The Uni Trend UNI-T UT61E is popular among hobbyists and those looking for a second standby multimeter. A True RMS multimeter, it is noted for its data logging function and 4½ digit display and is pretty precise considering the price point. It can measure volts, amps, ohms and even capacitance and frequency. Its high resolution, high resistance and frequency ranges, plus DC voltage default make it especially appealing to electronics enthusiasts.
The UT61E is also praised for its very fast continuity checker and is quite ruggedly built. Although it has a high category rating, this is more a meter for lower voltage tasks. There are several UT61s – A through E – with each having different functionality and a good level of accuracy.
- Data logger for monitoring signals
- Auto ranging and manual ranging
- 22000-count display
- Measures voltage and current
- Measures resistance and continuity
- Measures capacitance and frequency
- Relative mode for zeroing the leads
- Peak min/max automatically records high and low values
- Size: 7.1″ (180mm) x 3.4″ (87mm) x 1.85″ (47mm)
- Weight: 13oz (370g)
- Probe measurement leads
- 9V battery
- RS232 serial cable
- Multifunction adapter to test capacitors
- User manual, CD
In-depth Review of the UNI-T UT61E
UNI-T is a Chinese manufacturer (Uni Trend) and their multimeters are known the world over and have a healthy following. The UT61E is the top of the line of the UT61 Series and, while some of the cheaper manufacturers tend to put out junk, this generally has good accuracy and speed.
It is an auto ranging multimeter that can be switched over to manual ranging. Being a True RMS meter, you can measure variable AC drive outputs with better accuracy (over average responders). It also boasts a lightning fast continuity buzzer and a useful auto hold feature.
Another handy mode is the relative button, which can zero out the resistance in the probe leads, as well as compare a previously stored reading. You can also record high and low values with the Peak Min/Max mode, as well as check capacitance via an included adapter.
The main selling point for many is the impressive high resolution screen and the data logger. With it, you can monitor and log a variety of signals and further analyze them on a computer via the included serial cable – more below.
RANGES, BEST ACCURACY
DC voltage – 5 ranges (220mV / 1000V): ±(0.1%+5)
AC voltage – 5 ranges (220mV / 750V) @ 45Hz-1kHz: ±(0.8%+10)
DC current – 6 ranges (220µA / 10A): ±(0.5%+10)
AC current – 6 ranges (220µA / 10A): ±(0.8%+10)
Resistance – 7 ranges (220Ω / 220MΩ): ±(0.5%+10)
Capacitance – 8 ranges (22nF / 220mF): ±(3%+5)
Frequency – 10Hz to 220MHz: ±(0.01%+5)
Duty cycle – 0.1% to 99.9%
Accuracy stated is best only and not indicative of full range
The UNI-T UT61E can log all sorts of data over time, such as the output of a solar panel array, along with voltage, resistance or frequency. Together with the included software, you can record and analyze data and read it in graphical form. The UT61E can monitor at a sampling rate of two frames per second and comes with an RS232 interface, which is optically isolated to save computers from potential spikes.
Like many lower to mid-level multimeters, with the UNI-T UT61E review, we see it is made to budget and so compromises on some things. It has a good kickstand and integrated holster, however, together with a tongue and groove assembly in the case and a nice battery compartment with solid terminals to the board.
Although the case is solid enough and the buttons and dial selector feel good, it lacks a bit of attention to detail at the component level. Hobbyists using this tester probably won’t be overly concerned with the lack of input protection.
Display and Labels
The screen is the best facet of this multimeter. A sizable high contrast LCD display, it has good legible reading angles and a 22,000 (4½ digit) count. The refresh rate is a bit sluggish at around two times per second, but the resolution is excellent. In addition is a bar graph for checking a signal as an analog representation.
The display shows a variety of icons, including measuring ranges, low battery, autohold and more. Unfortunately it is not backlit, which is a bit of a smack in the face for this price range. The labeling is legible, though the dial is a bit cluttered and the jack inputs aren’t color-coded.
Function and Performance
The UT61E is a good enough performer for most tasks. The auto ranging is okay, with the continuity being very impressive, at least with a decent set of probe leads. AC and DC voltage share a range position, although it defaults to DC, which will appeal to electronics and auto enthusiasts. Resistance, capacitance and logical frequency also have their own range positions, with continuity and the diode checker doubling up with resistance and selectable through a button.
HOLD: manually or automatically freezes values
RANGE: switches between auto and manual ranging / selects ranges
REL: relative mode for comparing stored value / zeroing leads
PEAK: stores high and low values as peak min/max
Yellow button: selects frequency on a given range
Blue button: selects different functions on a given range
10A (10 amps max)
mA/µA (1000 milliamps max)
V/Ω/Hz (main terminal)
Although the category rating is touted as being level III for 1000V wiring and even level IV for 600V wiring, the input protection on the UNI-T UT61E would suggest it should be more like level II for lower voltages. The overall quality of the circuit board is okay for the price but there is a lack of protective components, barring a current shunt, non-HRC fuses, and PTCs.
In addition, surge protection is minimal, with no appreciable current input arcing gap or protective slots. The banana sockets are also flimsy. Budget constraints have probably dictated this and it would be fine for most lower voltage tasks, but it should be used gingerly in higher voltage circuits.
Fuses: on the milliamp input is a 1 amp fuse, with a 10 amp fuse on the main current input. It can measure 5A continuous, but anything above this should be done in short bursts, after which the meter should be allowed to cool down for 15 minutes.
UT61E vs UT61A, B, C, D
There are four other multimeters in the UT61 Series, so avoid getting them mixed up. While they are all data loggers and a similar price with similar functions, the UT61E is top of the range with the best resolution and accuracy. The UT61B and C can also measure temperature, but are average RMS responders only with 4000 and 6000-count displays respectively. The UT61D is also True RMS (like the UT61E), albeit with a 6000-count display, while the UT61A offers non-contact voltage detection and measures transistor gain. All share the same data logging sample rate.
Pros and Cons
UNI-T UT61E PROS
Functional data logger with opto connectivity
Sharp, 22,000-count display
Good resistance/frequency ranges
Super-fast continuity checker
Probe leads not very good
No auto shut-off
No temperature measurement
Lack of input protection
Spurious category ratings
If you’re after a cheap multifunction multimeter with data logging functionality, the UT61E should at least be on your shortlist. It performs well with most ranges and is pretty responsive, though lacks input protection. You typically need to dig deeper to get good input protection, which is one of the reasons the bigwig meter manufacturers charge what they do.
In the UNI-T UT61E review and those of other data logging multimeters, TekPower – another Chinese meter manufacturer – also make some good devices, with the TP9605BT being a close competitor. Though perhaps not as fast, it comes with Bluetooth connectivity and is also True RMS.