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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ITTSB Blog

BRYMEN BM189 Clamp meter  review – By the eye of the Industrial electrician.

By Kiriakos Triantafillou    June 20  © 2014

Part – 1 intro


Part – 2  An introduction to BM180 series


Part – 3 BM189 impressions as solo clamp meter


Part – 4 ITTSB Lab tests  


Part – 5 BM189 impressions as multimeter


Part – 6 LCD display / Slide switch selector / accessories / power consumption


Part – 7 other features / Non contact EF Detection / Data logging


Part – 8 ITTSB comments over the design & Conclusion

Part – 1: intro


New requirements and technological updates


The recently developed variable frequency drives (variable speed motors) forced the industry of Test and Measurement equipment to develop even faster meters.

The measurement update speed is now far more important specification, the new motors are capable to vary their speed in the blink of the eye, and all electrical parameter as volts, consumption, frequency, are varying too.


Old-times clamp meter, with just two times per second update rate, it is considered today as tool acceptable only for static load measurements.


The industrial electrician who mainly works with single-phase or three-phase motors, he was always forced to have above the average in quality clamp meter, the better ones always come with better update rate and improved robustness so to survive in the harsh environment of a factory.

Other considerations for tools which walk in a factory are their electrical safety factor, three-phase voltage and high currents are death traps that an electrician is facing in a daily base.   


The newly designed clamp meter for VFD inverters other than a higher update rate is also capable to measure accurately in a wider bandwidth of frequencies’ in the range of 50Hz – 400Hz.

For correct voltage measurements the new requirement is the multimeter to have the option for filtering harmonics above the 400Hz limit, so the volt measurement to be as more accurate as possible.


The third recent addition which makes the life of the field technician much easier is the ability of the meter to display on the LCD two parameters at the same time.

Volts + Frequency or Ampere + Frequency are now a new necessity, so with a single measurement to be aware of both parameters.  


Also at about 2008 the booming in solar energy industry caused a high demand even for AC/DC current measurements.

The very few choices as slim clamp on meters of that era, they were tremendously pricy, and the most important is that was designed mostly for automotive use = externally fragile.

   

My own story as consumer

In my own research in 2011 about purchasing one modern AC/DC clamp meter, I discovered that the best choice for my needs was this AC/DC clamp probe type which needed to be plugged with a multimeter or Oscilloscope.


Only these were having true high update rate, sensitivity for low current, accuracy and wide bandwidth for industrial applications and even for electronics.

The downside from a consumer level was again the price, the specific tool which was fitting in my needs was offered just by two vendors, and was priced at 400 Euro a piece.

And this was not all, one fast multimeter with high accuracy at mV range, and VFD filter, it should be purchased too, so this setup of tools to be able to deliver the maximum of it capabilities.

The long story in short is that such a setup comes in a price of 650 - 800 Euros as new.     


BRYMEN is about to change the market

In the beginning of 2012 BRYMEN Technology Corporation in Taiwan release the BM180 series which I will describe as smart made Hybrid clamp meter for industrial applications.   

The actual soul of this tool is a dedicated slim AC/DC clamp on meter, which also comes with the new AutoCheckTM feature which is one fully featured multimeter capable even for measuring electrolytic capacitors.

Among the strong points are AC Volts + Frequency, AC volts VFD filter + Frequency, and even temperature measurements by K-type thermocouple.



What is more surprising is the retail price of this package, which is what motivated me mostly so to contact BRYMEN for getting one sample for review.

BRYMEN responded positively in my invitation and I did receive the BM189 with the optional data logging Kit as I had requested.

Part – 2: An introduction to BM180 series (BM189)


BM180 series are products of a new generation of clamp meters.

Exterior slim design and low weight, LCD screen capable for dual parameters, slide switch selector, rich features, data logging, all these details translates that this product have been designed for electricians or engineers with special requirements.


