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Author Topic: History facts Tektronix DMM4050 & Fluke 8846A 6.5 digit warranty / repair 2019  (Read 1037 times)

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Online Kiriakos GR

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Today under the microscope of ITTSB Blog this is technology in use and whereabouts of Tektronix DMM 4050 & Fluke 8846A 6.5 digit benchtop multimeters (identical internally) .

For us which we use high-resolution multimeter in the sector of freelancer troubleshooter and not at somewhat of automated test system inside of R&D laboratory, we care for measuring detail which this will verify mostly accuracy specification of passive and active electronic components.

Nowadays low-cost voltage reference chips and precision resistors they are much more popular due their lower price in comparison with the past (10~15 years ago).

Therefore while pricing of precision electronic components this is constantly reduced from the other hand digital meters produced by the use of them still remaining highly priced.

The question which bothers me now is what our money actually buying when they pay for a Tektronix DMM 4050 or a Fluke 8846A 6.5 digit benchtop multimeters?
Most published specification this is 0.0025% accuracy for DC.

Both of these DMM history this is now known mostly by close inspection of their PCB and dates which their last software updates (firmware) where released.
Its not guesswork to say today that PCB design and electronic parts in use this is work of 2002, PCB mass production date this is 2004.
Product release date the year of 2005~6, last software update this was made at 2010, since then up to 2019 this is considered as finished product.

 
Tektronix DMM 4050 documentation does not deliver repair and service instructions.
Fluke 8846A documentation it does deliver repair and service instructions.

Because of high retail price both products did not gain wide acceptance, and if I am now writing these lines, this is because I am exploring both meters of what actually worth as used and out of warranty.
 
Tektronix among Fluke and Keithley they have now the same Boss, none of them over the years invested in European soil about having spare parts availability specifically for European consumers and market. 

While I do consider Fluke 8846A next big thing after Fluke 8842A, I am puzzled to deliver a positive vote, because no one ever reviewed this meter according my high standards and neither there is a safety net or promise for spare parts availability over time.
Neither in the market of used meters any wise consumer will accepts the fact that his purchase will be sort lived due poor or zero spare parts availability.     
We people working with electronics repairs and using multimeter, it is our job and nature about repairing things, therefore we always should make decisions by taking in mind the larger picture this including product performance and Repairability.

Industry producing bench-top multimeter it walks with extremely slow steps, even so I am now started worrying if different methods of A/D converter filtering will increase gap of comparison in a voltage reference between older and modern produced measuring instrument.

For example a Fluke 8842A within 2018 this measured my 10V voltage reference at 10.0001V, few weeks later a fresh calibrated Fluke 8846A this measured my voltage reference and it confirmed 180uV lower than 8842A, I did use Trimming Output Voltage circuit of LT1021-10 so to get nearer to 8846A cal at 10.00001 V.
 

While I do not hold all answers, I do consider year of 2019 as game changer, and I will advice people whom are also puzzled as I do, them to demonstrate patience.
The market of used meters always will be there if the near future does not deliver products tailored to our needs or if Newest Models they are offered at unreasonable pricing.
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Online Kiriakos GR

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Re: Fluke 8846A Everett, Washington. Press Release
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2019, 10:03:36 AM »
For the collectors of history facts  :)  I just discovered  last trace of Fluke 8846A  Press Release  ( at Google, this Fluke page this is now deleted / removed.)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New Fluke 8845A and 8846A Precision Digital Multimeters Combine ...


origin-www.fluke.com/fluke/.../press/New+Fluke+8845A+and+8846A+Precision+Digital...

Sep 11, 2006 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ...
The Fluke 8845A and 8846A have 14 measurement functions, extending the capability ... Everett, Washington.  Press Releases (page removed).. 


From the other hand, TEK press release this is still on-line, with date  October 5, 2009, and I have kept a copy.
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Online Kiriakos GR

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Tektronix DMM4050 DMM4040 Calibration cost in Europe by TEK EMEA 2/2019
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2019, 10:52:18 AM »
I am now officially Owner of a used DMM4050.  8)
While I am expecting delivery in Greece from Italy, I did pull Tektronix strings so to find out history logs about my DMM background, and I did.

