Review: Fluke 233

Late post is late.


Many thanks to e-14 for this one. Some time in summer, I won a lovely bit of kit. At the time I was cursing, the day I found out I was only round the corner from the offices but couldn’t make it to drool in person. However, following a short wait (and a looong drive home from Leeds), I got home to find a box. What was inside it you ask? Simple, a Fluke 233 and some e-14 goodies.


The Fluke 233 is a remote display Digital Multi Meter with an impressive feature list including:

  • Measure up to 1000 V ac and dc
  • Measure up to 10 A (20 A for 30 seconds)
  • 10,000 μF capacitance range
  • Frequency to 50 kHz


Whats impressive about this, aside from the features, is the display. For those who have parts of systems scattered about, or in awkward places, or just want to monitor something from the other side of the room (We’ve all been there right?), the display module detaches. This allows you to connect up the meter as usual, but walk away (Up to 10 meters) with the display. To make it easier the display itself is magnetic allowing you to easily attach it to a nearby surface such as a control box you are working on. The main unit however is not so lucky. With the basic kit your only option is to carefully place it somewhere stable. Or, take advantage of one of the accessory kits. One such item is the ToolPak. This simple strap clips onto the back of your Fluke meter and adds the magnetic feature seen in the disaply module. Should you not have a magnetic surface available, you can always clip it onto another appropriate surface. Should you want to refrain from hanging about, there is the stand option, seen on many meters. Simply flip it out from the back of the meter to prop it up while you work.

Aside from the amazing remote display, the meter itself is pretty standard. Auto ranging, Min/Max/Avg options, temperature and frequency features, back light, true-rms etc. A good quality meter, great for any engineer working in potentially hazardous or awkward spaces.


While working with it, I haven’t had any major problems (The minor ones all being down to a lack of tea), the battery life is ok. It might struggle with heavy use, however it does not need anything special, just AA alkaline cells. The wireless function for the display turns off when connected to the main unit (and resorts to an IR connection, no dirty pins to deal with) in order to conserve power. Over all it is a very nice unit, well worth the money, if a little on the expensive side. Not one for beginners thats for sure!


My only complaints with it are with the kit contents. While it is not expected that the meter comes with a case, I do feel it could have came with one, or at least some nice bubblewrap to package it. For those considering getting one, or who have one I do recommend getting a case. You can get one from Fluke directly or locate one for yourself. Just don’t forget it must have room for all your accessories! My other complaint is with the manual. It is on CD. While not a problem for most users, some platforms may have issues opening the included files. Should you need the manual, you can soon download a copy from the Fluke website.


My rating? 9.9/10

Marks are lost for the manual not being as accessible as it could be.


Worth buying? Yes, if you are going to need the remote display, go for it, if not, stick with one of the other models and save the money from the batteries.

Good Musics?

Tonight (October 6th), the amazing Marian Call plays at the Thinkgeek HQ, to add to the fun, the full event is being streamed live here. Why am I mentioning this? Simple, Marian is an amazing artist and of course, an amazing geek. I really cannot do justice here, you need to check her out for yourself. Whether you catch the second half of her show live, watch the recorded version later or whatever, you must check her out and support her if you like her stuff. Find out more at her site:

Steam, Portals, Facebook Rant, Other!

If you haven’t already seen around the interwebs, Steam, the popular gaming software for PCs, has made its way to Mac. Is this a good thing? Yes! Despite the common misconception, Macs can be used for gaming (Yes yes shock, awe etc. etc.). With the release of Steam, the number of games you can easily find has just gone up. As a result of the recent release, and it being for Mac, the number of games available is limited and currently hangs around 63, and that is just the New Releases. What does this mean for Mac users? Simple. Fun. The current available games are some of the old classics and the newer classics and of course the new indie games like World Of Goo. There is however one other game which has been able to sneak in. For a limited period, Portal is available free. Cool huh?

While it is all well and good that Steam has made it to Mac, I do still have one or two minor issues with it. The first, where is the Linux client? Especially for the indie games! Come on guys, not a challenging one. Second, and slightly more important, is the interface. Sure it is nice and shiny, and like everyone I like the interface to change from the norm from time to time. This however does it but not exactly as well as it could. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet, but there is something about the way it works that puts me off.

The main thing that sold me? Portal. Why? It sounded interesting and to be honest so far it is, if only in a bahmybrainsdeadandneedsomethingtooccupyme kinda way. It is one of those puzzle games that will get you thinking. A mix of platformer and puzzle with a hint of broken physics and good graphics. Worth checking out. You may be able to expect some form of proper review at a later time.

