Even though digital measurement devices have almost completely dominated the multimeter market, analogue devices have not disappeared forever. They have their own unique advantages, plus some users simply prefer using them as opposed to digital meters with LCD displays. In Poland, you can find – among other similar products – three analogue multimeters from Axiomet.
Using analogue multimeters is similar to operating their digital counterparts. They are powered with batteries and connected to circuits via test leads. You change their operating modes with a dial. The only difference is the method of reading measurement results: you use a graduated scale instead of an LCD display. At a glance, it might appear that this method is simply worse and less accurate. That is not the case! While it is true that checking the exact position of an indicating needle may take more time than simply glancing at an LCD display, it does not reduce the accuracy of measurements. In practice, this accuracy depends on the quality of components and on the size of the reading area. Moreover, it should be noted that analogue multimeters do not transform analogue signals into digital ones – this process itself makes readings less accurate. The movement of an analogue multimeter's indicating needle depends on the current going through the measurement system. This current does not have to be digitally processed – only strengthened in case of need.
Analogue multimeters are also free from delays caused by digital processing and sending measurement results to an LCD display. Their indication needles move instantly, reflecting all changes in the measured signal. Thanks to this, analogue multimeters are capable of detecting events – such as brief power or voltage surges caused by e.g. sparking – that many digital measurement devices would miss completely.
It is also worth noting that certain more advanced digital multimeters have bar graphs designed to add the ability to observe signal changes – in a manner similar to analogue solutions. Unfortunately, due to delays, the digital graphs of multimeters are less useful than physical, analogue scales. They are particularly useful for testing slowly varying signals, letting you diagnose signal pulsation by observing vibrations of the indicating needle.
These analogue devices are ideal for solutions requiring simple multimeters. Primarily, they are capable of measuring current, AC and DC voltage, as well as resistance. The AX-7003 and AX-7020 can both also measure sound intensity in a range from 4 to 56dB. The AX-7003 can also be used for testing 1.5V and 9V batteries.
The more advanced models, such as the AX-7030, can also test diodes and continuity. In those modes, you can notice the devices' rapid reactions: their acoustic signals are not delayed by any digital processing. The AX-7030 also lets you measure alternating current up to 10A.
Measurement ranges vary across models. Perhaps the most interesting of all is the AX-7020, offering 7 measurement ranges for direct current (from 100mV to 500V). Those measurements have an accuracy of +/-3%. For AC voltage, 4 measurement ranges are available (10V – 500V, accuracy of +/-4%). For direct current, 5 ranges are available (50μA – 10A, accuracy of +/-3%). Resistance can also be measured in 5 ranges (2kΩ – 20MΩ, accuracy of +/-3%). There are 21 measurements ranges available in total.
The benefits of using these multimeters can be seen especially well when measuring slowly varying signals. You can use the Axiomet AX-7020 meter to inspect the grid voltage in an apartment. Such measurements can be taken safely: this meter complies with EN61010 CAT III requirements for 600V installations.
Analogue multimeters are an interesting alternative to digital devices. They can become a valuable addition to your toolbox – especially since they are similarly priced to their less expensive digital counterparts. They are also similar in terms of size and weight, so they don't take up a lot of space. The size of the AX-7003 is 90x30x120mm, and the size of the AX-7030 is 108x50x190mm. The AX-7003 weighs 150g, the AX-7020 weighs 320g, and the AX-7030 weighs 470g.
If you decide that owning two multimeters seems excessive, you should take a look at the AX-7030: in addition to an analogue reading area, it also has a small 2.5 digit LCD display and can show readings simultaneously, using both methods. It's a unique analogue-digital multimeter.
All these multimeters come with test leads and a rubber holster for easier gripping. In case of the AX-7003, test leads are permanently connected.
All meters are powered with batteries (their type depends on model). The AX-7003 uses one LR03 (AAA) battery, and the AX-7030 uses one 9V battery.
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