The Curious Case of Fluke Volt Light LVD1

I’m working on a blog entry for it. It’s a rather nice light that takes 1 AAA battery and has an Inductive Voltage Tester (no contact) without vibrations or sound, instead relying on a small LED mounted in the case that is ordinarily off, but glows Blue approaching a source of AC Power, and Red when very close. These type of testers can be convenient for showing something electrically energized (hot), but never trusted to show deenergized prior to physical contact or maintenance on a wire, bolt, connection, etc. Use a Volt Meter or a Voltage Tester, and verify it works, before Contacting or Working on a Circuit.

Voltage Testers ordinarily show Voltage Potential (AC or DC) without Switching, some Meters (very few) have that option as well. When I worked in Industry, we had AC and DC Control Circuits, the correct Tester is important to safety. 

Ideal Testers can be, well, Ideal.

The Fluke Volt Light LVD1 and LVD1A also has a small Work Light LED and can be clipped onto your hat, pocket, and even wires in a breaker panel, for example.

The Fluke LVD1 can be used to diagnose and locate a broken wire in Power Cords, and much more.

Mine is a number of years old, in perfect shape, and I took the Battery Cap off to show the assembly in my blog, when, upon snapping the cover back in place, the Battery Cap split.

No big deal, I’ll buy a replacement Battery Cap. Problem is, Fluke doesn’t sell them, Fluke doesn’t stock the part, in fact, upon notification that your unit is defective, and showing a copy of the receipt, if in Warranty, they send you a complete new unit without getting the old one back. These things are $45 on Amazon (Free Shipping), and $55+ on other sites +shipping.

The Fluke LVD1 has been replaced by the Fluke LVD1A, it appears the same, but was re-engineered to meet EU RoHS :

Welcome to RoHS Guide

This standard has manufacturers eliminating 10 Chemicals from their products to reduce Electronic Waste Issues.

This is to me the Curious Case part of this issue. Fluke changed this model, now the LVD1A, to meet the RoHS Directives, but then encourages (through policy) Electronic Waste by failing to replace a Simple Battery Cap that would allow an otherwise functioning device to continue to be used, thus not become Electronic Waste to begin with.

I bought a Princeton Tec Headlamp (worn on head or hat) that had a Battery Cap that was brittle and had a latch area on the Battery Cap that would split open when pressed into place. I phoned the company, they sent me a small zip lock bag containing at least 5 Battery Caps, and the same number of Pins (1 for each Battery Cap) needed to hold them in place. From that simple gesture; though that particular model was destined to keep breaking the Battery Cap (the Light was eventually Redesigned to stop the breakage); I looked closer at their other items, was impressed, they had Work Headlamps that were Intrinsically Safe for use around Ignitable Gases, contacted the company, they sent several free samples to my employer and we were so impressed that my employer starting buying them. With 1200 workers; though they weren’t all given Headlamps; maintenance and supervisory personnel were, so quite a few of Princeton Tec items were purchased. 

My Headlamp Collection and Warning on Possible Retinal Damage That May Occur from Some LED Products

But Princeton Tec is made in the U.S. (most models), the Fluke LVD1 and LVD1A are made in China. Though it’s possible that Princeton Tec had Battery Caps on hand, due to a U.S. Based Manufacturing, “if” the Battery Cap Breakage on Fluke LVD1 and LVD1A is common, I would think that Fluke could obtain a number of Battery Caps to sell, or to send out for Warranty Repairs, to contribute to the Reduction of Electronic Waste in an additional and  Substantive way. But U.S. companies are prone to pontificating on their commitment and responsibility to the environment, while engaging in policies that aren’t aligned with same, as this example with the Fluke LVD1 appears to show. 

But is the problem with Fluke and Lack of Repair Parts Limited to Fluke LVD1 and LVD1A? Apparently not. 

Fluke 17b broken battery clip needs repair  (Read 6013 times)

The Fluke 17B and 17B+ battery compartments are badly made, Mine broke today, will open 17B+ this weekend and post the images, do not want to toss the Fluke in dump, one idea is to solder the batteries and take the silicon wire

Another 17b+ failure here. Seems to be due to battery clip corroding and snapping off. 

Fluke repair rep response:
Fluke-17B+  is low end product, we don’t provide repair service for this model,
It’s repair by replacement, suggest you to contact with to purchase a new one.

It seems that, unless Fluke is selling very expensive meters, they regard their affordable products as “Low End” and therefore expect users to just toss them away like the tube on a roll of toilet paper, the 17B+ on Amazon, one I could find, was $174, and I found one on Amazon in India (I’d never try and purchase from there) for about $150 (Converted Rupees to U.S. Dollars). 

Topic: Fluke’s Warranty Policy (rant!) (Read 11957 times)

Another person bought a Meter, apparently in Europe. The Meter Arrived, but was not working. The Thread alleges that the Fluke did not work when received, yet he had no recourse to the seller because of this in the Warranty Terms: 

This warranty extends only to the original buyer or end-user customer of a Fluke authorized reseller

If the place you purchased a Meter from where the Meter should otherwise be covered by the warranty, but but it was not an Authorized Reseller, you may be buying Junk at a high cost, then having to pay to dispose of it. 

1 Featured Image

  1. Micronta (Radio Shack) 22-198U, the Meter is mine from Childhood, it is about 50 years old.
  2. Fluke T-3 Electrical Tester, this Tester is about 15 years old.
  3. Fluke T-2 Electrical Tester, this Tester is about 28 years old, and the Tester at #2 Replaced it to address issues that resulted in a Recall of this Tester for Repair.
  4. Metra Hit 18S, a German Manufactured Meter, is 25 Years Old from Documentation I see online.
  5. Tek Power TP 7244L, an Analog Movement Meter, is about 3 years old.
  6. Spark Fun VC830L is about 3 years old.
  7. Greenlee DM-510 is about 25 years old.
  8. BK Precision Model 350 Clamp Ammeter with Multimeter Functions is 37 years old plus.

I have meters out the wazoo (see “some” of them, above), I was more interested in the Fluke LVD1 as a Light than as a Tester, but when I blog about these Inductive Testers, I’ll point out a few things they can do and link to more. My incredulity about this issue is Fluke redesigning the product to meet standards so that when disposed of, it’ll be less problem to the environment, but then not doing something to prevent these items from becoming waste for trivial reasons on an otherwise functioning product. 

Fluke honors their warranties, that is not in question. If you purchase on Amazon, and it’s new, Amazon will protect the initial purchase as well. Watch for Authorized Resellers if you intend to purchase a meter that is represented as covered by a warranty. If the Meter is used, and no warranty applies, remember that (according to the above Electronics Blog):

  • Fluke may not have parts to repair simple things on the meter.
  • If it’s a “Low End” Fluke meter, no parts or repair options may be the case, yet I never thought a $150 Meter was a Low-End Meter. 

If you don’t have a job that needs the meter to be Calibrated, there may be other brands that will effectively do the job and will cost less, perhaps much less, since if the only recourse for a meter defective from some minor issue is to throw the meter away it’d be better to throw away a cheaper meter than a more expensive one. 

Lastly, my concerns are about meters and testers currently being manufactured and sold, to include, perhaps, 5 years post production for key parts, I’m not suggesting Fluke would need to continually support antiquated products. 

Cheap Multimeters Can be Dangerous, Though Inexpensive is not Necessarily the same as Cheap 

Trademark Issue Rears Its Destructive Head, aka Using the Govt to Squash Competition 


Author: Dr-Artaud

A Doctor that is not a Doctor, but named after a character in the movie "No Such Thing", as is the Avatar.

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