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Zenith 5-S-29
StevenJohnson.com

Vintage Digital Multimeter Collection - DMMs
Vintage Digital meters that are worthy of note in my collection.

NLS 481 Digital Voltmeter Non-Linear Systems (NLS) Model 148
Digital Voltmeter

Non-Linear Systems produced the first digital display in 1953. This early NLS 148 digital voltmeter utilizes the "NLS Edge Lit Display". This unit is rack mountable and weighs in around 30 pounds. Working examples with these early edge lit displays are not common. I usually only run across one about once or twice a year.

Larger Photo
Chassis and Relays
Edge Lit Display Tear Down
1960 Advertisement
YouTube Video of Display
My Non-Linear Systems Collection

NLS X-2 Nixie Tube DMM

More about Non-Linear Systems
Non-Linear Systems X-2 DMM
The NLS X-2 DMM was manufactured around 1967. Unlike NLS's first digital meters, the X-2 utilizes a nixie tube display. The display is made up of seven nixie tubes with the far left nixie tube signifying + (positive) or - (negative) and the far right nixie tube displaying AC, DC, K Ohms (ohms symbol), or MV. There were at least a couple different versions of the X-2 series. This X-2 has remote inputs and adjustable offset controls on the back but no cooling fan.
Larger Photo
Nixie Display
X-2 Back
Inside
Board Layout Diagram

NLS LM-4 DMM Non-Linear Systems LM-4 DMM
This NLS LM-4 DMM was manufactured around 1975. The LM-4 is AC powered and is only 2 1/2 inches wide. I was surprised to find this one unused and still in it's original box after 38 years. It is serial number 069. The meter's test leads use mini banana plugs. Non-Linear Systems manufactured the first digital readout meter in 1952.
Larger Photo
LED Display
Original Box
LM-4 Bottom
LM-4 Specifications Sheet

NLS Touch Test 20 Non-Linear Systems
Touch Test 20 DMM

The NLS Touch Test 20 came in two versions, an AC powered model TT-20 and an AC/Battery version model TT-20B. It measured AC, DC, Current, Temperature, and Capacitance with a 3½ digit LED display. The DMM measures 6 1/4" x 2 5/8" x 8" deep.
Larger Photo - Front
Larger Photo - Back
Larger Photo - Chassis

B&K 280 DMM B&K Precision model 280 DMM

The B&K Precision model 280 DMM was manufactured in the early 1970s by B&K Manufacturing Company. It has a LED display and is powered by 4 1.5 volt "C" batteries.
Larger Photo
Carry Case

Hioki 3208 Calculator and DMM Hioki 3208 Calcu Hi Tester

This Hioki model 3208 Calculator and DMM combination was sold around 1980. It's a unique combination of a calculator and Digital Multi-Meter (DMM) in one hand held unit. Not just both in the same package, the reading from the DMM will transfer to the calculator by pressing the shift key which allows formulas to be calculated using the readings directly from DMM.
The DMM section has ranges for AC/DC Volts, Ohms, and two milli-amp ranges. The DMM can be set to auto range and also has a zero adjust.
It's been labeled by some as "The Best Multi-meter Ever!" (referring to the combination of a calculator and handheld DMM in one package).
Larger Photo
Calculator Mode
w/Case, Probes and Manual
DMM/Calculator Display
Advertisment (PDF file)

Fluke 8020A, Fluke's First DMM
Fluke's first DMM - 1977

Fluke 8020A

The 8020A was Fluke's first hand held digital multi-meter. Its new more efficient LCD display allowed the battery to last up to 200 hours making this first Fluke DMM the meter of choice by field service technicians all over the world. Many other manufacturers copied the side pushbutton style for several years.
After replacing the dead battery I checked it for accuracy aginst my other Fluke handheld DMMs. It's still accurate after 36 years. What else would you expect from a Fluke?

Larger Photo
8020A DMM With Case
8020A Operator's Guide
Fluke DMM History

My Fluke 8020A (1977), 75(1980s), & 87V(2013)

Fluke 8020B
Fluke 8020B Digital Multimeter

Fluke 8020B

The handheld 8020B was the next model up from the original 8020A. In addition to the ranges of the 8020A, conductance and continuity were added.

Larger Photo
8020B DMM With Case

Fluke 75 DMM
Fluke 75 DMM - 1980s

Fluke 75

This Fluke 75 has seen more use than any other piece of test equipment on my bench or in my collection. I purchased it in the 1980s and it has been in the field, on my workbench, and still lives in the bottom of my tool case. It spent years on the road with me taping power for concert systems and troubleshooting sound system problems so the show could go on. I've trusted it with my life many times (and I'm still here).

The only problem I've had with it is the zipper case seems to be deteriorating. It could be the padding inside it is breaking down and creating some kind of dust after all these years that gets all over the meter and test leads.
75 With Case

My Fluke 8020A (1977), 75(1980s), & 87V(2013)

Fluke 8000A, Fluke 8800A
Flukes 8000 Series Bench Meters

Fluke 8000 Series Bench Meters

I use these two Fluke 8000 series meters on my workbench.
The 8000A (top) is 3½ digits and the 8800A (bottom) is 5½ digits.
Larger Photo

What is a half digit?

Why I Buy Flukes


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