Wisconsin electrical engineering firm increases testing capabiities and provides better customer service with the help of handheld test tool.

When the phone rings at Suburban Electrical Engineers & Contractors in Appleton, Wis., there's usually a problem. It might be something as simple as a customer who's having trouble with a cash register or something as complex as a faulty circuit board in a computer, motor drive in a pump, or main electrical panel. Whatever the case, the staff knows there's one consistent requirement: When a customer calls, response time has to be fast and the service reliable. Why? Downtime equals lost profits.

As a controls specialist at Suburban, Jeff Chamberlin is responsible for diagnosis and service for the company's more than 100 customers. When he started looking for a meter to accommodate the different field applications he encounters every day (including preventive maintenance, total diagnostics, and ongoing service resources), he selected the Fluke ScopeMeter 123. According to Chamberlin, having a meter that offers oscilloscope, multimeter, and recorder capabilities means technicians can find the cause of a problem quicker and easier without using three different tools.

For example, when serving a motor drive, you need a variety of measurement tools; from checking availability of line voltage to judging the inverter output signal. You should perform these two measurements within seconds of each other. To accomplish this task, Suburban service technicians used an oscilloscope and a separate multimeter, which requires the user to change tools or at least test leads.

In addition, when using an oscilloscope to check for signal shape, it's often difficult to get a stable waveform without considerable adjustment.

Autorange functionality on modern oscilloscopes only give an indication of what the signals might look like. Because of this, the user is often uncertain if the correct signal is being displayed and may spend several minutes trying to get a stable display. The new meter can help speed up troubleshooting because it allows the user to check test points without changing test leads, get a variety of measurements without changing tools, and quickly get a stable signal on the display. New shielded test leads not only take multiple meter readings, capacitance and resistance measurements and continuity checks, but they also shield the incoming signal from noise pickup.

As a result of this investment, Suburban technicians no longer have to swap leads to make different measurements and can access 26 common measurements from a simple menu list.