Author Topic: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review  (Read 14174 times)

SeanB

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Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« on: November 27, 2012, 11:22:26 AM »
I was at Voltex buying a replacement relay when I saw the display from Toptronics. Inside withy the nice and expensive tool kits were the multimeters, and hiding at the back were these. Rebadged Mastech unit, the newer ones are a Brymen cobranded unit. Had a moment of weakness, and did a little haggling and bought this one. R920 incl VAT, down from the R1000 they wanted.

Nice little meter, has the usual voltage and current ranges, as well as temperature and capacitance. Additional features are Humidity, decibels and Lux, nice to have a meter with these features ( after having seen Dave with his lovely light meter) and overall it is a nice enough meter.

The box has been in the display for a while, as it has faded a little from the inside light ( 18W T8 flourescent lamp) but still is nice looking.

Inside it is a nice enough meter, but no way will it meet the CATIII rating it has, especially with the glass fuse in it. Not a worry, it is mostly aimed for use for the additional ranges, as well as the 4000 count autoranging for low voltage reading. Enough calibration pots there to use, and there is a nice enough calibration guide online which i have printed to a PDF if needed.

Reading light from the desk lamp, just to see how, 2 ranges, 0 to 40000 lux, and nice enough. Sensor is a small silicon photodiode on top under a diffuser cover, with a IR filter front glass.

Checked voltage accuracy with my 10.000v reference , seems to be good enough. Used the relative button to zero it, and then reversed the voltage source to get a -20.00V reading. Remove relative and it dropped to -10.00V There is a very slight bias to positive, as the meter will not flicker around +-0.00V with the leads shorted. Probably around 0.3 LSB offset to get a solid non negative zero point.

Accessories with it are a nice carry case ( big with room for a lot more than just the meter, has a short carry strap as well as a shoulder strap), a set of nice Mastech CATIII probes ( a little scratchy on continuity, they need cleaning and polishing up a little), a rather poor thpe K thermocouple and the manual. In the meter is a 9V battery pre installed, with a very nice battery holder mechanism.

As to use the meter is nice and responsive, updating at over 2 times a second. The voltage ranges are functional, and will give frequency as well for AC voltage and duty cycle as well. Temperature is close enough for a type K, and has 2 ranges, one with 1C resolution and the other with 0.1C resolution up to 400C. Never going to be accurate over full range, unless calibrated properly and even then will still be non linear, but good enough for most applications.

Capacitance range can best be described as usable, but it takes a long time to autorange ( no manual ranging in this mode) and takes 30s to give a reading with a capacitor over 100uF, with a 200uF max. Usable in a pinch, but only filling a feature point.

Resistance works well enough, scratchy beeper and everything, but is fast and non latched ( tried Martin's method and it is definitely scratchy probes, but usable nonetheless) and autoranges fast enough. Rel works as well, to null oyut probe resistance at the low end.

Nice is the white LED display illumination, bright and very usable, though it fades out and switches off after around 10 seconds, but is quite useful. The case is held together by 2 self tapping screws at the bottom, and a clip at the top. You have to remove the case to change the 9V battery, or to change the fuse. A minor drawback.

The blue rubberised case has a deep lip all round, but this would not be nice to hold if it was to be subjected to the IEC61010-1 test, as it has a 600V class III rating. PTC on the voltage input, and a 500mA glass fuse on the mA input, but the 10A range is unfused.

Still a nice enough meter for what it costs, and will do most of the functions on the spec sheet adequately.

Nice to have would have been TRMS capacity, better fuses and a 10A range fuse, along with better input protection.

retiredcaps

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2012, 06:21:47 PM »
Martin has one of these.  He briefly talks about it

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC_Qhmj8XDc

retiredcaps

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2012, 06:25:25 PM »
Great review and pictures.  Thanks for sharing.  I'm interested in any review of any multimeter.

I'm surprised stores in South Africa haggle?

SeanB

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2012, 11:29:07 PM »
Retail stores no, but go to many wholesalers where you have been regular, or most industrial suppliers, along with many small retailers ( and some not so smalll ones) and often you can negotiate.

It all depends on how much discretion the owners give the sales staff.

Kiriakos GR

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2012, 12:05:35 AM »
Probably I got lost with the conversion  750 R = 65 EUR or 97 USD.
This meter does not look to worth this amount of money.   
From the look of the inner parts, I can say that it belongs at 16 to 25 USD price range. 

SeanB

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2012, 10:45:19 AM »
Not EU, here the supply chain can be very long, with all adding a mark up to the price. Not intending to use this for high energy, more for the other functions, and for when I need the extra counts. Why do you think I haggled over price, I also think it is a little expensive, but still, it is good enough for the purposes I want it for, SPL and LUX, which I have no means to measure up till now. As to the humidity sensor, I am well aware of how much spread there is in both accuracy and linearity of these sensors, and this one is good enough as a rough guide to dry, wet or very wet.

Fennec

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2012, 01:53:23 PM »
From the look of the inner parts, I can say that it belongs at 16 to 25 USD price range.

Yepp. Maybe 3 bucks more for all this pots.