The phrase as special requirements, it can also be interpreted as specific priorities and I will list few below.

a) How frequently this tool is going to be used?

b) Range of applications that you expect engaging today, or in the near future?  

c) Product dimensions and how much valuable space is occupying in your toolbox?


BRYMEN describes this series as Versatile, and will agree with this description too.

By simply counting the number of functions, any one will come down to the same conclusion.

Personally I did feel a huge attraction to BM189 clamp on meter, which I consider as most suited for an industrial electrician who is a person that steps in both worlds as electrical AC/DC measurement’s and in basic electronics too.


BM189 specifications sheet

AC & DC current measurements

Jaw opening 30mm

Dual numeric LCD display

Display: 3-5/6 digits 6000 counts. & 3-1/2 digits 1,999 counts for Hz

Polarity: Automatic

Update Rate: 5 per second nominal

True RMS


Basic Features:

Dedicated Volts mode

Temperature mode (K-type thermocouple)

AutoCheckTM auto mode and manual selection for Ohms, diode, continuity, capacitance


Special Features:

AutoCheckTM Volt AC/DC automatic selection & VFD-V & VFD-Hertz

Back lighted LCD, 5ms CREST-MAX Capture mode (Peak Hold),

Auto-ranging, Relative-Zero mode, Display Hold, EF-Detection (NCV),

Interface capabilities with PC computers


Operating Temperature: 0C to 40C

Altitude: Operating below 2000m

AC & DC+AC True RMS Transient Protection: 6.0kV (1.2/50s surge)

Overload Protections:

Clamp-on jaws: 600A rms continuous

Positive & COM Terminals (all other functions): 600VDC/VAC rms

Power Supply: 1.5V AAA Size battery X 2

Part – 3 BM189 impressions as solo clamp meter


BM189 as AC/DC clamp meter found to be a good performer over all, but there is some details which worth to be noted.


DCA Mode

In DC mode BM189 maintaining it fast sample rate all the way from 200mA up to 200A which I was capable to test.


Even in Inrush current measurement it is remarkably accurate, even by been compared directly with a multimeter (current shunt).

And in order to test that I did my tests by using as test bed one motor for windshield wipers.


Motorcycle / electrical system inspection

BM189 did a great job also when troubleshooting an electrical problem in my own motorcycle.

I did measured with easiness the cranking ampere of my battery when using the starter at 40A, and even measured the battery charging current with good accuracy.

My measurements were not a synthetic stress test.

I did have a true problem with my old rectifier (regulator), which I replaced it with a new, and compared the performance of the two.

Originally my problem was that charging current seemed higher than it should, which eventually it would decrease battery life, my suspicion was correct and the new regulator it did correct things back to normal.  



Uninterruptible Power Supply inspection

When replacing old batteries with new in a UPS, it is required the inspection of charging voltage and charging current.

And when I got my own AC/DC current probe this application was one of the top ones in my list.

BM189 did a great job here too, what matters the most is the higher charging current that must be in certain limits, in my case it was almost 600mA which is normal for the specific type of batteries.

BM189 are sensitive and accurate from 200mA and above, therefore when charging current is lower than 200mA BM189 can not do much, either way it is almost perfect even for small to medium sized UPS, as you may monitor the 60% of the charging cycle with it.



ACA Mode

In the ACA mode BM189 has Ampere parameter and frequency parameter both displayed by default.


In my tests BM189 showed different behavior in their update rate at 200mA - 60A range when measuring any load of 400W or below.

At this condition the current it is displayed but not the frequency, and the meter seems to need 2.3 to 3 seconds to stabilize it measurement after powering up the  load, as for example few incandescent bulbs.


After some more testing I did discovered that at about 506W load (2.3A) at 50Hz  the frequency counter it gets triggered and the meter starts working almost as expected.

Further testing shown that actually above the 3A mark this clamp meter become extremely fast by needing just one second to stabilize, and then it follows any changes in the measurement with out any hesitation.



