The TekPower TP9605BT is a fully-functional DMM, good for occasional use for both electrical and electronic work. It’s main plus point is its RS232 Bluetooth connectivity ability, which lets it data log and transmit the info to a computer or smartphone. The inclusion of a temperature sensor and thermocouple allows people to monitor and record temperature as well as current, voltage, duty cycles, and so on.
This is a True RMS multimeter, so you can accurately measure AC signals that have a disrupted sine wave. It is also auto-ranging, making it good for beginners who might not know much about electrics to set the correct range, and there are several useful modes to go with the 6000-count backlit display.
- True RMS
- RS232 data logging
- Smartphone compatible
- Measures all current ranges
- Measures AC / DC millivolts
- Measures Celsius and Fahrenheit
- Auto and manual ranging
- CATIII 600v safety rated
- 6000-count display
- Backlit screen
- Auto power-off function
- Size: 7″ (178mm) x 4″ (102mm) x 1.5″ (38)
- Weight: 12oz (340g)
- TP9506BT multimeter
- Optical / USB cable
- Data logger software
- Type-K thermocouple
- Test leads
- User brochure
Complete TekPower TP9605BT Review
TekPower is an up and coming firm that produces a large range of cheaper electrical measuring equipment, including DMMs, clamp meters, testers and accessories. The TP9605BT is fairly unusual in that it is a full digital multimeter, with data logging thrown in. It will plug directly into a computer via USB as well as connect via Bluetooth. An Android app can be downloaded to a smartphone and the info then shared and emailed.
As for the multimeter functioning itself, it is quite substantial, with the ability to measure AC/DC to 10A, albeit temporarily. The voltage rating is to 600V, CATIII, but it is better for lower energy circuits that you would find in the home and light industry. There are more capable CATIV meters for plant maintenance.
You can also measure milliamps and micro-amps, frequency to 10Mhz, as well as capacitance in ranges between 1nF – 100mF. There are also several resistance ranges, up to a pretty high 60MΩ. Duty cycle measures a device’s load/no load ratio, and there is a timely continuity checker together with a diode checker.
While this is an automatic ranging DMM, it is fairly slow across most ranges, in particular when analyzing big capacitors. The TP9605BT can, however, be switched over to manual ranging mode for quicker results (on most ranges). In addition is a relative mode that lets you zero out the meter, as well as a Min/Max mode for changing signals.
BASIC RANGES / ACCURACY
AC voltage – to 60V: ±1%. Max – up to 600V: ±1.5%
DC voltage – to 60V: ±0.2%. Max – to 600V: ±0.3%
AC current – to 600mA: ±1.5%. Max – to 10A (15s): ±2%
DC current – to 400mA: ± 1.2%. Max – to 10A: ±2%
Resistance – to 6MΩ: ±0.2%. Max – to 60MΩ: ±1%
Capacitance – range: 1nF / 100mF: ±5%
Frequency – range: 10Hz / 10MHz: ±0.1%
Duty cycle – 0.1% to 99.9%: ±2%
Diode test – 2.8V
Temp – -58°F / -50°C to 1292°F / 700°C: ~±5%
Accuracies stated here omit count/digit offset figures and may display differently than the ‘±’ percentage alone. This device will also need to undergo periodic calibration.
With the TekPower TP9605BT data logging feature, you can monitor numerous things, such as power draw on a car, temperature of an oven or fridge, log voltage peaks, etc. A temperature sensor is included with the meter and will measure both scales, Fahrenheit and Celsius.
To access the meter, you connect via USB or use Bluetooth to your phone (along with associated Android app). Data can then be displayed as a list or in chart form and be emailed off as an Excel file or shared on social networks. While it all works well in theory, the sample rate is quite limiting and the Windows software is a bit temperamental. Also, the USB connector is weak.
