The Amprobe AM-560 is a good alternative to more expensive multimeters for those involved in HVAC work. Classed as an advanced HVAC DMM, it can measure all the important ranges quite accurately, including micro-amps for gauging flame sensors, and also boasts dual temperature inputs. The AM-560 is one of the top models of Amprobe’s 500 Series. It comes with more functionality and accuracy levels than most of the others and is well priced.
- AC/DC voltage to 1000V, current to 10A
- Resistance to 60MΩ
- Capacitance from 60nF
- Frequency to 60MHz
- Micro-amps on AC and DC
- Basic DC volts accuracy: 0.5%
- Dual temperature inputs
- 6,000-count, backlit display
- Low-pass filter for variable frequency drive measurements
- Non-contact voltage sensor
- Data hold and peak hold
- MAX/MIN to pick up fluctuations
- CAT-IV 8kV surge protection at 600V
- Dimensions: 7.2 (182mm) x 3.5 (90mm) x 1.8 (45mm)
- Weight: 0.78lb (354g) – including battery
- Meter and leads
- 9V battery
- Temperature thermocouples and adaptor
- Velcro strap
- Carry case
- User manual (online pdf)
In-depth Review of the Amprobe AM-560
Along with high current and voltage ranges, the AM-560 also has good capacitance, resistance and frequency ranges. In addition is a low-pass filter on the AC range to allow users to measure the voltage and frequency on variable drives. A non-contact voltage sensor and handy flashlight add to the functionality.
Motor startup capacitors can easily be checked with the AM-560; the capacitance range goes between 60nF and 60mF. Some of the other values include current from 600μA to 10A, voltage up to 1,000V, and temperature to 1832°F.
This is an auto ranging as well as a manual ranging multimeter, giving those used to more hands-on (and quicker response times) greater flexibility. Other functions include a diode test that puts out 2.8V, a continuity beeper, duty cycle range and even a built-in flashlight.
Temperature: You have two inputs on the AM-560, with two thermocouples included. The screen can display two sets of measurements. Regards HVAC work, you could monitor the high and low pressure temperatures of the refrigerant lines, or ambient and discharge temperatures, for example.
Modes: A peak hold feature allows you to freeze the value of a voltage or current surge, while MAX/MIN stores high and low readings. The dual screen feature can then display a current (now) value against a stored value in relative mode.
|AC voltage||6V / 1000V||±(1.0%+3) @ 6-600V||1mV-1V|
|Low-pass filter||6V / 1000V||±(2.0%+40) @ 45-200Hz||0.001V-1V|
|DC voltage||600mV / 1000V||±(0.5%+2) @ 6-600V||0.1mV-1V|
|AC current||60mA / 10A||±(2.0%+5) @ 10A||10μA-10mA|
|AC micro-amps||600μA / 6000μA||±(1.2%+5)||0.1μA-1μA|
|DC current||60mA / 10A||±(1.2%+3) @ 60mA-500mA||10μA-10mA|
|DC micro-amps||600μA / 6000μA||±(1.0%+2)||0.1μA-1μA|
|Resistance||600Ω / 60MΩ||±(1.0%+2) @ 6-600kΩ||0.1Ω-10kΩ|
|Capacitance||60nF / 60mF||±(3.0%+5) @ 600nF-60μF||10pF-10μF|
|Frequency||60Hz / 60MHz||±(0.1%+3)||0.01Hz-10kHz|
|Duty cycle||10% to 90%||±(1.2%+30) @ 5-2kHz||0.01%|
|Temperature °F||-40°F to 1832°F||±(1.0%+12) @ 104-752°F||2°F|
|Temperature °C||-40°C to 1000°C||±(2.0%+8) @ -40°-40°C||1°C|
|AC ranges: 45-400Hz|
Design and Build
This is a standard looking multimeter with an integral rubber holster and a solid case. Dial, buttons and jack sockets are well engineered, and attached to the rear is a kickstand that is a part of the battery compartment lid. Test lead storage is built in, while access to the fuses is unfortunately via disassembly. Along with a voltage detector, the Amprobe AM-560 sports an LED flashlight, which can come in very handy when wedged inside an HVAC unit or under a car.
Display: The AM-560 has a higher resolution screen than most other meters in this series. It is 6,000-count, with a bright backlight and a dual display function. Aside from displaying two temperature values, it is good for showing voltage and frequency. The 500 Series is also generally praised for the clarity and sharpness of its display and there is a fast-responding bar graph for picking up noisy signals.
This meter does lose some marks on its facade in general, however, with the high amount of functions making it a bit cluttered.
Function and Performance
This is not a terribly fast meter when in auto-ranging mode, and the continuity checker and capacitance ranges are also fairly sluggish. You will find more speed when measuring in manual ranging mode. Among the special functions of the AM-560 HVAC multimeter are a low-pass filter and peak max recording. It will also power off automatically after about 15 minutes of non-use and there is an improper lead connection warning as well as a low battery warning.
This meter is rated CAT-III to 1,000V and CAT-IV to 600V. This signifies that it has the input protection to cope with surges up to 8kV at these test (to ground) energies. Category III is good for fault finding on building installations, to include distribution boards, bus-bars, socket outlets, AC units, switches, cables, and so on. Category IV can test source low-voltage systems.
Both fuses are the larger, high rupture capacity type, rated to 0.5A (for the milliamp/micro-amp circuit) and 11A (for the high current 10A circuit). While pricey to replace, HRC fuses are the de facto, best in the business.
Pluses and Minuses
Amprobe AM-560 PROS
- Measures all ranges
- Separate micro-amp, milliamp ranges
- Voltage detector
- Dual temperature range
- Dual display screen
- Built-in torch
- Low-pass filter (AC voltage)
- Sharp, backlit display
- Auto power-down
- Quite sluggish
- Voltage sensor has short detecting range
- Average RMS
- Made in China
Although made in China and fairly slow in auto range, the Amprobe AM-560 review reveals a good DMM for HVAC professionals. It has all measurement ranges, including high and low current (plus micro-amps), high voltage and wide capacitance and frequency. Temperature can be measured from two sources and displayed simultaneously, plus it has a non-contact volts detector, peak hold and an LED torch.
Alternatives: If you want to also measure variable AC drives more accurately, the AM-570 is a True RMS responding meter that can also detect ghost voltages with its low impedance mode. The AM-520 is another HVAC alternative for those with a lower budget.