Review: The Smart Tweezers Get Smarter

For years, I’ve looked for an affordable LCR meter to measure unknown components–especially surface-mount. I ran into the Smart Tweezers (Model ST3) a couple years ago and wrote up a short review. Since then, Canadian company Advance Devices, has updated the design (Model ST5). This model is very similar, but there are a number of improvements worth mentioning.

The Smart Tweezers in use. When measuring components mounted to PC boards, you need to realize the measurement includes all components connected to the two measurement nodes. In some cases, the component must be measured “out of circuit”. However, by adjusting the new source voltage control lower, it will avoid turning on most semiconductor junctions, enabling more accurate measurements “in-circuit”. (Photo courtesy Advance Devices.)

Most LCR meters make basic measurements, but with limited ranges or inadequate accuracy. The ST5 is calibrated to NIST standards and includes a Certificate of Calibration. In addition, most conventional LCR meters aren’t really optimized to measure today’s SM (surface-mount) components. It’s tough enough working with SM parts…let alone trying to identify them once a few parts on your workbench get mixed together. Read more…

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