BRYMEN it does mentioning in their specifications that Hz Line Level (Frequency Sensitivity) at Sine RMS is at 6A in the 60A range, and also that sensitivity decreases by 10% at 200Hz and up to 40% at 400Hz, and that frequency counter accuracy is at 0.1%+4d


By reading the specifications and the fine print, it is now become obvious that BM189 it can do it best only when measuring VFD motors of some specific wattage and above.

By my theoretical rough calculation which is based to BRYMEN requirements’, at 400Hz these 6A it should be 40% more so to balance the bandwidth loss of the frequency counter, and this leads in to 8.4A of current which at 220V is about 1848W.


Therefore the bare minimum wattage which a VFD motor should have at 220V so to meet the specifications of BM189 is the values below.


At 50Hz – 100Hz at 6A = 1320W

At 200Hz at 6A +10% = 6,6A = 1495W

At 400Hz at 6A+40% = 8.4A = 1848W



Even by making this small list above which demonstrates clearly the electrical requirements, and even by accepting the fact that technology is full of challenges which need to be overcome, what bothers me is the fact that BM189 when measuring current with out be able to measure frequency, it actual update rate is much slower than specified.


By walking away from VFD motors and inverters which is the most demanding application, I would say that in regular ACA measurements even bellow the 2.3A mark, the over all performance of BM189 it is far better than any clamp meter which belongs at the very economic price range.

My last experience with one of those before few months was devastating, the measurement was updating once every tree seconds, and looked more as a frog jumping around than a measurement with one electrical meter.




Regarding low current measurement’s there is out there one gadget called as AC Line Splitter and comes with two positions so to hook a current clamp on it.

The first position is named as 1X and the measurement is at 1:1,  but the second position (or hole) is at 10X and this works as multiplication of the input current by 10 times.


I have a regular electric fan in my room which is labeled as 50W 220V, by using the AC Line Splitter at 10X I was able to measure and verify the consumption of it in all three rotation speed presets, 190mA, 163mA, 149mA.

By this trick BM189 was measuring mA as to be Ampere and it accuracy was further improved.



   

Comparison of BM189 with an expensive clamp meter probe

BM189 managed to compete with the sample rate of my own AC/DC clamp probe only when was measuring anything above 3A.

My probe has 60A/600A DC ranges, and it sensitivity for current measurement’s starts from 200mA, therefore BM189 has similar theoretical specifications with it.


In my experiments the clamp probe showed balanced performance regarding sample rate in all it measuring range.

Above the 3A mark that BM189 does it best, it was able to compete with it but not wining the competition.

My probe + multimeter setup seemed 30% faster in sample rate, as in less than a second, I was had a stable measurement in the screen of the multimeter.   


I am aware that my setup as current probe & multimeter for such a measurement it is very advanced.

The probe has bandwidth up to 10 kHz, and Agilent U1273A multimeter has seven times per second sample rate, and also sensitive 30mV range/ scale function / dual mode of Ampere + Hz.


No, this comparison is not between apples with apples, but I am happy for BRYMEN in a way, their BM189 it did come close to my own measuring setup.

This proof of good performance translates that BM189 has the potentials to be an equivalent option as tool for demanding applications, which previously only my own expensive setup (clamp probe + DMM) was able to handle.  



The specific current clamp probe is originally designed for connection with an oscilloscope, by connecting it with my GW Instek GDS-2102A the description as quality of measurement it does get in to another level.

No sample rate limits, lots of computing power available which is capable to offer eight electrical parameters measured simultaneously, and much more.


After performing all those tests, now I feel like a student who graduated from the school of Current measurements.

Only after realizing of what its product solution is capable for, you can make a wise selection about the best one for your needs.

   

If I was asked to evaluate the performance of BM189 numerically, I would say that it gets seven stars from ten as max, when is compared with the ultimate portable setup currently available in ITTSB Blog lab.

