The Fluke 279 FC is a multimeter-cum infrared thermal imager. A first in the world of multimeters, it can read most electrical ranges and also detect electrical issues and record them. This two-in-one tool, though pricey, saves time and increases productivity, with no need to mess around with separate devices.
You can detect everything from problems with wires and fuses, to circuit boards, motors, control panels and switches. No sooner than you pick up excessive heat, you can get to work with the multimeter to further diagnose and rectify the issue. Fluke Connect lets you export the data to your smartphone and then share.
- Thermal imaging to diagnose electrical issues
- Multimeter with 15 measurement functions
- Safety rated to CAT-III 1000V, CAT-IV 600V
- Includes capacitance and frequency
- Can measure current with optional iFlex loop
- Smartphone connectivity (with Fluke Connect)
- Rechargeable lithium ion battery
- Auto power-off and dimmable screen
- Durable, drop-tested to 10ft
- Size: 8.5″ (216mm) x 3.7″ (94mm) x 2.6″ (57mm)
- Weight: 1.75lb (794g)
- Infrared multimeter and holster
- Lithium ion battery
- Battery charger
- Three year warranty
279 user manual (pdf)
Extras: iFlex current clamp, hanging strap, carry case
In-depth Review of the Fluke 279 FC
The DMM itself is fully featured, with more than a dozen functions, to include AC and DC voltage to 1000V, resistance to 50MΩ, capacitance to 9999µF, and Frequency. There is also of course a continuity checker, which is latching and fast, along with a 2V diode test function.
Unfortunately the 279 does not measure amps directly within the multimeter, but you can do so with the addition of the iFlex current clamp. This flexible loop will measure up to a whopping 2500A of AC current and display results on the meter. It is pricey, however.
The meter also has several useful modes and features. Chief among these is the Min/Max/Avg mode, for the automatic capture of upper and lower variations in signals. There is also a low-pass filter for better deciphering AC signals. The temperature range is from 14°F to 392°F and wireless connectivity (2.4GHz ISM) to roughly 65 feet.
The Fluke 279 FC wireless thermal multimeter is also a True RMS measuring device, so you can accurately analyze non-linear voltage and current signals.
Best Suited To?: Plant maintenance engineers will benefit greatly with this tool, where one could quickly analyze motors, compressors, panel boards, tap-off service boxes, etc. Or tradesmen in any setting where efficiency and productivity are essential.
|AC voltage||600mV / 1000V||±(1.0%+3) @ 45-60Hz||0.1mV-1V|
|AC millivolts||600mV||±(1.0%+3) @ 45-500Hz||0.1mV|
|DC voltage||6V / 1000V||±(0.09%+2) @ 6-600V||0.001-1V|
|AC current (iFlex)||1A / 2500A||±(3.0%+5) @ 45-500Hz||1A|
|Resistance||600Ω / 50MΩ||±(0.5%+1) @ 6-600kΩ||0.1Ω-0.01MΩ|
|Capacitance||1000nF / 9999µF||±(1.2%+2) @ 1000nF-100µF||1nF-1µF|
|Frequency||99.99Hz / 999.9Hz||±(0.1%+1)||0.01-0.1Hz|
|Infrared||14°F / -10°C to 392°F / 200°C||±5%|
The camera is cleverly built into the multimeter and works like any other thermal imaging gun, by detecting heat. It will quickly pick up hot spots from a distance – denoting over-voltage or mechanical issues – making it perfectly safe for the user. This is not really for thermal analysis, however, more for detecting problems, which you can then check with the multimeter.
|Resolution||80 x 60|
|Field of View||36° (width) x 27° (height)|
|Temperature range||14°F - 392°F (°F and °C)|
|Infrared spectral band||7.5 - 14 microns|
|Image capture frequency||8Hz|
|Noise equivalent temperature diff (NETD)||≤200mK|
|Fixed focus mechanism||yes|
|Center point temp||yes|
|Fixed background compensation||68°F|
|File format||non-radiometric .is2|
|Memory storage||~100 images|
The FC in the 279 stands for Fluke Connect. This connects the multimeter with smartphones (via Bluetooth), which can be monitored remotely. With this, you can then troubleshoot and trend the data, or create an email and report in-situ. You can also stream live video through ShareLive, which is a part of Fluke Connect, as well as draw graphs in real-time.