TekPower multimeters are Chinese-made, but the TP9605BT is quite sturdy with a firm case and a tight-fitting rubber boot. It has an independent battery case on the rear and is held together by screw/nutsert fixings. The test probes are also of fair quality.
Some may feel the plasticky enclosure should perhaps be more substantial for the price of the meter, but it is nonetheless quite tough. It is best to avoid comparing these types of devices with the top brands, like Fluke or Agilent, as these are in a different league and spec, not to mention price.
Display and Labels
The display is 6000-count and while it has good resolution, it is quite washed out and faded. In short, there are much better displays out there at this price range. There is a backlight, however. It’s a bit of a hassle to turn it on, plus it turns itself off again after about 20 seconds to conserve the battery.
The rest of the multimeter interface seems cluttered. The resistance input range is overrun with ranges and the buttons and jack sockets could be clearer. The gimmicky labels are a bit over the top also, and the yellow buttons might throw off some as they look related to the similarly-colored ranges. But this is all cosmetics and does not take away from the overall workings of the device.
Function and Performance
Volts, millivolts, amps, milliamps and micro-amps all have their own input stations, but you’ll need to switch between AC and DC. Resistance is shared with continuity, the diode checker and capacitance, which could get a bit fiddly for intense electronics work.
The eight-position input dial selector (10 with the two ‘OFF’ stations) is cheap to the touch, though is nicely recessed to help protect it from drops. Extra ranges on a given input position – or for when changing AC to DC – is achieved by pressing the SELECT button.
The TP9605BT comes with an auto-shutoff, which should shut it down after around 15 minutes of inactivity. Be aware that if it is busy logging data, or is hooked up to a circuit while values are changing, it will rightly remain on.
SELECT: change dial’s selected range, and AC / DC
Hz/DUTY: monitor duty cycle
MAX/MIN: show high and low values of measured signal
RANGE: change between auto ranging and manual ranging
H/backlight: lock (Hold) onscreen value / turn on display backlight
REL/RS232: relative zero mode / data logging mode
There are four inputs, plus the data logging input on the rear. Configuration of the jack inputs differs from most multimeters, with the current/voltage sockets reversed.
V/Ω/Hz/Temp etc (main terminal – red)
COM (common – black)
μA/mA (micro-amps/milliamps – red)
10A (10 amp – red)
The safety rating of this meter is category III to 600V. This makes it okay for mains work, and even three phase systems, although it can only test to 10A in short bursts (maximum 15s). After this it must rest for 15 minutes before resuming testing current. Testing sockets, switches, lights and panel boards, as well as electronic circuitry, are all within the scope of the TekPower TP9605BT.
Both the milliamp/micro-amp and the main amp circuits are fused, with 800mA and 10A fast fuses respectively. Both of these circuits can handle 600V AC / DC. The probe leads are of okay quality and are booted.
This tester also has a useful warning system in place, such that if you plug the leads into the wrong input and try to test on the incorrect range, it will beep and throw up a warning.
Pros and Cons of the TekPower TP9605BT
- Auto ranging multimeter
- True RMS AC measurements
- Measures all main ranges
- Suite of functions usually found on more expensive tools
- USB / Bluetooth data logger
- Temperature sensor
- Category III rated
- Accuracy pretty good
- Backlit display
- Possible battery drain on prolonged data logging
- Slow refresh rate
- Flimsy USB connector
- Software could be better
As a general purpose multimeter, the TekPower TP9605BT is known for its functionality and is aimed at amateurs and professionals. Though it looks a bit cheap and is slow when in auto-ranging mode, as a multimeter-cum-simple data logger, it is pretty good value. It can measure all the standard inputs that most meters can, including amps, micro-amps and capacitance, and also does temperature.
Connectivity to smartphones and PCs is via USB cable or Bluetooth, from where you can automatically log and record data on the fly. If you don’t need the Bluetooth option, the TP4000ZC does much the same and would save you money. To make the TP9605BT even better, consider purchasing higher quality test probes to ensure cleaner measurements.