  



BM189 behavior after powered up in ACA mode  

By powering up BM189 and by setting it in ACA mode I did notice something unusual, the last two digits looks to play up a bit for 23 seconds, and then all digits displaying a perfect zero as to were activating Relative-Zero mode just by it self.

I did repeat this test three times and in all of them after the same timing of 23 seconds all digits come to a perfect zero.


To be honest my experiences with clamp meters from other vendors is not that many, even so I do think this behavior of BM189 as unusual, from the other hand in my testing I did not see any difference by waiting 23 seconds or by using the clamp meter right away in the measurement.


BM189 behavior after powered up in DCA mode  

By powering up BM189 and by setting it in DCA mode, only the least significant digit it does play up a bit.

Even after activating Relative-Zero it can hardly stay as perfect zero.

Possibly this has to do with the behavior of the Hall Effect sensor.

Part – 4 ITTSB Lab tests  


1) High current testing

In order to become capable to test a clamp meter with higher Ampere I almost copied the exterior look of FLUKE 5500A Coil Calibrator.

And made my own (home made coil which is capable to multiply 1A AC or DC at about 29.4 times.

Therefore by having a current flow of 1A the clamp meter is measuring 29.4 A.

By increasing the input current (by using the current limiter of my bench top DC power supply) I did note down my findings by using 1A increments with the BM189.


1A = 29.4A

2A = 58.6A

3A = 87.7A

4A = 116.9 A

5A = 145.9

6A = 174.8


With 6.93A as input I did managed to see the 200A reading on the LCD, which is the 1/3 of the maximum range of this clamp meter.

With the offered DCA accuracy specification of 1.5%+8d, I would say that BM189 is very good for most applications.

Even my own clamp probe that worth three times more has 1.5% accuracy which is from the highest available in the world of DC clamp meters & clamp probes.


My Coil calibrator does 30X multiplication of the input current, therefore in less than a second I can manually vary the current in increments’ of 30A or more.

In this stress test even the performance of Auto-range found to be excellent, when ampere got more than 60A the involvement of Auto-range did not slow down the BM189 at all.



2) Very Low current DC testing

Just for the fun of it, I did made some extremely low current measurements, by using as test bed one battery powered wall light.

By this experiment I manage to verify that from 200mA and above BM189 is a work horse regarding accuracy.

At 50mA DC is insensitive, at 100mA it measures with 30% error, at 200mA is rock solid.

Part – 5 BM189 impressions as multimeter


BM189 Slide-switch Selector in detail:


BM189 Slide-switch Selector has four basic modes.

a) Volts measurement with auto range for AC+Frequency, or DC, or AC+DC.

The default mode is AC+Frequency, for switching among other modes as for example DC volts it must be made manually by pushing the mode button.


b) Clamp-on Current measurement’s for AC+Frequency, or DC, or AC+DC.    

c) Temperature measurement

f)  AutoCheckTM with options for: LoZ AC Volts, LoZ DC Volts, Ohms, continuity, diode, capacitance, and AC volts with active VFD filter.


LoZ indication is identical to Low-Z feature found in other meter, what Low-Z actually does is to add a small resistor load at the ACV range so to eliminate any ghost voltages, in this mode the impedance of the meter is much less than 10M Ohm.


The highest 10M Ohm impedance is available only due the dedicated AC volts mode (slide-switch position 1).

  

In my tests with LoZ in AutoCheckTM, the meter started loading the ACV line with 20mA and in few seconds it did stabilize to 7.3mA.

 



AutoCheckTM Mode / Auto-mode and Auto-range in detail


BM189 has a multimeter based in Auto-mode and Auto-range by default.

To be honest I did not liked in the beginning the Auto-mode function, mostly because there is one new requirement when using it.

The test probes must be firmly pushed over the contact points of the device under test.

If the contact between test probes and contact points is not good enough, Auto-mode engages over and over so to configure the meter successfully and this causes some delay about getting a measurement from it.


