Bought a New LCR Meter

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Dale H. Cook
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Bought a New LCR Meter

Post by Dale H. Cook »

For about 25 years I have used an inexpensive LCR meter for quick checks in the field. It was an Elenco LCR-1801 that had a guard terminal (used with shielded leads to reject noise and RF) but only measured to 200 uf. In recent years it has developed problems including a failure of one of the flat spring contacts for lead contact and problems with the rotary function/range switch. I decided to replace it, preferring the convenience of a battery-powered handheld LCR meter to the more cumbersome but more functional line-powered meters such as the Sencore Z-meters. I consulted fellow engineers who own LCR meters, and through a combination of reading manuals and reviews and borrowing meters for tests I reached a decision.

I bought a DER EE DE-5000 meter made in Taiwan. It has been rebranded by Extech, IET Labs, and possibly others. I learned that IET Labs, who bought most of the General Radio instrument designs, had rebranded this meter when a fellow engineer, whose DE-5000 mater I borrowed for testing, pointed out that he uses a PDF of the all-English IET manual in preference to the multi-lingual manual packed with the DE-5000. The fact that a company that manufactures high-quality impedance-measuring instruments for the bench would rebrand and sell this meter was an important consideration in my choice. It measures to 20,000 uf (values of 10,000 uf and higher display as millifarads), 2,000 H, and 200 Megohms (measured with DC or AC). It has selectable AC measurement frequencies in decade steps from 100 Hz to 100 kHz. It can also measure D, Q, Theta and ESR. It can measure in 4-wire mode, has guarded terminals, and a calibration function to compensate for the test leads used. I ordered mine with guarded alligator clips (with short 4-wire leads) and guarded 4-wire lead SMD tweezers. I passed on the factory external guard lead, preferring to roll my own using test lead wire that was much more supple than what the factory used. I also bought a pair of inexpensive Kelvin clips and rolled my own 4-wire Kelvin leads with guarded 2 foot leads made from RG-174. I also added a 25,000 uf 16 volt electrolytic cap (measured with my General Radio 1608-A impedance bridge at 27.4 millifarads) that I can use in series with an unknown capacitor for values above 20.0 millifarads. I have around $150 invested and have been well pleased with my DE-5000.
Dale H. Cook, Contract Engineer, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA
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Re: Bought a New LCR Meter

Post by ChuckG »

Thanks, another one to check out. I've been shopping for a more portable replacement for an aging and cranky Sencore.
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kkiddkkidd
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Re: Bought a New LCR Meter

Post by kkiddkkidd »

Dale,

Thanks for the review. What does it take to get the longer test leads on it (and remain reasonably accurate)? I typically need to to test and set larger AM components more than PCB type.

Regards,
Dale H. Cook wrote: Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:40 am For about 25 years I have used an inexpensive LCR meter for quick checks in the field. It was an Elenco LCR-1801 that had a guard terminal (used with shielded leads to reject noise and RF) but only measured to 200 uf. In recent years it has developed problems including a failure of one of the flat spring contacts for lead contact and problems with the rotary function/range switch. I decided to replace it, preferring the convenience of a battery-powered handheld LCR meter to the more cumbersome but more functional line-powered meters such as the Sencore Z-meters. I consulted fellow engineers who own LCR meters, and through a combination of reading manuals and reviews and borrowing meters for tests I reached a decision.

I bought a DER EE DE-5000 meter made in Taiwan. It has been rebranded by Extech, IET Labs, and possibly others. I learned that IET Labs, who bought most of the General Radio instrument designs, had rebranded this meter when a fellow engineer, whose DE-5000 mater I borrowed for testing, pointed out that he uses a PDF of the all-English IET manual in preference to the multi-lingual manual packed with the DE-5000. The fact that a company that manufactures high-quality impedance-measuring instruments for the bench would rebrand and sell this meter was an important consideration in my choice. It measures to 20,000 uf (values of 10,000 uf and higher display as millifarads), 2,000 H, and 200 Megohms (measured with DC or AC). It has selectable AC measurement frequencies in decade steps from 100 Hz to 100 kHz. It can also measure D, Q, Theta and ESR. It can measure in 4-wire mode, has guarded terminals, and a calibration function to compensate for the test leads used. I ordered mine with guarded alligator clips (with short 4-wire leads) and guarded 4-wire lead SMD tweezers. I passed on the factory external guard lead, preferring to roll my own using test lead wire that was much more supple than what the factory used. I also bought a pair of inexpensive Kelvin clips and rolled my own 4-wire Kelvin leads with guarded 2 foot leads made from RG-174. I also added a 25,000 uf 16 volt electrolytic cap (measured with my General Radio 1608-A impedance bridge at 27.4 millifarads) that I can use in series with an unknown capacitor for values above 20.0 millifarads. I have around $150 invested and have been well pleased with my DE-5000.
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Re: Bought a New LCR Meter

Post by kcbooboo »

When I was looking for Kelvin-style (4-wire) test leads and clips, about 98% of the Asian-made ones had the four wires, but ran two wires to just one side of each clip. Fat lot of good that does. I ended up rolling my own, with decent flexible wire, my own recessed banana plugs, and clips that really bite into the component being measured.

Some of the Asian offering photos don't show whether there's one or two connections at the clip, and they seem to think that just because there are four wires, that makes it a Kelvin test lead. Buyer Beware.

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Dale H. Cook
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Re: Bought a New LCR Meter

Post by Dale H. Cook »

kkiddkkidd wrote: Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:04 amWhat does it take to get the longer test leads on it (and remain reasonably accurate)?
I bought an extra TL-21 test lead set (the same set with short 4-wire leads and alligator clips that I got with the module). I also bought a pair of inexpensive Kelvin clips. I used four 2' lengths of RG-174 to connect the clips to the module. At home with no RFI I am seeing about a 0.2% difference between measurements of small (1.47 Ohms) precision resistors made with the supplied short lead alligator clips and measurements made with my home-made Kelvin clips with 2' leads. The basic accuracy in that range is 0.6% so it looks like my leads are satisfactory. I will be doing additional tests within a few days at a station whose studios are uphill from, and in the major lobe of, a 10 kw on-site DA. It has the highest RF field of any studios I have worked in.
kkiddkkidd wrote: Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:04 amI typically need to to test and set larger AM components more than PCB type.
That is precisely why I built the 2' leads. There are videos on YouTube from people who have done similar things - search YouTube for "de-5000 kelvin clips" without the quotes.
Dale H. Cook, Contract Engineer, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA
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Dale H. Cook
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Re: Bought a New LCR Meter

Post by Dale H. Cook »

kcbooboo wrote: Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:09 am... they seem to think that just because there are four wires, that makes it a Kelvin test lead.
Yup, that is one reason why I rolled my own.
Dale H. Cook, Contract Engineer, Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA
http://plymouthcolony.net/starcityeng/index.html
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