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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Jan Sun 15, 2012 4:00 pm 
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Location: Mercer County, NJ
Hi Everyone,

Well, I just purchased one of these Fluke 27/FM meters off of ebay and I believe it may be defective. When I first turn the meter on it goes through a display self test. On my meter the far left most digit is missing one of the segments (F - segment). If anyone has one one of these meters please let me know if you also have the same issue? Appreciate any help. Frank


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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Jan Sun 15, 2012 4:36 pm 
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Frank512 wrote:
When I first turn the meter on it goes through a display self test. On my meter the far left most digit is missing one of the segments (F - segment). If anyone has one one of these meters please let me know if you also have the same issue?

Yep, mine does the same. It's not a problem. The display is probably missing that segment, since that digit never goes above 3.

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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Jan Sun 15, 2012 5:08 pm 
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Location: Long Island
Just looked at mine, and it does the same thing. I do not have a copy of the manual but think it's by design, since that is the "1/2-digit" and the "F" segment is never used.

One thing to check on a newly arrived 27/FM is the condition of the two 600-volt cartridge fuses inside the battery case. One is 15-amp, and protects the 10-A current range. The other is 1-A, and protects all the other current ranges. Being designed to interrupt 10,000 volts, they are expensive to replace. Unfortunately, some posters have gotten meters with blown or missing fuses--myself included. Luckily, all the other ranges work without the fuses, and at least in my case, the meter was none the worse for wear after I replaced the one that was open.

These are great meters, and I am really happy to see the US Army is selling off some items to the public as surplus again. They stopped doing it for a while. If anybody reading this is in the military and was involved in the process of surplussing these meters out, thank you, and I hope you'll decide to do the same with other electronic test equipment items in the future!

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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Jan Sun 15, 2012 5:58 pm 
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Yes, the out segment on the self test confused me too when I got my first 27/FM, but that is normal. The two of these meters I bought (gave one away as a x-mas gift to a friend) both had good fuses, so I consider myself lucky. The fuses are about $10-12 for both from online suppliers, about a third of what Fluke charges for them.

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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM (missing Segment)
PostPosted: Jan Mon 16, 2012 5:08 am 
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Joined: May Tue 05, 2009 10:21 pm
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Location: Mercer County, NJ
My first thought was that I really got ripped off. Its nice to know that the missing segment is normal.

Many thanks to everyone.


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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM (missing Segment)
PostPosted: Jan Mon 16, 2012 5:12 pm 
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Frank512 wrote:
My first thought was that I really got ripped off. Its nice to know that the missing segment is normal.

Yeah, the Fluke manuals are a bit misleading. Both the user and service manuals say "when the meter is first turned on, all display segments appear while the instrument performs a brief power-up self-test." You have to read closely to notice the specification of "3200 counts" and infer that the display doesn't have all the segments for the first digit.

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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Jan Wed 25, 2012 11:14 pm 
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Joined: Jan Sun 15, 2012 4:20 pm
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Location: Lawton Oklahoma
I recieved mine today. Came with all the probes and instruction manuals. Works great. Only disappointment was that it was missing all the battery tray screws and one body screw. I havent had time to look but was reading that the screws are special with orings?


Edit, found the screws in the carrying case fortunately. No they dont have orings on them.
Also be advised these dont auto shut off so you can find a dead battery quick if you dont think about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Mar Mon 12, 2012 2:50 pm 
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MarkPalmer wrote:
The miltary Fluke 27/FM is quite impressive inside and out. For mid 1980's technology this thing can hold it ground performance wise today, and is built like no other multimeter I have seen, both electronically and in structure- its a beast.

Inside #2: With exception of SMD main processor, it's constructed with all top quality hole-through components for ease of replacement by both miltary personnel or us hobby morons. Superior protection devices and manual calibration pots.

These multimeters are available used for a song right now, well worth picking one up.

-Mark-


Great write up! One correction, the use of through-hole construction is reminiscent of that era rather than for ease of repair. The included military service manual suggests just that, it's an intermediate procedure, like: a)Check the battery, b)check the fuses and if it still doesn't work then replace the unit.

Oh btw, in another post on DMM's you were in favor of 9v batteries instead of modern AA alternatives. Surprising to say at least, but why?

@fordtech

the rubber washers are probably stuck in the screw hole.


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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Mar Mon 12, 2012 4:33 pm 
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freakantique wrote:

Oh btw, in another post on DMM's you were in favor of 9v batteries instead of modern AA alternatives. Surprising to say at least, but why?



3 reasons. Number of batteries, battery mounting ease and security, and number of contact points. The 9V battery is one rectangular battery to itself that is easy to secure to keep it from bouncing around. The new Fluke 27II and 28 have 3 AA's to mechanically secure. There are only 2 contact points that tightly clip to the battery using a 9V. How many battery contacts are needed with 3 AA's? I'm thinking 8, 2 for each battery plus the little spring contacts they use between the batteries and the board, there might be more. That's all that many more contacts to come loose, oxidize etc. The 3 AA's might provide a little more life, but the 9V in the 27/FM lasts about 800-1000 hours- more than good enough without all the added mechanical/electrical complexity.