BRYMEN did a wise move by supplying with BM189 and their entire clamp meter series this BL20CTP test leads.

Its probe body is without over-molded rubber but its contact tip is made of stainless steel.

Stainless steel can increase the toughness and ductility of the tips making them sharp enough to stab into oxidized conductors as commonly found in CAT III and CAT IV areas.

They are more durable and are less apt to break for heavy duty use.


In my case in order to get from BM189 the feeling of comfort that I am getting by a regular multimeter, in AutoCheckTM function I was working only with manually selected mode.

And I would pass this suggestion to all as it is wiser to spent 3 seconds setting the meter up at the needed mode, especially if you have in mind to do component testing in to a bunch of resistors or capacitors.

Even continuity mode works lightning fast when is selected manually.



Over all performance

BM189 as multimeter showed the same fast response and speed as it did as clamp meter.

My quick tests regarding calibration performance did not show any problems.


By testing the ACV VFD mode by using both of my function generators, the analog Philips PM5134 (which is my favorite for varying quickly parameters due it analog controls) and also the TWINTEX TFG-3620E arbitrary waveform generator (which offers better control in setting specific parameters very accurately), BM189 clamp meter side by side with the larger BM869 multimeter, shown identical fast sampling rate, by both displaying simultaneously volts and frequency.

The VFD filter started to engage at about 700Hz (Harmonics depression) and it behavior was good as expected.

  

In all regular multimeter modes BM189 resembles to BRYMEN BM257 multimeter that were previously reviewed and found to be an exceptional meter for professional use for it size.


One significant surprise came from the BM189 at electrolytic capacitor measurement’s.

The pre-release specifications for this range was up to 2000 uF, and BRYMEN today specifies it at 3000 uF,  in my tests BM189 managed to measure up to 4500 uF, which is much higher than expected.

Part – 6 LCD display / Slide switch selector / accessories /power consumption



LCD display

Personally I did found the LCD display dimensions as good enough in most application’s.


Regarding viewing angle I will agree with one of my readers from France (refrigerators repairs specialist), that BM189 LCD it does have narrow viewing angle in vertical position.

For it horizontal viewing angle I would say that is quite acceptable.


Viewing angle evaluation is not as easy as some one could think.

The amount of ambient light is the first significant parameter also the height of the meter from our eyes is another significant parameter, and lastly the actual distance that we viewing the LCD screen is the last.   


In my workshop with regular fluorescent lights, I did not feel to be limited by BM189 LCD display, but the truth is that when BM189 is hanging vertically and is lower than your eyes level you are unable to see the measurement.


Therefore the best workaround that I have to suggest when working with machinery mounted on the floor or when there is very few ambient light, or when the measurement it must be performed inside of a very small metallic cabinet, is using the one-touch Hold button, which stores on the LCD screen your last measurement.

By removing the clamp meter from the hard to see spot, you may review your measurement and finish your work.


BM189 seems to have 30 degree viewing angle vertically and I would agree that 45 degree instead would be a much better option.

Horizontal viewing angle is very good, and is at about 45 degree to its side, or 90 degree in total.


The back-light of BM189 is powered by four orange LED, it stays on for 34 seconds after activation, the light is nor strong or dim, and it spreads evenly.

In other words, it is close to perfect.


     



Slide switch selector

I will assume that a wheel-type switch selector is far more preferable when clamp meter is your main tool in the field, mostly because your thump can do the entire work single handed.


BM189 comes with a slide switch, which is very acceptable as option for a slim clamp meter, in what I will disagree here with BRYMEN is the plastic cover over that switch which offers a very minimal grip and forces you to pay much more attention when selecting modes.

When BM189 came new, the slide switch seemed to be somewhat tough to move, after 50 uses or so, it did started working much smoother.

By been always very gentle when sliding it, my experience tells me that it would serve me nicely for many years ahead.


To any one asking if wheel type switch are better than a slide switch regarding durability, I would say that both will eventually fail in time.