Can it also make coffee and fetch beer from the basement? No ? Then it is not good enough for this price.
At the first look, you can already see, this "thing" was built for the trash can. Sry, but it is. Look at the shunt adjustment, the fuse between the voltage input jacks and the protection.. Look the screw close the input wire... awsome.
Many functions does not mean it is a good meter.
But thank you for your "teardown". Now the most here know, what they better don't buy.
And for this price, you can buy a UT61x, a much better DMM. k, this can't fetch beer too.
The LUX, Humidity, and ranges for whatever are no arguments for this "thing" sry.
In Germany we say "egg-laying, wool and milk yielding pig", but nobody ever saw it.

You can't repair an Airplane with a Swiss army tool only, I hope you understand what I try to say.

SeanB

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2012, 02:17:04 PM »
I do understand. Not intending to use current ranges, especially with the calibration bites on the sense wire. As a voltmeter up to 100V it is fine though, and will be used for this. I do have plenty of other meters for doing real measurement of mains voltages.

Kiriakos GR

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2012, 06:33:35 PM »
From the look of the inner parts, I can say that it belongs at 16 to 25 USD price range.

Yepp. Maybe 3 bucks more for all this pots.

Can it also make coffee and fetch beer from the basement? No ? Then it is not good enough for this price.


This meter is a single (naked) chip solution, looks to be a copy of the Mastech model which has identical functionality.
If Sean is happy with it, then there is nothing more to comment about it.
LUX and Humidity measurements is out of my interest so far, I have not explore such instruments, and so I do not have an opinion to offer.

iloveelectronics

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2012, 08:48:47 PM »
I think you guys are being too critical about this meter. Certainly the price SeanB paid is a bit much, but considering him being in South Africa and as Martin has always said anything electronics there seems to be overpriced anyway there doesn't seem to be much else he can do about the pricing. To say that it's a 16-25$ meter in my opinion is a bit of an overstretch.  You will need some modern day slaves to work for you in order to manufacture something like this at that price. You can't even buy this meter directly from China for that price. In fact, I just looked and the lowest price I can find (Mastech MS8209) from Taobao is close to US$50.
My eBay store: http://www.99centHobbies.com
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Fennec

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2012, 09:20:56 PM »
I think you guys are being too critical about this meter.

How we can be "too critical" if it can cost a human life ? Sure, no hobbyist should pick at the mains, but why not. It's a CE sign on it and rated for CAT III 600V no problem at all. Are you ready test your life with this cheaping crap ? I don't think so.
For example. Take a look at the screw behind the V_in jack. 600V means min. .6mm to the next wire. 600V_peak are 850V !
At a backside of a TV or a Scope tube can be over 2000V (Gate). Whats happened if you use this meter, wanna measure the RGB voltage (around 70V) no problem at all, but at the next pin you have 2kV ! A good meter is safe, but I bet this one blows up.

For what Martin makes all this videos and teardowns ? For fun ? Sure, a lill, but I think important is, to buy a safety and usefull meter.

In this forum are 15 years old kids. What should they think, if they read here "yepp, no problem you can use this one" ? That's crap.

iloveelectronics

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2012, 09:28:23 PM »
I completely agree with the safety concerns. What I had issue with was how some of you think it should be priced. If this thing is tested to be unsafe it shouldn't be put on the market at all. If, however, it does meet it's claimed safety ratings (which I doubt too), then what SeanB paid isn't that outrageous considering all the costs involved in manufacturing and marketing and shpping and everything in between.
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Fennec

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2012, 10:32:40 PM »
Yes, and that's it we talk about.
Safety first and that may have nothing to do with the price !

SeanB

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2012, 11:48:46 PM »
It is a rebadged Mastech, even the test leads are stamped Mastech. Seems they changed OEM to Brymen recently, the newer models are Brymen badged with the Toptronics logo as well.

Kiriakos GR

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Re: Toptronic T8209 multimeter review
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2012, 06:55:34 PM »
It is a rebadged Mastech, even the test leads are stamped Mastech.

Do I win a candy ?  :)

Seems they changed OEM to Brymen recently, the newer models are Brymen badged with the Toptronics logo as well.

Brymen does not fool around about quality, but I do not think that they have something similar with what you got.


Today I discovered one new word as description about multimeters = Residential
I will agree here with Fennec, our worry is who is using the meter ?  The Dad ? or the Son ?

I am aware of one story at the EEV which a kid got one of those Residential meters, and the first thing that he did, was to test the magic 60$ meter
by measuring the electric fence in his farm. 
The meter died instantly, but he did not had any electric shock which in good as turnout.

About @iloveelectronics I will say that he is not Good Enough to play the quality control master, except if he has some sort of a technical degree.
One proof that he holds some sort of education about electronics or as electrician.
If he post a picture of his own graduation certificate,  I will post in public my too.

About slaves and low cost, China looses ground this days, new manufacturing plans are build or operate right now in India.
As about the DMM pricing from low end brands,  it goes with 100 units in a carton box, as we say in Greece the price goes by the Kg.
Any way, I do not wish to cause any typhoon in the tea cup, but all of us we must select our words carefully, so to not encourage the young ones to use what ever shines.
The kids who read those text lines could be the professionals of tomorrow. 

And one last word about the DMM video reviews,  some Blogers in order to attract attention they have convert them in to a plain show,
the T&M industry is a damn serious work place, now days they started to make their own videos, and in the near future they will not need external help.