When did the 9V battery become "old fashioned?" :D

The 27/FM is VERY friendly when it comes to (skilled) user serviceability. Surface mount components were starting to come more to life at the time the 27's hit the market, but only the uP in the 27/FM is not hole-through.

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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Mar Mon 12, 2012 5:11 pm 
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9V batteries have considerably less AH than a respective assemblage of AA cells.
In their favor, it could be said that they will go bad before they corrode.. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Mar Mon 12, 2012 5:28 pm 
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mescalero wrote:
9V batteries have considerably less AH than a respective assemblage of AA cells.
In their favor, it could be said that they will go bad before they corrode.. :wink:


Now that I looked, the new 27II and 28 list the same 800 hour battery life of the 27/FM. Am I missing something? Are those few extra features of the new models sucking that much more power that they needed to use AA's to get the same amount of battery life? I just don't see where using 3 AA's are any advantage to one good ole' 9 volt, at least not in a very low power consuming thing like an LCD multimeter. (Yet in all my gripe I'm sure the Fluke engineers are much smarter than me, so I'll call it a day :P )

-Mark-

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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Mar Mon 12, 2012 7:59 pm 
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Joined: Jun Fri 19, 2009 6:34 pm
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Location: Long Island
Probably has more to do with the new generation of technology. When the 27/FM was built, TTL signal levels were the norm, so they presumably used the 9-V directly or regulated it down to 5-V. The newer meters probably run 3.3-V ECL levels, which would make it more sensible to just string a few AA batteries together.

A new Kidde smoke and carbon monoxide detector I recently bought uses three AA batteries instead of a traditional 9-V battery, presumably for the same reason.

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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Mar Mon 12, 2012 9:37 pm 
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Joined: Mar Sat 06, 2010 11:34 pm
Posts: 253
Location: Las Vegas, NV
FWIW: The case is chemical resistant, but the clear plastic lens over the display, not so much. :oops: Flying Tigers at LAX dropped one into a barrel of skydrol and it didn't hurt the case but destroyed the lens.

Also, when the low battery symbol comes on you best change the battery. On most of the 20/70/80 series flukes when the battery gets too low the symbol goes back out, but the meter will become very inaccurate in Ohms :roll: .


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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Mar Tue 13, 2012 2:21 am 
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Joined: Jan Sun 15, 2012 4:20 pm
Posts: 321
Location: Lawton Oklahoma
freakantique @fordtech

the rubber washers are probably stuck in the screw hole.[/quote]

Thanks, I pulled them again and indeed they were there in the holes. Much appreciation for the clarification.

It has been an excellent meter thus far.


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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Mar Tue 13, 2012 5:15 am 
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ictjayhawk wrote:
FWIW: The case is chemical resistant, but the clear plastic lens over the display, not so much. :oops: Flying Tigers at LAX dropped one into a barrel of skydrol and it didn't hurt the case but destroyed the lens.

Also, when the low battery symbol comes on you best change the battery. On most of the 20/70/80 series flukes when the battery gets too low the symbol goes back out, but the meter will become very inaccurate in Ohms :roll: .


True that. My estimation the case is made of ABS plastic and the lens is made of polycarbonate. Although it's not mentioned anywhere, it would be handy for cleaning purposes.

When the low battery warning pops up, that means the battery is about to leak. So don't cheap out on the battery, replace ASAP. This happened to my Fluke 25 recently acquired from U.K army surplus. It worked right out the box but had a battery warning sign. Then I popped the hood and realized a corroded battery clip by leakage.

Alkalines no more, thank goodness there is a 9v lithium alternative. If their statements are correct, that would mean an estimated 4000 hours of battery life and no leak to worry about. I like that.


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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Mar Tue 13, 2012 12:17 pm 
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No multimeter is going to be impervious to every type of abuse. But looking at the 27/FM I bought that was put in to Army service in 1988 and purchased by me last year, for it to have over 20 years of military service and come out looking and working as well as it does says a lot about it. It is true the technology is a little dated now, but for working on vintage equipment with high voltages that can subject a meter to overloads, I'm sure these will stand up to the test as virtually all Flukes do so well.

-Mark-

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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Mar Tue 13, 2012 5:06 pm 
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Location: Powell River BC Canada
What about the interface to the LCD display ? The Fluke 87 had issues with hardening of
of the flexible multi contact strip between the board and the glass contacts. Does the
27 use a different system, or might there be aging issues with that interface ?

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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Mar Tue 13, 2012 5:22 pm 
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They do have a pair of the elastomer "zebra" strips connecting to the LCD, (as many multimeters do) but as of yet I don't know of anyone who has encounterd problems with them on the 25/27 models.

-Mark-

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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Mar Tue 13, 2012 5:23 pm 
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All the 87's I saw with display problems do to poor connections with the zebra strip were fixed by cleaning the strips board contacts and display contacts with isopropal alcohol.


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 Post subject: Re: Fluke 27/FM Build Quality
PostPosted: Mar Tue 13, 2012 5:39 pm 
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ictjayhawk wrote:
All the 87's I saw with display problems do to poor connections with the zebra strip were fixed by cleaning the strips board contacts and display contacts with isopropal alcohol.


That is likely all it takes with any 83/85/87 that might encounter the problem. New strips are also available, Fluke part # 817460.

-Mark-

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