And the highest chances are that everything that your thump can play with it freely, it will fall apart first.


 


Supplied accessories

BM189 arrived to ITTSB with:

a) BL20CTP test leads without over-molded rubber but its contact tip is made of stainless steel.

b) Soft case

c) Temperature probe / K-type thermocouple   

e) Printed User’s manual


At this point I will only nag regarding the soft case.

There is no thought at all about some sort of straps or rubber band which will hold the clamp meter attached to it.

The left side has a soft pocket as storage point for the thermocouple and the test leads, but the right side which is the storage space for the clamp meter is totally empty.


What I would like to see as improvement in the empty side is a bit of hard foam which will form one wall around the meter, in which the meter will fit as a glove inside it.

Or at list another soft pocket just for the clamp meter, in which also it will fit as a glove inside it.


Additionally I would recommend to BRYMEN to start offering as standard accessory one transparent screen protector to all their meters, and more specifically I would recommend the same material that FLUKE is using too, which is soft silicon.


I have form the opinion that the supplier of these clear windows that BRYMEN is using does not do a great job.

Their scratch resistant properties seem poor.

As long the new safety regulations forbidding the use of glass, and plastic can not be hardened enough, the addition of a silicon screen protector is a necessity.

When the meter arrives from the factory by having installed a screen protector in perfect dimensions for it, the company wins lots of appreciation, and the user feels more confidence.     

 



Power consumption

Selector switch pos 1 (volt mode / AC) = 4.1 mA

Selector switch pos 2 (clamp meter) = 12.8 mA

Selector switch pos 3 (Temperature / K type thermocouple) = 4.2 mA

Selector switch pos 4 = AutoCheckTM / multimeter:

a) Continuity mode = 4.9mA

b) Volt AC with VFD enabled = 5.6 mA

c) Ohms mode = 3.8 mA

Backlight-On adding 9 mA to any mode.


According to my measurements, the consumption in all modes by excluding the clamp meter mode, they are quite good.

My real problem is that BM189 is the first clamp meter that arrived to ITTSB for a product review and therefore I do not have any other comparison point.

Even so those 12.8 mA does not look as excessive battery use to me, not even by the use of Backlight which raises the total consumption to 21.7 mA.


By getting BM189 in my hands never use the supplied 1,5V alkaline batteries that came with it.

Instead I am using two of the latest rechargeable AAA NiMH 800mAh Max-e made by Ansmann.

After six months of use by a single charge, today they have 20% capacity on them and BM189 feels quite happy with them.


By making few additional tests to BM189 regarding battery management, I did confirmed that at 2.3V the Low battery indicator gets active, but at 2V the clamp meter actually shuts off by it self.

By those observations now I can say that BM189 when combined with (low self discharge) rechargeable batteries, it is a great combination.

Those 800mAh is a huge reservoir of energy even for the BM189, which in long term it would seem as cost effective too.  

Part – 7 other features / Non contact EF Detection / Data logging


Non contact EF Detection

EF Detection works quite well in BM189 even if I did found it sensitivity rather high.

For example when at the same area are many active cables EF detection could become a tricky task, but when our main interest is to discover active Mains in a single wall plug or a single cable, BM189 will do it job nicely.


In my tests with BM189 regarding Non contact EF Detection I did found it to work far better than in BM257 multimeter, my quick conclusion would be that the placement of EF sensor over the clamp meter jaws it does offer an extra advantage.


Data logging

BRYMEN added to BM180 series the feature of data logging, which I consider as extremely useful because it can expand the use of this clamp meter in several ways.


By default the BM189 comes with one back plate (batteries cover / test leads storage) in which the IR-USB module is not installed from the factory.


With BRUA-13X USB interface Kit, you get one additional back plate for the BM189 with onboard IR module & mini USB plug, additional cables and one USB to serial adapter and naturally the software CD.   

By hooking together all offered cables you have a workable length of 2 meters long, which is more than enough so to place safely your laptop near to the source that you need to monitor by data logging.


