I've been reviewing a number of budget rock-bottom priced digital multimeters in the Digital & Analogue Multimeters section of this site. I just love electronic measuring instruments and have been collecting them since 1992. I had to get this one because it's incredibly low priced at just under a fiver which includes postage and tax! If you think that's a bargain wait till you find out that it also comes with a pre-installed PP3 battery!
This is slightly larger than a pocket sized meter measuring 138 mm × 69 mm × 31 mm, that feels quite substantial to hold because of the thick rubber cover. It has a 3 ½ digit LCD display, each digit is 7 segment and 15 mm high so you have a nice large clear readout. This one has a cool-blue back light that allows you to see the display in any light condition. The LCD display does appear quite clear with it.
There is a Piezo buzzer for continuity testing which is always very handy if you don't want to be looking at the LCD readout all the time. There is also a 'Hold' function that keeps the last LCD readout value.
There aren't very many downsides to this meter, after all, where on Earth can you buy a digital multimeter with so many features for less than a fiver? This meter, like the many others that I have reviewed, is based on the 830 series single chip multimeter solution which is identical to the Intersil ICL7106 and ICL7107 single chip digital meter. I had a go building a meter based on this chip on stripboard and found out that the cost of the parts alone ended up being sky-high, - when sourcing everything locally - Now that's inflation for you!
The accuracy figures for this meter are almost identical to the other models that use the same chip. For example when measuring DC voltage on the 20 V range setting the resolution is 10 mV providing an accuracy of ±0.5 % of reading ±2 digits. This is about as good as it gets with single chip meters and the norm regardless of the price. For most applications it's good enough.
The XIOLE XL830L is an excellent product for that price range and would be ideal for students, hobbyists and professionals. It is well built as you will see in the following sections of this article. There is good attention to detail in the plastic case and moulding, and it should last for quite some time if looked after.
Electronics manufacturing is a commodity market, whatever you design someone else will come along and build something cheaper and better with more functions. As a result every year the prices drop. You can get some amazing meters these days for almost next to nothing. Brand names such as Fluke, and Megger are always worth seeing and getting when the opportunity arises. There is also a large second-hand market for meters worth looking into before making a purchase. This product is as low-cost as it gets though and worth having.
Here is a sneak preview of the back light connection. In the following sections of this article you can see the inside of this meter, the rotary switch assembly, the PCB and more. Just use the menu options on the top left of this page.
Author: Peter J. Vis