The Proster VC99 is a value for money multimeter for occasional use, or as a basic spare for professionals. An auto-ranging meter that measures all the voltage and current criteria, it also has a temperature range and can test transistors.
As a full size meter with most ranges and several modes, it performs quite well and can measure to 20A (timed), but is best for lower energy work since it has a low category rating and ships with glass fuses.
- Measures DC and AC voltage to 1000V
- Measures DC and AC current to 20A
- Measures capacitance, frequency and duty cycle
- Resistance to 60MΩ
- Micro-amps and milliamps
- Temperature input
- Transistor, continuity & diode tests
- Auto power-off
- Weight: 290g
- Size: 185mm x 93mm x 35mm
- AAA batteries (2)
- Temperature probe
- Basic user manual
- Carry bag
In-depth Review of the Proster VC99
The Proster VC99, or Vichy VC99, aspires somewhat to the legendary Fluke 17B and is often OEM’d through other manufacturers such as Signstek. It is an auto-ranging meter by default, though has a range feature to change it to a manual ranging device.
Given the price, there should be little expectation of super-fast ranging. It is okay for this price point, however, and can also detect current polarity. Speed can be increased when measuring by selecting manual range, which may be especially beneficial in capacitance and resistance modes.
Modes: There is Max/Min, which lets you see the high and low points of a signal; a relative mode will display the difference between a stored value and present value; while data hold freezes the display. The Range button swaps from auto ranging to manual ranging.
Transistor hFE: Although having this feature on cheaper meters is often a sure sign of the manufacturer trying to make the device appear feature-packed, it is what it is and this option may come in handy for those into electronics. Transistors are inserted into the test device, or you can test in-situ via the probes.
|DC voltage||600mV / 1000V||±(0.5%+3) @ 600mV-600V||0.1mV-1V|
|AC voltage||6V / 1000V||±(0.8%+5) @ 6V-750V||1mV-1V|
|DC current||600µA / 20A||±(1.0%+3) @ 600µA-600mA||0.1µA-10mA|
|AC current||600µA / 20A||±(2.0%+10) @ 6A||0.1µA-1mA|
|Resistance||600Ω / 60MΩ||±(0.8%+3) @ 6kΩ-6MΩ||0.1Ω-10kΩ|
|Capacitance||40nF / 2000uF||±(2.5%+5) @ 400nF-40µF||10pF-1µF|
|Frequency||100Hz / 60MHz||±(0.5%+4)||0.01Hz-10kHz|
|Temperature °F||0 to 1832||±(1.2%+3)||1°F|
|Temperature °C||-40 to 1000||±(0.75%+3)||1°C|
This level of accuracy is about on par with similar meters, and even those of more established brands, such as some of the Extechs and Amprobes. While it may appear to have the accuracy of some of the Flukes, over time that may change, where an average Fluke can stay within tolerance for years.
This is a full size meter, larger than most of the budget devices. It might feel a bit cheap, though is enclosed by a nice, rubber boot. A so-so stand is attached to the rear so that it can be used hands free.
Of the circuit board, solder quality and lack of higher end components lets it down – such as Jack sockets soldered directly to the board – though one has to take the price into consideration. Overall, build quality is okay but not up to Extech or Klein standard.
Interface and Function
The display is perhaps the Proster VC99’s most impressive feature. Digits are tall and clear and it has a resolution to 6000 counts. Refresh rate is to about three times per second. There is also a responsive, analog-type bar graph below the main display, though unfortunately the VC99 lacks a backlight.
Although it is fused to 20A, the VC99 only has the capacity to test this kind of current for a few seconds before it warms up and/or blows a fuse. As far as the batteries go, it uses efficient AAAs as opposed to standard (in many meters) 9V batteries. An auto power-off function kicks in after 15 minutes of not being used, while low battery indication provides a warning at around 2.4V.
Glass fuses protect the current inputs, 600mA and 10A. You may want to upgrade these to safer, more expensive HRC-type fuses, which offer more protection. Category rating is 1000V to CAT-II, and the leads to CAT-III 600V. This suggests lower energy surge protection, so the Proster VC99 should not be used in high power situations.
Pros and Cons
- Full size
- Good feature-set
- Includes temperature probe
- Measures micro-amps
- Slow auto range on capacitance
- Continuity tests quite slow
- No backlight
- Low category rating
Considered a budget- to lower-mid-level meter, the Proster VC99 is a reasonable quality device. It is ideal for those with lower budgets that are into standard, lower voltage work and/or electronics. It comes with a nice display – albeit one that is not backlit – and okay probes.
Alternatives: The VC97 is minus the bar graph and has a lower res screen. The Amprobe AM-520 offers similar features and more reliability but is more expensive.