Monthly Archives: April 2011

Review Posted: Smart Tweezers LCR Meter

For some time, I’ve been on the lookout for an RLC meter to help me measure unknown components. Most will measure the basic R, L and C, but either with limited ranges or inadequate accuracy. In addition, most conventional RLC meters are not really optimized to measure todays surface-mount (SM) components. It’s tough enough working with surface-mount (SM) parts…let alone trying to identify them once a few parts on your workbench get mixed up together! Other needs are to be able to confirm part values when troubleshooting a PC board assembly or when cobbling together temporary EMI filters. I’ve also collected assorted components with mysterious or custom markings and would love to be able to identify these for future projects.
 Enter Smart Tweezers; an unusually small instrument, but with an unusual twist. The probes are designed to probe SM components. I had heard about Advance Devices, a Canadian company, for at least a couple years, but until now, never seemed to have the real need to invest. This changed once I started dealing more and more with these tiny SM critters.
Once I started investigating RLC meters more earnestly, I discovered a critical factor that easily threw me over the edge and I ordered one immediately. This instrument goes way beyond the norm for RLC meters. It actually measures both the real and imaginary impedances. Let me repeat that – it measures both the real and imaginary impedances! What this allows the microprocessor-based instrument to do is measure and read out not only the resistance, but series inductance – – not only capacitance, but equivalent series resistance (ESR) or D – – not only inductance, but DC resistance or Q – – and more! The measurement ranges are also phenomenal!
OK, so what do you get for your $315? The basic unit comes with a set of hearing three aid batteries and standard tips with a protective plastic shield to protect them from damage. The plastic storage box is an extra $11, which I recommend purchasing to protect the instrument. The gold-plated tips are replaceable, with the standard tips at $40. Premium tips (Swiss-made) are also available for $50 or $60. A ten-pack of spare batteries is $6.40.
For the full review, click here!