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 Post subject: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Mon 06, 2020 2:25 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 16, 2020 12:29 am
Posts: 500
With the time on my hands recently at home, I decided to assemble an ESR meter kit, the K2574, that I bought back in 2010. It is the famous Bob Parker design which was published in Silicon Chip magazine and made into kits in the 1000's. These were the most popular ESR meter in Australasia.

Normally I'm not much of a fan of kits for test gear. (most of my workshop gear is Tektronix). But these ESR meters are an exception to the rule, a great item, also great for measuring resistors below 100R and in the less than 1R range.

They use a short pulse of current to the component under test, typically capacitor and the voltage developed is less than 100mV, so they are great for testing in circuit electros. They have a large clear LED display (Superior to LCD in my opinion) and the batteries , 6 AAA cells are very long lasting. I have some sine wave ESR meters too, but I much prefer this one, so now I have two working units.

If you look on the pcb photo, I added the brass eyelets on the connection points, I always do this on single sided pcb's where wires terminate, to prevent the track ever lifting. The ones there fit a 1.6mm hole.

The physical construction of these units is great, the front panel is steel with a tough satin black coat and the common ESR values are screened onto it. I don't use the original self threading screws that attach the panel to the case, instead I run a 4-40 UNC roll tap down the plastic post hole & use 4-40 stainless machine screws, this way there is little wear and the screw threads in the plastic posts stay in good order no matter how many times the unit is opened up.

One suggested modification (that I do) is to put two back to back power diodes (1N5404) I use BY228's across the input terminals inside the meter. This is in case you accidentally forget to discharge a high voltage high uF value capacitor and blow the input circuitry and micro to la-la land.

Altronics in AU still sell this wonderful kit after all these years:

https://www.altronics.com.au/p/k2574-esr-meter-kit/

With the current AU/USD exchange rate, this meter is a steal even with the shipping.

A version of this meter is available too on ebay, in a different housing, it is called Anatek Blue.


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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Mon 06, 2020 2:45 am 
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Location: San Jose, CA USA
That's the one I use all the time. Only weak point is that the probes they originally supplied with it were beyond junk. Rest of the unit keeps keeping on. Probably had it 15 years or so now.

I like it for in-circuit testing of electrolytics. Don't care per se what the ESR is. Just go or no-go.

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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Mon 06, 2020 3:56 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 16, 2020 12:29 am
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I should have put this in the test equipment section..


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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Mon 06, 2020 12:36 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 16, 2020 12:29 am
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Tom Albrecht wrote:
That's the one I use all the time. Only weak point is that the probes they originally supplied with it were beyond junk.



Hmmm.... I cannot verify that.

Both of the meters I have came with good quality long leads, 0.8m each. The meter measures their DC resistance (before you zero that out) at about 150mR in total.

To be sure I took the plastic sleeves off the alligator clips at the test end, the wires are soldered to the clips (A lot of cheapo alligator clips are just crimped poorly which creates variable DC resistances).

At the plug end I cannot inspect that because it is moulded. The cable appears flexible and of good quality.

What was wrong, specifically, with the test leads on your kit ?


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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Mon 06, 2020 4:37 pm 
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Joined: Jan Tue 31, 2012 1:55 am
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Location: Mountains of Mourne. Ireland.
Ah... ESR nostalgia. Who would've thunk it?

I remember seeing this meter in good old Dick Smith's Auckland store back in the 1990s
Too busy chasing girls at the time. lol

Today, I have three or four ESR meters, but not that one.
:) Greg.

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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Mon 06, 2020 8:55 pm 
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Location: Panama City, FL 32401
Why did they not include 3 and 33uf,which are popular values?


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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Mon 06, 2020 9:02 pm 
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Location: San Jose, CA USA
The values are not exact, so it doesn't make sense to make a chart at too fine a scale. Easy to interpolate between the values you see there.

Obviously, the chart needs to have big enough print to be able to read as well. Sticking with rough factors of two between chart values makes sense.

By the way, here are the probes that came with mine. Where the probe tip threads into the plastic is far too weak. Since ESR is all about measuring small resistances, you sometimes have to push a bit to get good contact. These probes can't handle that. From other pictures posted, it looks like they supplied better probes to others. Apparently I got the el cheapo ones during a time of cost cutting or something.

Attachment:
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Last edited by Tom Albrecht on Apr Mon 06, 2020 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Mon 06, 2020 9:09 pm 
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Location: Mountains of Mourne. Ireland.
Most ESR charts over the last couple of decades are "rough and ready".


This satisfies my needs. Good or bad is all I want to know.

Image

I wouldn't get too hung up on ESR testing. lol
:) Greg.


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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Tue 07, 2020 11:23 am 
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Tom Albrecht wrote:

By the way, here are the probes that came with mine. Where the probe tip threads into the plastic is far too weak.

Attachment:
ESR meter.png


Yes those probe/fittings are a dodgy kind, I have seen these before, they tend to become unscrewed and the threads in the plastic are weak. So they obviously changed them over the years.


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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Tue 07, 2020 11:27 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 16, 2020 12:29 am
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egg wrote:
Most ESR charts over the last couple of decades are "rough and ready".


This satisfies my needs. Good or bad is all I want to know.

Image

I wouldn't get too hung up on ESR testing. lol
:) Greg.

On the Silicon chip meter the chart takes into account not only the uF value, but the capacitors voltage rating too. You will see that the ESR value (that is still acceptable) is higher for higher voltage range caps. Because of this the B&K tester cannot make as accurate an assessment.I have this B&K tester too, but I don't use it because the Silicon Chip(Bob Parker) one is much better.