Also the one of the offered cables is standard USB printer cable which is anywhere available and in several lengths.  

BRYMEN data logging software is identical for all their meters, and by my opinion is good enough and very easy to use.




One additional benefit of this data logging KIT is that you may use your laptop screen as to be a remote display.

And this is a great idea when your measurement is about monitoring current or voltage for a period of time, especially when the measurement point is in an awkward position which restricts you from viewing the LCD screen on the meter.   


In the beginning of my review I did mention that I would prefer BM189 as second meter in my toolbox.

Now feel free to imagine the possibilities here, the BM189 to be in use so to data log Volts or Amperes, and your main multimeter to be free for other uses.

In such a scenario BM189 it does offer even additional flexibility if you accept buying the optional BRUA-13X USB interface Kit with it.

Part – 8 ITTSB comments over the design & Conclusion


In the past 15 years technology managed to shrink things down to unimaginable levels.

But when it comes down to hand held tools, their priority is to serve the user, therefore their dimensions can vary but not that much.


BM180 series is capable to measure up to 600A which leads in to a compact size regarding the external diameter of their jaws.

Jaw opening seems to vary in 180 series, 30mm for BM189 & 186 and at 26mm max for Models 181, 183, 185 & 188.


The body of this clamp meter is almost square, and regarding weight it is 240 grams with out test leads attached.


My thought is that BRYMEN did a very good work regarding the over all product design, today I can say with out hesitation that the specific BM189 from the BM180 series is the one that fits perfectly my needs as Industrial Maintenance Electrician.


In our decade most large factories using dedicated systems to monitor electric power, and even the additional distribution boxes they do have their own panel-type meters for volt and current.

Therefore today a typical AC clamp meter it has much less usability in such environments.  

BM189 is a modern AC/DC clamp meter which includes a fully featured multimeter inside it which has even VFD AC volts filtering.


At that point I would dare to say that BM189 made me personally to love back the clamp on meter design.

It speed in measuring AC/DC ampere is just remarkable, it sensitivity in low DC current is amazing.


About BM189 as multimeter, I did found it highly usable when worked with it in manual mode.


While AutoCheckTM seems like technological breakthrough, my opinion is that BM189 can do it best at electronics troubleshooting only when it works with out it.




In conclusion

  

BM180 series has six models to choose from, BM185 & 188 are specialized for measurements over HVAC flame sensors due their mA measuring range.

By a careful read of the products specification sheet, you will easily spot the one which fits in to your own very specific needs.


Positive Points of BM189:

1) Over all performance as AC/DC clamp on meter, speed, accuracy, sensitivity, very rich in features.

2) Slim design that fits in any size of tool box.

3) Well priced (roughly 130$ American)

4) Robust plastic body

5) High quality test leads

6) K-type thermocouple / standard option.

7) Data logging / Optional

 

Second thoughts:

a) Liquid Crystal Display viewing angle is not bad but not the best possible.

b) Soft case it should be considered more as in toolbox protection against impact with other tools, than a carrying case.

And I am saying this because with careless handling of the soft case, there is significant possibility the clamp meter to pop out and have a dive over the concrete floor.


c) Not drop-proof, not splats-proof.

d) Slide switch seems hard to move in the beginning, but operation improves after some use.

3) In ACA mode the highest sample rate seems to work at 2.5A and above.


   

I truly think that BRYMEN by their BM180 series it did demolished many myths of the past regarding what a slim clamp meter could offer to the end user.

As multimeter the pack of features is nothing less than a modern medium sized multimeter.


After reviewing this third BRYMEN product, I am now 100% convinced that BRYMEN by their own R&D resources it will continue to surprise us pleasantly and in the future.

Taiwan is a lucky country by having such strong industries as BRYMEN and GOOD WILL INSTEK, because both are significant sources of highly innovating test and measurement equipment.

Pictures gallery.

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