You will need to download the app for all this to work, or download the software to PC to analyze from your computer. Also, although it states the wireless distance at 20ft, this is when there are no obstructions. Have the DMM inside a control panel board or behind a wall and the range is significantly less.
The Fluke 279 FC is assembled in the USA, like most of their other top of the range multimeters. It is built with quality plastics and protected by a durable rubber holster which has the kickstand built into it. It has also been ANSI drop tested and is double insulated to boot. The rechargeable lithium ion battery is accessed on the rear via a swivel clip. More on general specs…
Display and Interface
The 3.5″ color LCD display is one of the best in the business and works beautifully in low light conditions. With 80×60 image resolution, the clarity is pretty amazing and it updates four times per second. Screen count is 6000 (3 ¾ digit) on voltage, current and resistance, 1000-count on capacitance and 10000-count on frequency. A useful extra on the display would have been the inclusion of a bar graph.
The flashy display is the main selling point of the 279 FC and it covers much of the top half. The rest of the meter is more traditional with a central dial selector, several buttons and two standard jack sockets (no inboard amperage inputs). Button and dial labels are clear and self explanatory.
Function and Performance
The dial has all the electrical measurement ranges, with AC and DC voltage having separate positions. Resistance and continuity are also separated, keeping clutter to a minimum, while the infrared camera and iFlex amp loop also have their own range positions.
Battery: it is lithium ion as opposed to standard alkaline batteries, since the 279 draws a lot more power than your average multimeter on account of the infrared camera and color display. It is rechargeable and will last for around 10 hours under standard working conditions. Unfortunately, you have to open up the back and remove the battery every time you want to charge up.
HOLD: freezes the value
MIN/MAX: automatically get high and low values
RANGE: changes between auto and manual ranging, steps between ranges
Select: selects optional range on a given position
Backlight: change display light intensity
SETUP: opens setup menu
SAVE: saves image
F: connectivity to smartphone (via Fluke Connect)
Power: powers on and off
With SETUP you can control several aspects and functions of the Fluke 279, such as disabling the beeper, backlight dimming, change temperature units, manage the image memory, see about calibration, and read device info.
As there is no amp measuring circuit, there are just the two jack inputs: COM (common) and the main terminal (voltage, resistance, capacitance, diode check etc). There is a third, smaller COM socket, which is how the optional iFlex clamp loop hooks up.
The meter is completely encased (around the back and edges) in Fluke’s trademark yellow rubber shroud. The shroud, or boot, is raised around the screen also, which protects it from facedown drops.
ANSI drop tested to 9.8ft (3m)
The circuit board has input protection and is safety rated to 1000V (category III) and 600V (category IV). It is thus safe in industry for three phase testing on control boards and motors, as well as to the incoming supply.
Fluke 279 vs 289 Differences
Other than both having a large screen and similar model names, these meters have little in comparison aside from price. The 279 is an infrared multimeter, while the 289 is a multimeter with data logging capability.
Pros and Cons
- Great functionality – combined infrared detector / multimete
- Fabulous color display
- Good resolution
- Center point infrared imaging
- Can record remotely with Fluke Connect/smartphone
- Good level of accuracy on multimeter ranges
- Powerful lithium ion battery
- High amperage range (with separate tool)
- Awkward battery charging system
- Only around 10 hours battery life on full charge
- Probe leads could be better, not silicone
- No inboard amps range
- Optional iFlex amp loop for measuring amps expensive
- Can’t show saved infrared images (need to upload to phone/PC)
The Fluke 279 FC review isn’t without its issues, such as the hassle with charging the battery and when measuring amps, but having an infrared camera built in with a multimeter is a bonus. You also have the ability to send data and images to phones and computers with the included Fluke Connect. Then there is the accurate and reliable multimeter itself which has most measurement ranges.
Alternatively: to save money, there are cheaper 6000-count multimeters available and cheaper infrared guns, but then you miss out on the benefits of having it all in one unit, as well as the reliability of this top brand.
iFlex i2500 current probe
Spare 3000mAh lithium-ion battery