needed and this is a significant problem.

At any accidental fall (face down on concrete) those 4mm pins will absorb the impact and some of this mechanical energy will also transferred in the input jacks too.

It makes more sense to me those bananas to get all the way in (shrouded part), and the input jacks to be better protected.

A bit of further investigation regarding the banana jacks of this meter, shown that the length issue is not totally related to the test leads.   


I did many attempts to route the test leads cables around the body of the meter and to attach the probes at the back (Quick storage condition), it looks that the total length of those cables it is not properly calculated for such use.     


RS232 / Data logging

Even if the meter looks capable for an RS232 connection, by choice the Megger UK does not include or offer this cable and software in their product range.

I did one research among other brands which have similar products in their range and found only one of the four to supply the software and cable as standard.

Interestingly enough this data logging package is not offered anywhere as separate product.  

Part – 2
AVO410 housing and build quality

Probably this is the most significant advantage of the AVO410, and I do understand the difficulty of Megger UK about pointing out this strong advantage as marketing point due words or pictures.

You must to hold this meter in your hands so to feel and see by your own eyes how rugged it is.

For constructions electricians who gets in to unfinished buildings, and the working environment is full of cement dust and debris of bricks, plus open to any weather conditions, the AVO410 looks as the proper meter for the job regarding it own survival.

An common complain coming from electricians is that the non-rugged meters gets damaged mostly due their fragile construction, it is not uncommon even to step on your meter when it is forgotten on the floor when you work in to a narrow space.    

Naturally it is more common as accident an three meters fall in to concrete.

But the point is and always will be that in such hard environments the multimeter which is the most sensitive tool must be capable to withstand and survive in the same conditions that you do.

Soft buttons

They are made by hard rubber and I did like them allot, they protrude just as needed and even if you operate this meter by wearing gloves there is no problems at all.



LCD

The LCD is clear and bright but the size of digits is not that large as some marketing documents describing it.

The significant digits are clearly visible, but the other text as AC or DC or Ohms is rather small.

By testing the viewing angle I discovered the same limits which were found and in other meters which I have evaluated from Taiwanese manufacturers.

It looks clear to me that they use the same LCD supplier.

Those LCD offers a 75% satisfaction in my eyes, and naturally the LCD with even a wider viewing angle always will win more appreciation.


Regarding the resolution in counts, for some reason the auto range gets triggered even before the measurement get up to 6,000 counts.

In my tests the highest displayed voltage was 5.954 (5V) AC before the auto range switch in to a lower resolution (higher range).

At the manual range when the voltage got up to 5.955 (5V) AC the over range alarm become active (Fast Beeping sounds).

In simple words you can not see or read on this display the value of 6.000V (6V) AC in full resolution.

In the DC volts mode the meter in manual range were capable to measure up to 5.997 (5V) DC and the over range alarm sounded at 5.998 (5V)DC.   

    


Back-light 

The LCD back light is well implemented, the light comes from four green LED, and the light is well distributed from side to side.

The back light timer is very generous as it holds the light on for about 60 seconds.

 


Range switch

I liked allot the range switch on that meter, other than very simple in design but highly practical to use knob the inner mechanism locks nicely the range switch.

The general feeling after using the meter for some days, is that this range switch is nor stiff or very soft, and by my opinion is one of the best that I have see so far.


Auto Power off (APO)

I did made a test so to verify the specification in the user’s manual regarding the 10 Min APO, I hate the word approximately and so I measured 10 Min +3 seconds.

I am very satisfied by the presets regarding the back light timer and the APO timer.

The AVO410 managed to impress me also and by doing something that I was not expecting to see.

Its time that the APO mode gets activated (sleep mode) the meter keeps in it memory (Hold Mode) the last measurement that it took before it gets in to sleep mode.

By pressing any soft button so to wake up the meter, the multimeter will recover at the (Hold mode) with the last measurement stored.

You need to press ones the Hold button so to perform a new measurement.

I am considering this functionality as smart, some one else could consider this functionality as annoyance, either way this is what the in-depth evaluations are here for, so to offer an large amount of information’s as help for your final decisions.