It was bought first in Feb-2013 from TEK Europe.
Therefore up to date in 2019 this is just 6 years old hardware and I am very happy about that.   :)

Serial number verification was made due TEK UK, and later on they passed to me a suggestion about pricing quotation for a fresh CAL certificate.
I did accept receiving such quotation, now about me using the service or not ? this is a decision which I will consider in a later time.
   
 
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Online Kiriakos GR

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History facts Tektronix DMM4050 & Fluke 8846A hardware updates over time
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2019, 09:48:34 PM »
I just came across a fresh produced Certificate of Compliance of Fluke Corporation, this dated at 27-07-2016 for CSA (North America compliance).
Among the recorded Product Certification History list,  there is mentioned and even a few slight product design changes.  ;)

27-07-2016  Update report 1837899 (Fluke 8845A 8846A Tektronix DMM4040 DMM4050) to replace Thermometrics (brand)  PTC with Ampron PTC in critical components list. (CRR 2016-05 #2)

22-03-2013 Update Report 1837899 (8845A, 8846A, DMM4040, DMM4050) to change transformer manufacturer (split inspection factory).

26-06-2009 Update to Report 1837899 to include Models Tektronix DMM4040,Tektronix DMM4050.

02-08-2007 Bench DMM (C/US).  (8845A, 8846A )
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Online Kiriakos GR

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History facts Tektronix DMM4050 & Fluke 8846A latest Firmware 2019
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2019, 09:55:11 PM »
Today I got a response at Tektronix forum relative to Tektronix DMM 4050 (Fluke 8846A) latest Firmware.
Feel free checking attached picture.
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Online Kiriakos GR

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The fate of a Blogger this is to be the creator of entire of his content.  :)
No matter of how I searched on the web, I did no find a quality written comparison of ( HP, Agilent, Keysight,) 34401A VS Fluke 8846A (DMM4050 ).

Since today, here it is my own  ;)
Now I need to clarify that any serious buyer he should never use feelings but facts and the facts here screaming by them self's.
Even so, the true winner here it is not the 8846A but the DMM4050 because TEK followed a different path regarding  supported data-logging software.

I did more than eight months of market research, I did download and test any available software provided with 6 1/2 multimeter from all manufacturers.
My box this is Windows XP Pro 32bit,  T&M industry with headquarters in the USA, they receive first bad influence from Microsoft poor product planing and discontinued decisions.

The world of 6 1/2 multimeter this is a bitch, lots of hidden information, lots of small secrets, lots of imperfect products which they must be sold.
Any way, use my tips and do your own homework because in the end of the day, you might be luckier about settling down and be happy with less.
Ignorance is bliss especially for hobbyists, but not an option for us working professionally.
       
Soon I will find out of how close I got over my mark,  by percentage I get always close to 97 % success regarding expectations, if I got 100% then I was truly lucky, because nothing made by humans this is that perfect.  ;) 
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I am posting these pictures as informative material for our visitors.

Personally I am now in a celebrating mode. ;)
This is most famous DMM4050 at Google search for pictures results, ;D because Test S.r.l (this based in Perugia – Italy), this was having it listed for several months at their website and also at their eBay account.
I did contact directly Test S.r.l and we manage to close this sale at a much lower price, at about ¼ of the price if this were new with VAT.

This serial number was tracked by TEK Europe, factory calibration was made January 2013 and this sold February 2013 in Europe.
I got it February 2019, this is a six years old device, and now it age it is an added plus speaking of electronic components stability. 8)
As soon I got it out of the box here in Greece, this received special care and love among a few scratches removal.
Internal electronics inspection, banana plugs inspection, Front – Rear Inputs switch inspection, Dot matrix VFD inspection, and I did tested all it functions regarding measurements’ precision other than ACA.
First feature that amazed me, this is the Standard Deviation statistics, you can see the unseen when evaluating a DC voltage reference, or the output of a function generator up to 1.2 MHz in the rich resolutions of 6 ½ counts.
I have never see a multimeter measuring so fast a large capacitors (100.000 uF) neither this having so extended number of measuring ranges, unthinkably low burden voltage, and be a speed demon in every test.
Three VFD display brightness settings, Sleep mode this further preserving Dot matrix display life cycle, among with entire components selection be a marriage of made in USA and of Made in Japan parts and product design.
 
