The Mastech MS8229 is a budget, Chinese-made multimeter with many extra functions. A very useful tester for the money, it can measure most electrically-based criteria along with levels of light, sound, humidity and temperature. Especially useful for DIY-type work, it is good for both home electrics and electronics.
Despite erring towards the budget end, the MS8229 is quite ruggedly built and has fairly consistent, average accuracy specs. It is also insulated to category III safety rating and would stand up to a certain amount of testing in a light industrial environment. Above all, it is easy to use, with its clear display, auto ranging feature and jack input indicators.
- Tests up to 10A
- Measures milliamps and micro-amps
- Measures capacitance and frequency
- Auto / manual ranging
- Extra functions: light, sound, humidity, temperature
- 4000-count, backlit display
- Continuity Buzzer
- Diode checker
- Data hold
- Auto power-off
- Safety rated to CATIII (600V) / CATII (1000V)
- Size: 7.7″ (195mm) x 3.6″ (92mm) x 2.2″ (55mm)
- Weight: 14oz (400g)
- Probe leads
- Thermocouple probe
- Batteries: x3 AAA
More MS8229 Details
The MS8229 is a multimeter that can measure sound, light, humidity and temperature. An upgrade of the popular 8209, it also has several other nice touches, such as jack socket warning lights, a backlit screen and a manual ranging option.
A nice plus with the Mastech MS8229 is the addition of the milliamp and micro-amps ranges, which will suit those wanting to test electronic circuitry. There is no dedicated millivolts input, though it does measure into this range on voltage settings. All dial positions have various ranges that can be selected with the manual ranging button. Capacitance does lack a higher range, however.
Along with its additional functions, the MS8229 also comes with a relative mode. This is good for comparing the value with a previously stored value by zeroing the meter and watching the displacement. This is also useful for testing delicate circuitry as it allows you to zero out the natural resistance in the probe leads.
BASIC RANGES / ACCURACY
AC voltage – to 400V: ±(0.8% +3cts). Max – 750V: ±(1% +3cts)
DC voltage – to 1000V: ±(0.7% +2cts)
AC current – to 400mA: ±(1.5% +5cts). Max – to 10A: ±(3% +10cts)
DC current – to 400mA: ±(1.2% +3cts). Max – to 10A: ±(2% +10cts)
Resistance (5 ranges) – to 4MΩ: ±(1.2% +2cts). Max – to 40MΩ: ±(2% +5cts)
Capacitance (5 ranges) – to 40nF: ±(3% +3cts)
Frequency (5 ranges) – to 199.9kHz: ±~2%
Duty cycle – 0.1% to 99.9%: ±3%
Temperature – -4°F / -20°C to 1832°F / -1000°C: ±~1-5%
Humidity – 20% to 95%: ±5%
Sound – 35db to 100db: ±3.5%
Luminosity – 4000Lux to 40000Lux: ±(5% +10cts)
Diode checker: 1.5V
Most users won’t be overly concerned with accuracy levels. It is generally more important that the meter be consistent and give a fairly good level of accuracy. Assured levels of accuracy are typically only seen on expensive multimeters.
You can measure light intensity to 40000 LUX with the Mastech MS8229. There are two ranges, a basic and a x10 range. The lux-meter is not as accurate as standalone devices. Lux meters explained.
Measures between 20 and 95% relative humidity.
Measures decibel levels between 40db and 100db. Good for checking anything from the level of sound coming out of a home stereo system to fire alarm coverage and in regards to personal protective equipment. It would be better if the decibel range was higher.
The MS8229 has a temperature sensor on the top of the unit for quick measurements, as well as a plug-in type-k thermocouple probe for direct analysis of a variety of systems.
Although Chinese made, this Mastech multimeter has a rugged construction and is quite surprising in its quality. Attention to detail is good and it holds its own against other devices in this price bracket. The Chinese are masters at producing decent quality devices for a fraction the price; just don’t expect Fluke quality.
Together with a pleasing exterior, there is also a separate battery/fuse compartment on the rear. The circuit board is clean and well soldered, though has an array of potentiometers for calibration.
Display and Labels
The screen is one of the clearest in this price bracket, with legible digits and all icons and labels shown. The display is a 4000-count (3999 digit) version, which can go to 39.99V before it drops back a decimal point. Although there’s no bar graph, there is a backlight. Screen sample rate is about 2.5 times a second, which is okay.
The rest of the interface is fairly uncluttered, with a series of straightforward buttons under the display and a well engineered dial selector in the center. Although not color-coded, the dial’s positions are clearly labeled, along with the four jack sockets at the bottom.
Function and Performance
Most voltage / current range positions are shared between AC and DC, with the ‘additional’ multimeter functions (sound, light, etc) typically having their own input. Resistance, capacitance, continuity and the diode checker all share the same input position, selectable with the SELECT button.
There is an auto power-off function, which kicks in at around 30 minutes of not being used. In addition is an incorrect input plug warning. All jack ports have LED lights around them, so that if you plug into the wrong one and have the selector on a different range position, it will light up and also beep.
Considering the number of functions, the Mastech MS8229 is a decent performer. While auto ranging could be quicker, there is the option to go manual and select individual ranges. Capacitance is particularly slow.
REL: zero, relative mode
RANGE: change auto to manual ranging
SELECT: change selected input range (where available) on the dial
°C/°F: switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit on TEMP
HOLD/B.L: Hold display value / backlight
Hz/DUTY: switch between frequency, duty cycle
10A (10 amp – red)
μA/mA (temperature, micro-amps/milliamps – red)
COM (common – black)
V/Ω/Hz/Cap etc (main terminal – red)
The toughened case of the MS8229 is protected by an integrated rubber boot, which features probe holders on the rear. The main power (AC/DC fuse) is accessed by the battery compartment on the rear. This both offers ease of replacement as well as protect the circuit board, which is where the milliamps fuse is located.
Fuses: standard glass on the 400mA circuit and a ceramic, quick blow 10A fuse on the main 10A circuit. Maximum voltage is 750V AC, 1000V DC. CAT rating is level III to 600V and level II to 1000V.
Range overload: the various input ranges are also protected by an over limit, seen as ‘OL’ onscreen.
Mastech MS8229 Pros and Cons
- Loads of features
- Fairly accurate on V, Ω, Hz and temperature
- Clear display
- Good battery life
- Easy to use
- LEDs on input jacks
- Decent quality probe leads
- Slow auto-ranging
- Capacitance slow and inaccurate
- Continuity fairly slow
- Quiet buzzer
- Decibel range could be higher
It may not be the most reliable and accurate multimeter brand out there, but this Mastech MS8229 has a lot of plus points. It is pretty loaded with features and will work very well in the home, garage and even in some industries.
If you need to measure sound or light, as well as voltage and current, this thing is a steal. The quality is approaching that of similarly spec’d Amprobes, while Cen-Tech has a similar, rebadged version.