Rant time. So assuming a good number of you use that facebook thing, can we also assume that at some point recently you have came across one of these groups that requires you to complete a survey, shave a goat and for the odd one you will no doubt also have to touch a sheep in an inappropriate place. Yes? Of course you have, because it now seems that only 1 in 40,000 doesn’t require you to do that (Exaggerated statistics courtesy of the magic world of cheese). Why? Seriously, why?! I don’t care about your ‘survey’/scam. Just let me move on. Yes I know there are sites that still have some of this content available without the need to hit that ‘Like’ button, but I don’t care. This way used to be easier. </ mini rant>

In other news! Birthday times! Yes indeed, this week it was the birthday of a previously mentioned blogger Carla (Twitter). Happy birthday!

Music Review?

Recently I was introduced to the wonders of Laura Marling (Yeah Thanks Later…). As such I am slightly disappointed to have missed her playing in Newcastle at the Tyne Theatre. The awesome Steph did however make it. I highly recommend reading her review of the event over at her blog. You can find it here. A good read, for all, and certainly a blog to keep an eye on in general!


Over the past year I have been working on a project using purely Arduinos. Now that this project is nearly over, I have decided to take the optional step of taking it further.

The plan so far is to still use the Arduino environment, but load the code onto a custom PCB. This should allow the software to remain the same while allowing a massively reduced version of the hardware (The current modules can be compared to bricks). To do this there are two options, an FTDI cable/chip or to program the uC directly. While FTDI chips are cool and everything, I decided against it with the option to include on at a later stage in the process. This left the option of programming the uC directly.

To do this rather than go for a nice AVR programmer such as those produced by Atmel, I went for the altogether more fun option and went with Adafruit Industries’ USBtinyISP. As usual, Oomlout showed off and got it packed and shipped allowing it to arrive 2 days later, and in their usual way, Adafruit did the same with an excellent kit.

To the kit! So what do you need to make it so simple? Aside from the usual tools (This was one of the few times I wish I had an actual PCB vice and not just some helping hands and a spare finger), I’d highly recommend having some good music on and some milkshake. Why? Why not? Everyone should have a decent beverage while working. Based on the weather and the general mood of the day, milkshake seemed appropriate. Assuming you follow the instructions and read them (Yeah, I didn’t do that the first time on one or two sections…), the kit is easy to build with everything explained where required. If there was one thing I’d recommend, it would be to have some bluetak (Or equivalent) handy for when you solder the headers.

What happens when its done? COmpleted USBtinyISPWell you get something that looks like this. Your next step as you may have guessed is to test it and use it. If you plan on using it with your Arduino to add a bootloader, you may become slightly confused by how to connect it. The best guide to tell you which way to plug it in can be found on the Adafruit forum here. It provides pictures and descriptions just to make the whole process easier.

If you are starting out with this side of working with microprocessors, or even if you are experienced, you will no doubt find this fun and educational. Congratulations to Adafruit for producing such a useful tool and well done to Oomlout for working so well to distribute it over here!

mflow Review

So I just got an invite to try mflow. I have to say, don’t bother.

Aside from the shiny interface (Which looks a bit too familiar…like Spotify familiar…) it really isn’t worth it. If you strip away the user interface you get a mash up. That is all it is. You can replicate the entire service yourself with a little bit of time, a bit of programming knowledge and the APIs for a few well known services.

Once you get an invite, download the application, install it, register for an account, input your invite code for a second time, slay a goat in honour of Sigmund (Todays God of choice), hit register again and finally open the program, you are in. The user interface is well design, all be it with a couple of interesting features that are not necessarily explained. The basis of the program is to share and/or buy music. It is all a little similar to, just in a stand alone application. As such what you can do is this;

  • Follow users
  • Be followed by users
  • Search for music
  • Buy music
  • Recommend music
  • Preview music

So what exactly makes this different to using individual sites to do this? Well nothing really, one of the main selling points is the backing from several record labels. To get a similar experience, sign up for, youtube and a decent download site such as 7digital. This way you get full tracks, cheap downloads, videos and a better community. Sure both options have their advantages and disadvantages, but honestly? I don’t see any point in wasting time with an application (Thats going to eat up your drive space where you could put your music…) when you can do everything it offers else where and without the need for an invite code.

Verdict: Could be good, but doesn’t look like it is happening any time soon.


I am in no way supported or otherwise affiliated with the companies mentioned. This review is independent and not biased.

Copyright © 2012 John Tiernan - All Rights Reserved
Jarrah theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress

Page optimized by WP Minify WordPress Plugin