Not because now I own one but the soul of 8846A can not be compared at all with a 34401A or similar.
There are no apples to apples comparison here, because simply this 8846A simile to a digital camera made for a demanding professional photographer, and only such a person it can appreciates and pay for it features.
 
Generally speaking, it is understandable of why high-end equipment's they do not gain praise from vast majority of people, their pricing works as discouraging factor from be fully discovered even in the regard of products specifications’.

To clarify I will say that in recent years, there is lots of bad influence from specific people which promote them self’s a multimeter repairs Guru within internet, they do playing with voltage reference chips and fill people minds with garbage thoughts regarding multimeter Repairability as buying factor.

No they are not idiots, they are smart and they do fishing for other idiots so to use them as customers.
It is on the news that such DMM repairs Guru (with out email and physical address) they are unable to repair an 8846A and similar, yes this is not an FM radio made at past century. :P
Neither a hobbyist nor middle ranked in electronic repairs qualifying to do such repairs of their own.
Therefore the Repairability myth this is now busted by my own GREEK hammer.
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Online Kiriakos GR

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This is not a product review, but I am writing these lines so Truth to be restored.

Originally you are assuming that this is a 6 1/2 DMM,  then you are enjoying 7 1/2 resolution on screen,  few minutes later and if you do own quality voltage references ( many and not just one), you are discovering that this little beast it can measure (or sense) down to 1,5 micro-volt at SD field  (standard deviation = last digits repeatable fluctuation). 
1 micro-volt measurement this is a job for 8 1/2 multimeter and nothing less than that.  :)

After playing around with several data-logging software my fear came true  ;D ;D ;D (Check the attachment)
 
If this beast was equally stable compared to FLUKE 8508A regarding ppm stability, then this class of 6 1/2 digits DMM it would be our freshest metrologists class multimeter.  ;D

By completing today approximately 20 days of research (actual tests), I have to admit that my research regarding buying decision, this indeed helped me to steer in the correct direction, but the real thing this is more rich regarding expectations.
This is a true microscope for DC voltage measurements and comparisons.  8)
Resistance measurements are close enough to 7 1/2 HIOKI RM3542A (Both set at 10 Ohm range and then higher) for apples to apples comparison, with test samples at 0.005% tolerance.
The greater number of measuring range in every function, this is a invaluable if you care for precision.
I am now up to discover the last myth, this talking about that these multimeter has lowest burden voltage at current measurement on planet earth.  ;)

Now feel free asking your questions or add your own comments.
 
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This message aiming mostly software developers target group.

The information below this is shared notes of a Chinese person which did some experiments with Lab-View before nine years ago.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tektronix DMM4050 Programming Experience

Tektronix DMM4050 programming, use experience
Refer to the DMM4040 and DMM4050 Digital Multimeter Programmer Manual for
details .
The simple acquisition procedure is described in the document " Optimization
System Speed for I/O Operation " ( page 6 ).
##################################################
########################### #####################
*cls # This clears all error prior to initiating readings
Conf:volt:dc 0.1 # Set the DC range to manual and 100 mV.
Volt:dc:nplc 0.02 # Set the NPLC to faster reading rate 4 1/2 digits.
Zero:auto 0 # Turn Autozero off.
Trig:sour imm # Set immediate trigger.
Trig:del 0 # Set trigger delay to zero.
Trig:coun 1 # Set trigger count to one or specify a larger number.
Disoff off # Turn display off. This may slightly improve reading rate.
Syst:rem # Put the DMM4050 in remote. Only needed for RS-232 or Ethernet
#(required for READ? or MEAS?)
Samp:coun 100 # Set the sample count from 1 to 5000.

:INIT; *OPC? returns 1 indicating that the measurements have been taken and are ready to be transferred to the computer by using the :FETCH? command.

The network interface of the DMM4050 does not support automatic TX/RX polarity conversion.
Pay attention to the connection mode of the network cable.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Entire PDF with more details about this MAESURE.VI project it is available to download below. 
The document it is translated from Chinese to English due web translation, beware for syntax errors.   
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Online Kiriakos GR

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Using tools of the enemy so you to explore your own DMM, this increases further the FUN Factor  ;D ;D
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