The AVO410 it does have an APO disable mode, you should press simultaneously the top buttons (Min/Max + RS232 + Range) and to rotate the range switch at the range that you wish to use.

I did test that as power-up option and even after being powered up, the point is that there is no displayed information if the APO mode is disabled or not.

In my testing the APO it did turned off and even by swapping ranges it did stayed as disabled.  


  

PCB layout and inner construction

This inspection helped me to understand even more details about the culture behind this specific model.

The PCB is gold plated and one of the best that I have see regarding soldering and electronic parts selection.

Even the area around the HRC 10A fuse is well designed too.


About the housing (body) of this meter I would say that it managed to impress me.

The plastics are formed in such a way which makes clear the concept that this meter is made of, and this is the maximum offered protection against a serious electrical accident, caused by human error.



Yes I will agree too, that this meter is capable to survive even in industrial environments’,  the all package looks strong enough and the over all design is capable to withstand even high levels of humidity.

The rubber holster around it creates a second shield which adds more positive points regarding waterproofing.

I can not predict what it will happen if you throw this meter in a bucket full of water? But as long it holster remains intact from physical damage there is no chance for any liquids to get in it from the back or the sides of it.    


At the top side of the AVO410 there is the input for the data logging cable,

I would feel much better if Megger were capable to offer a rubber cover specifically made to shield this opening (hole), mainly as protection against dust.


Another detail that worth to be noted is that the exterior of this rubber holster is rather very flat for my taste as there is no prediction about perfect grip against greasy hands.

At industrial sites it is almost impossible to keep your hands away from contamination by lubricants.

Part – 4
AVO410 Exploring the advanced features


Min/Max

It does what it implies but it does not force the meter to operate in a faster sampling speed.

In my testing it looked as one simple recorder of Min and Max events.

It is naturally a handy feature to have and it does add some extra value in the AVO410.     


Hold Button

I am a trouble-shooter who lives in between of the worlds of electrical repairs and electronics, and in a way it is a common believe that the Hold button is partially useful but less appreciated than the touch-hold feature.

In the AVO410 the hold feature is cooperating even with the APO feature, and this is a proof that this meter has a better implemented Hold function which is manually and digitally controlled too.

Personally I do appreciate this dual functionality, because even if the meter gets in APO mode and sleep, by waking it up I get the last measurement by it, with out the need to connect it back even if the test leads have been disconnected.   

   


DC uA range (Low Current measurement)

In this mode I discovered one true limiting factor, and this is the impedance of the meter in this particular range, which is much higher than expected.

Those 3.8 K Ohms as impedance when the expected are to be near the 100 Ohm, managed to make impossible the measurement above the 2300 uA.

I did use my voltage / current source MICRO CAL 1030 (Time Electronics LTD UK) and even if it is capable to supply 10mA & 100mA and even in between values with fine adjustment, the bottom line is that even so it was incapable to supply with current an such an impedance.

I am not saying that the meter is bad or that this is a major issue, all that I am saying is that by be aware about the impedance you will make a better decision if this meter fits best in your application.    



Frequency measurements HZ

I could never imagine that this AVO410 comes with a so hyper sensitive frequency counter and with such extreme range up to 60 MHz.

The hyper sensitive comment goes naturally for the ability of this meter to measure frequency even if the input voltage is such low as few mV.

And at the same time this meter to be capable to be connected at 220V Mains or more volts with out the last action to create any risk for the meter it self.


Many cheap multimeter's comes with almost hidden the specification regarding the fact that they can measure frequency only up to 30V and not Mains.

Naturally if one professional electrician gets one of those, you can imagine that by connecting such meter to Mains it becomes a nice firework for the New Year celebration.

The AVO410 even by be a compact size meter it is designed to serve professionals, I was expecting to touch just another high quality meter by sending my invitation to Megger UK, and today I can confirm it too that this one is well made from top to bottom.


Some times I have the curiosity of a young child, and so I did use my 20 MHz function generator to the Max of it range, and the AVO410 measured 20.58 MHz.


Unfortunately I do own an Oscilloscope yet so to measure the output in mV of my generator when it works that high.