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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Tue 07, 2020 11:54 am 
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Joined: Jan Tue 31, 2012 1:55 am
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Location: Mountains of Mourne. Ireland.
For in-circuit testing of computer motherboards, modern-day TVs and switched-mode power supplies, this ESR70 from Peak Atlas works great for me.
Image
~$90.00 Digi-Key and elsewhere.

https://www.digikey.com/en/videos/p/pea ... ikey-daily

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

Regarding LCR meters, and ESR testing...

Image

Trusted Japanese seller. DER EE DE-5000 plus→ TL-21, TL-22 & TL-23
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/164111039865
If you purchase from this seller, you will be happy... :)

Reviews and teardown: https://google.co.uk/search?q=DER+EE+DE ... tnG=Search

Greg.


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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Tue 07, 2020 12:50 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 16, 2020 12:29 am
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Yes, but the silicon chip meter has the handy chart on the front, for not only the expected normal ESR for the uF value capacitor you are testing but also the voltage rating. So its easy to see if the capacitor is basically in spec.

In addition the Bob Parker meter is very good & accurate for checking low range resistors.This is how the meter is calibrated too, so you can be sure you are getting accurate results with capacitors. For the other types of ESR meter shown, attach some low value resistors and check how accurate the readings are. There is no beating the Bob Parker meter for ESR, but it does not have the advantage of a built in capacitance checker, I use a separate meter for this.


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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Tue 07, 2020 3:44 pm 
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Location: Beaver Falls, PA. USA
I built the Anatek Blue ESR meter quite a while ago; it's a great llittle instrument, and saves a lot of time when working on solid state equipment.

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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Tue 07, 2020 3:52 pm 
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Joined: Nov Sun 07, 2010 7:16 pm
Posts: 762
Location: Manchester, MI
ESR meters are absolutely indispensable for certain jobs. Here's the one I built five or six years ago.

I got it from this website:
http://members.shaw.ca/swstuff/esrmeter.html

That page is no longer available, but you can get to a snapshot of it using the Wayback machine on archive.org.

Got most of the parts out of my junkbox and the case keeps the leads tidy. That analog meter provides all the accuracy and resolution required. I think I ended up spending around $10 on it.

The front end and measuring technique are pretty common to ESR meters, the difference tends to be the display and whether a microprocessor or discrete components are used to implement it.

The DE-5000 is in a somewhat different class of instruments somewhere in the mid range between an ESR meter and a lab instrument. It gets good reviews if you need those capabilities.


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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Tue 07, 2020 7:59 pm 
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Location: Monterey California USA
I bought dozens of the original Bob Parker meters from Dick Smith Electronics in the late 1990's and then passed then on to friends at cost, and supplied quantities to the late Alan Douglas who did the same. It was a great deal at the time because of the exchange rate. I think about $ 19 each with shipping. At that time there was no PayPal so I had to FAX a credit card number. That all changed pretty quickly when Dick Smith abruptly decided to start charging foreign buyers the same price in US Dollars as the catalog price in Australian Dollars, which at the time were worth just 58 cents in my money. I considered that a sleazy practice and stopped buying any more. Today I see that many (all?) Australian firms are pulling the same stunt, asking for the same price but in US Dollars if you are an overseas buyer, leaving no exchange rate advantage at all.

The probes I got with mine were rather cheap and where every fraction of an ohm counts, I subbed some Mueller ones. As I recall, Alan changed both the probes as well as the cheap banana sockets and even soldered the leads in.

As others have noted, the first generation meters have no voltage protection at the input but it is easily corrected. They also have a nasty habit of eating batteries if you use them a lot, causing me to change to a flat holder with 6 AA batteries instead (far cheaper and last a long time.) I don't think it is too important to worry about the chart and what it includes. In my experience the bad capacitors are really obvious, such as totally open circuit or above, say, 25 Ohms, and reference to the chart is then pointless. My ESR meter has been very lucrative, fixed lots of TV sets, switching power supplies and so on in a few minutes. Not much need in antique radios, naturally.

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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Tue 07, 2020 9:15 pm 
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I built one many years ago, good reliable tester. I soldered a pair of Pomona mini grabbers directly to the input as recommended by Alan long ago. I use a 9v battery and it lasts a long time for occasional use. I found a bad motor start cap on my AC unit with it and saved a lot doing my own repair.


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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Sat 11, 2020 2:19 pm 
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I purchased an EDS-88A ESR tester some time ago because it had many features that were not available in other testers. Such as programmable level and bypass of DCR tests; audio beeping for ESR good, bad, marginal (which does not require looking at the display to locate the many bad surface mounted caps on modern electronics); auto capacitor discharge; etc. I paid a little less than $200 for it the time. Interestingly enough, they were discontinued but seem to be recently become available https://www.ebay.com/itm/EDS-88A-CapAnalyzer-Series-II-Electronic-Design-Specialists-Cap-Analyzer/283359218491?hash=item41f9868b3b:g:6XQAAOSwaEdcUf~x


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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Sat 11, 2020 2:40 pm 
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Location: Omak,wa,usa
Hello alan ,
nice unit I had friend who had that someone I wish would bought one in the day .
Anyway Egg I will check that one out since I am in the market for one


Last edited by radiorich on Apr Sat 11, 2020 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ESR Meter kit assembled after 10 years.
PostPosted: Apr Sat 11, 2020 4:26 pm 
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Joined: Sep Sat 15, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 296
This unit works great


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