Multimeter design has been somewhat of a stagnant craft, the basic look and layout being maintained for a several decades. The shape has been pretty much the same, and they are typically stand-alone instruments that don’t usually connect to any other device (although some meters have had PC connectivity typically through RS-232 or USB). Now there seems to be starting a new trend to connect the multimeter functionality to smart phone. When the data is in the smart phone, it can be analyzed and shared through internet connection to coworkers at other location or stored to cloud. Smart phone is smaller device to carry and quicker to set-up than PC (which needs to be booted and connected to Internet). What are the options to do multimeter measurements with smart phone?
VoltSet: A Smart Multimeter For Smart Phones article shows a multimeter design that connects to a smart phone. VoltSet company mission to make the multimeter sexy, modern, and accessible. His line of VoltSet multimeters accomplishes this by reducing the size of the hardware and connecting to a smartphone which provides a friendly user interface. The VoltSet comes in two flavors and both versions are able to connect to a smartphone via USB, through which measurements can be stored and analyzed.
Mooshimeter Is the Multimeter We Always Wanted article tells about Mooshimeter by Mooshim Engineering. Like the Voltset, the Mooshimeter plans to take advantage of modern smart devices to expand the capabilities of traditional multimeters. By shifting the burden of display and control to another device, the Mooshim team could afford to make improvements in other areas of the Mooshimeter. One of the main innovations in the Mooshimeter is a 24-bit analog to digital converter (average multimeter comes with a 16-bit ADC for 4.5 digit multimeter). The Mooshimeter is capable of taking voltage and current measurements at the same time, giving you a real-time I-V curve or a real time power measurement, not possible with a traditional multimeter. One twist to the design is that the Mooshimeter connects to smart devices via a Bluetooth Low Energy wireless connection with a 50 meter range. Mooshimeter crownfunding campaign has really taken off and is almost certain to be successful.
It seems that those start-up ideas have made big-name companies to notice this option. Fluke Connect: A Cool Concept That Begs for More article tells that this week, Fluke Corp. introduced Fluke Connect, a technology that links handheld instruments to smartphones. It lets iOS 7 or Android 4.4 phones share measurement data anywhere in the world through an app. Fluke Connect lets you share measurements from multimeters, infrared thermometers, and AC/DC current meters. A local phone connects over BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to a meter or over WiFi to an infrared thermometer. If the local phone has internet access through a WiFi or cellular connection, it can send the data to a remote phone through the app, assuming that phone has internet access. Such connectivity could be be a great time saver because you can see what’s happening on equipment without being there.
What else would you like to do once you have that data in your phone?