But this obstacle I will overcome it soon, thanks to the ongoing attempts for assistance from people who appreciate the ITTSB.

Part - 3

Performance level in the ranges of:  Volts / Ohms / Capacitors / Ampere.  

AC Volts & DC volts

The AVO410 passed successfully all my basic tests regarding accuracy at AC and DC volts, for a meter with a display resolution of 6,000 counts it did perform nicely.

The measuring speed is the only grey point, this 1.5 times per second is rather slow for my taste.

This meter is capable to measure volts coming from stable sources, but for troubleshooting regarding rapid voltage changes over time it is not recommended.

For such demanding tasks the meters with a measuring speed of four times per second or faster are more suitable.


Regarding True RMS I did run some tests so to find the bandwidth of this meter by measuring a known voltage value and by ramping up the frequency of my function generator.

Results:

Sinusoidal up to 3 KHz

Triangular up to 4 KHz

Square wave up to 1 KHz



Ohms range

By testing the Ohms range I did the discovery that meter works much faster in there, the auto range works very fast, the measurement does not take more than a second.   


Continuity mode

The beeper is latched and there is no scratchy sounds coming from it.

About the response time by crossing you test leads I would say that it is acceptable for professional use if you do not need to play music with this multimeter.  

The beeper gets active from 0 Ohm up to 450 Ohm (cut off at 451 Ohm).

Regarding the sound level of the speaker it is good enough.

My general impression from the continuity mode is positive.      



Capacitance measurements

The AVO410 it did performed well and in this test too.

It has a discharge indicator which is nice as feature, the final measurement it takes a reasonable time of few seconds and regarding accuracy there is no complains.

The only practical limit is the 6.000uF as highest measured capacity.

I did measure with it about 20 capacitors including a motor start capacitor and one 3800uF electrolytic, which were all of them discharged.

As expected from a meter with 6,000 counts the best display resolution is at the range of 1 to 6000 nF (6uF).   

I did try to measure and find the actual test frequency of the AVO410 which is using for capacity measurements, but I could not measure it.

I will speculate that is around 5Hz due the fact that in some measurements of capacitors at the size of 2,2uF the AVO410 was more generous by 200uF that my other meters which have a bit higher test frequency.

My recent evaluation of two professional grade portable LCR meters, it did awake me about the importance of the test frequency among other things.     


AC / DC Current measurements

In both AC & DC ranges the AVO410 measured relatively fast and very accurately in every of my tests.

Especially in the DC range at my tests of 10mA and 100mA the meter was spot on up to the last count.

Part – 5

AVO410– Build to last

Few months back I was participate in one web seminar of FLUKE regarding multimeter accuracy and calibration, and I did asked one question to them about what is their opinion about the modern build meters in which the surface mount technology replaced the throw hole manufacturing.

The actual question was:  What we should be awaiting from this change as consumers (Possibly, a longer life expectancy of those products?).


The answer that I got looked partially clear to me, the SMT manufacturing helps the products to be less prone to damage by vibrations, but the expected stability of their inner components it can not be actually compared with the throw hole components (which have larger dimensions and different thermal properties).

Their last words were that the SMT is a good compromise.


By monitoring the electronic spare parts market even as simple consumer, I have realised the latest huge problem which is the circulation of fake electronics components.

Can you imagine that one reliable brand name will ever use such components so to manufacture reliable T&M instruments?   


I am mentioning those facts mostly because it is in my intentions to motivate my readers to think twice when the price point becomes the only factor which influences our opinion in the question, which meter to get?


The AVO410 even as product which comes from cooperation, it is stamped with the brand name of Megger which is a company with a highly respectable name and this is the best warranty that some could ask or expect.


Naturally the fellow electricians in England they have and one additional motive about choosing Megger products, they get reliability plus instant support by the well organized structure of the company.  


I am not used to play with words so to write compliments for brand names with out a good reason.

All the previously evaluated meters at the ITTSB comes from brands which have in their corporate title the words electrical instruments LTD or similar.

It has a greater value for all electricians the products that you get or buy to be designed from electrician’s engineers who have knowledge and experience of what really serves best in our daily routine.


