This is an everyday mini digital multimeter with standard ranges – voltage, current, resistance – and several other useful inputs. It is able to test and diagnose an array of faults, such as wiring issues in the home, car audio installations and circuit board component checks, though is not equipped to handle heavy duty work. While fairly basic, this Etekcity MSR-R500 review reveals that it has manual ranging, so may not suit complete novices.
- Max 500V AC/DC – rated CAT-I to 600V, CAT-II to 300V
- Resistance to 200MΩ
- DC current to 10A (temporary)
- Backlit display
- Hold function
- Common continuity / diode range
- Manual ranging
- Size (inches/mm): 5.1 (130) x 2.9 (74) x 1.4 (36)
- Weight (ounces/grams): 10.4 (295)
- Probe Leads
- MSR-R500 manual
- 9V battery
In-depth Review of the Etekcity MSR-R500
Along with AC/DC current, AC/DC voltage and resistance, this palm-sized multimeter can also test continuity and produce square waveforms (to 50Hz). It has a buzzer for the shared continuity and diode check function. However, its manual ranging selector dial means you will have to switch to the nearest anticipated higher value to perform a measurement.
|DC voltage||5 ranges (200mV / 500V)||±(0.5%+2) @ 200V|
|AC voltage||2 ranges (200V / 500V)||±(1.2%+10)|
|DC current||4 ranges (2000μA / 10A)||±(1.2%+2) @ 200mA|
|Resistance||6 ranges (200Ω / 200MΩ)||±(0.8%+2) @ 20KΩ|
* NOTE: it can only measure short bursts up 10A (10 seconds max), after which it must be allowed to rest for at least 15 minutes.
Accuracy of this compact Etekcity multimeter is around 1%, which is okay considering the price. Bear in mind, however, that the higher current and resistance ranges get progressively more inaccurate.
Interface and Functions
There is an attractive, clear display which updates two or three times per second. The dial is large and the buttons easy to operate, although the various ranges might be confusing at first for non-electricians. They are sectioned off but are all one color.
NOTE: the black lead always goes into the common jack socket, labeled ‘COM’, which is red on this meter. Only the red lead moves between the main (central) socket and the DC 10A socket.
There is no auto ranging, so you have to select the right range yourself – an over limit (OL) symbol will be displayed if you get it wrong when testing amps, volts or ohms of a circuit above a given range setting. A particularly useful extra is the hold function. Pressing this while recording a measurement will lock the value until the button is re-pressed.
There is also a useful sleep mode on the R500, which automatically kicks in after 30 minutes of not being used. At the base are the three jack sockets, right to left: Common / Main Terminal / DC 10A.
Build Quality, Protection
Although the MSR-R500 is a base test meter, it doesn’t feel cheap and is quite nicely put together. The dial is large and it is protected by a rubber holster. It is easy to grip in the hand and also features a pop-out kickstand for hands-free operation. The Hold and Backlight buttons are straightforward and prominent.
The MSR-R500 is fitted with a rubber sleeve, which protects the multimeter to an extent from bumps and falls. The main probe terminal has overload protection to 200mA, though the DC 10A circuit is un-fused. Maximum time is thus limited to a few seconds at a maximum amperage of 10A. In fact, testing this high a current is not advised at all.
Best suited to: electricians can get by with this multimeter for general purpose work or as a backup, although it is mainly aimed at DIYers for domestic trouble-shooting, or for basic electronics. Auto electricians and trainees will also find this useful. Although those with little experience of electrics might find the dial a bit overwhelming at first, a decent instruction manual is packaged with it.
Etekcity MSR-R500 Pros and Cons
- Small and lightweight
- Fairly accurate
- Display is backlit
- Nice flip out stand
- Hold feature
- Continuity buzzer
- Low battery indicator
- 9V battery included
- Attractive price
- Manual ranging only
- Limited current measuring capacity
- No AC amperage range
This Etekcity MSR-R500 review details a good, affordable multimeter for the home and workplace. Although not bursting with features and high current-measuring capacity, it doesn’t pretend to be anything else and covers the essentials well. An entry-level test meter, it is good for deciphering broken wiring circuits, checking mains voltage, battery checks and a raft of other essential electrical tests.
As an alternative, Etekcity’s MSR-P600 is also popular and is a similar price.