I just received the Mastech MS8910 smd tester and these are my first impressions.
I already have a trusty larger Fluke that I usually use on my workbench, but this smaller meter seemed more convenient when measuring smaller parts like jellybeans coming out of the pick and place machine or components that are already reflowed on a board. It also seemed particularly convenient for checking the polarity and color of smd led’s.
The meter comes with a manual (this is not a certainty when ordering from Aliexpress), a CR2032 battery, a pretty sturdy plastic case and 2 spare measuring tips. The case seems strong enough to permanently store the meter in. Even when I throw it into my tool case that I howl around everywhere, it should play nice with the pointy screwdrivers and lost screws doing their own little mosh-pit on the bottom of the tool case.
Installing the battery was a little tricky but straight forward.
The meter itself feels sturdy and a little heavier than what I expected.
Because of the extra weight on the back of the tweezers it seems much harder to precisely manipulate the tips like normal tweezers, but then again, normal tweezers can’t measure the resistance of the component you’re picking up of course.
The meter has basically 4 modes and 1 “scan” mode where it automatically selects the right mode based on what it’s measuring. With the function button you switch the device on and change between modes. It starts in the “scan” mode so usually you would just hit the function button to turn it on and start measuring. It has an auto power off function, which warns you with a couple of beeps that the meter is still on and then shuts itself off. No worries about dying batteries. You can also turn the meter off by holding the function button. I noticed if the meter auto turned itself off, you can revive it by (short) pushing the function button, but if you turned the meter of by holding the function button, you have to long push the function button again to turn it back on. Maybe holding function to turn it off makes it go in a deeper power down mode? The hold button does exactly that, it freezes your value on the display. It doesn’t seem to work in the “scan” mode though.
The continuity check mode uses a buzzer with a very civilized volume, not too loud to annoy your colleagues working around you, but still loud enough so you can do fast checking without having to look at the display.
The tips on the tweezers don’t seem super high quality, but more than fine enough to measure 0402’s on a pcb, and for the moment that’s my minimum.
Same 0603 cap with the meter tips through our trusty Mantis.
The tips with an 0805 resistor.
Continuity checking of standard 0.1 inch spaced header.
Checking an led on the pcb.
All in all this seems like a good investment, a small easy to use meter with not too crazy features in a convenient form factor and at a decent price. If i change my mind after using it for a while, I’ll update this post.
UPDATE 25 july 2013: After using the tweezers for a while, I noticed that I’m missing a basic volt meter on the tester. Nothing too fancy, it would be convenient to be able to check the polarity of your 5 or 3 volt power supply before you fry your fancy new prototype.