The AVO410 even by not be the most advanced in features meter, it is build for electricians and this is the reason that it did not managed to disappoint me, especially in the technical features of high significance.

Part - 6 Conclusions


My final words about the AVO410 are that this simple looking meter is an extremely matured product which does not hide any nasty surprises regarding it functionality.


Looks and is a simple to use meter plus highly robust, regarding features the basic ones is what the residential electrician will ever need.

It is not a pocket size meter but it’s not huge either and it can fit in every toolbox.

The product is extremely rugged and electrically safe a true 600V CAT IV meter.

It can become the perfect choice for trainee’s electricians and travel-light experienced electricians too.

 

The only annoyance that I have spotted is the design or the holster (rear side).

The tilt bail design is almost acceptable.

The holster has a special hanging point (hook or nail) which needs a further improvement due the fact that the plastic body of the meter could possibly come in direct contact with hard objects.    

  

It is not a usual tactic of my to do comments regarding the price point,

But I did spotted a huge fluctuation regarding the pricing of the AVO410 in Europe and also in USA.

With a fluctuation from 130$ American up to 230 Euros I believe that this is a bit confusing and causes mixed feelings.


The AVO410 it is an appealing choice as highly ragged meter and safe with CAT IV 600V.

Plus good battery life, compact size, top quality test leads, holster which acts as side and rear shield against water penetration, plus all the basic features regarding electrical measurements.  

 

It is a true personal honour to be the first who wrote a review about the AVO410.
This is another one of the few and truly worthy technical & educational experiences in a lifetime.
Thank you Megger UK


KIRIAKOS TRIANTAFILLOU
GREECE

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Pictures gallery.

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Intro:

In October 4, 2012 I did a web search about Megger and I discovered their website and their page on Facebook.

Everything started by reading a forum topic about the old AVO multimeter's, and some one asked the question if AVO ever produced a digital multimeter?

The above question became my motive so to start my search.


What I discovered other than the AVO410 is the modern look of the Megger, which is not just a distributor of T&M products.

The company is very active about organizing seminars and presentations of their latest Electricians' Testers & industrial testers plus their PAT testing gear.

In a way the company looks totally focused in their latest multi testers, and by this choice their basic instruments (multimeter's) does not look as cutting edge solutions regarding features.


The old AVO analog multimeter has a long history but they become known only in some places of our world, but even so nowadays

they belong to the far past.


The Megger AVO410 is a totally different product and it is part of our times.

Those days the global cooperation is not something unusual, and this explain the why by opening the carton box the multimeter it said “Good morning” by a Taiwanese accent.   


My time spent on those product evaluations and the endless search over the Internet about multimeter manufactures, transformed me in to an expert regarding products identification.

The AVO410 comes from the cooperation of Megger with the Taiwanese APPA ODM manufacturer, and the multimeter is actually manufactured in compliance with the high quality standards set by Megger UK.


My first impression by opening the box was very positive, the multimeter other than looking beautiful (color selection), comes with a classic designed and friendly in the eye LCD, and also with a well designed range switch.

It has a compact size but is far from being called as pocket size multimeter.


By it design and features this multimeter has as main target group the residential electrician, even so it comes with high quality

housing and fused with 10A HRC fuse. Definably it can stand even in industrial environments due it durable construction.

The only gray point about it performance are the measurements per second at the volts range, with 1.5 times/S is not capable

to win a trophy.

Even so in measurements other than volts the meter performs much faster, the retail pricing of it is rather high in my eyes especially

in Europe.


The AVO410 comes with a high level of ruggedness which makes it to look as one mini FLUKE 28II but with out any IP ratting

(dust proof / water proof).

     


I like to thanks Megger UK and Mr. Julian Grant / UK & International Sales Manager at Megger Limited, for their decision to send this sample for evaluation.

Even prior writing this evaluation Megger managed to impress me by their well organized communications department and their professionalism and speed in their emails.  

And this professionalism and speed regarding communications extends even to their local distributors of Megger, the local MERCURY S. A and Mr. John Papagianis is no exception.

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