If you don’t work with RF electronics the need for an L/C meter may not be readily apparent. If you work with RF, you have likely found capacitors and inductors in the junk pile and played hobb trying to figure out the value, unless of course they were marked.
If you wind your own inductors or make your own capacitors the need for an L/C meter is a no-brainer. I bought a cheap Chinese manufactured meter and it was no bueno. No redeeming qualities what-so-ever.
Within the Amateure Radio world AADE (Almost All Digital Electronics) and the L/C Meter IIB has earned an almost legendary reputation for being just the piece of equipment the homebrew ameture needs.
Being a homebrew ameture and a recycler of electronic components, I decided to buy the L/C Meter IIB kit and build it. The kit itself is very straight forward. Assembly is well documented and easy to follow.
I have been generating a lot of solder smoke lately so I may have an advantage here in assembly speed but I went from shipping box to functioning test equipment in about 4 hours.
Starting with full parts inventory I went right into construction. The parts list is only one sheet and it is very detailed. After checking in all of the parts and tagging them to the parts sheet I fired up the soldering iron and started melting metal. Filling the printed circuit board didn’t take long at all.
The only hiccough was technician error. I got all of the components soldered in, mounted the board in the back of the case, mounted the LCD, and plugged in the battery. When I turned on the power switch I got nothing. I knew from reading the instructions
fancy that that a common oversight is that the contrast pot should be turned fully clockwise. When I went to check the pot I noticed something missing, I forgot to install the IC’s in the sockets. Doh!
After installing the IC’s I checked the pot and Voilà! A working L/C meter.
At $100 a kit that looks as simple as this one does you may be tempted to buy a cheaper factory assembled meter. I would strongly advise against it. A comparable factory manufactured meter will set you back at least twice what the L/C Meter IIB will, probably more.
I purchased a cheap meter for $38, paid $6 for shipping and another $8 to return it. Sure, it looks nice but it is complete garbage.
And if you need something else to push you over the fence on this purchasing decision, buying from AADE supports a family run US business that takes pride in the work they do. Now that’s a bargain at any price.
Solder smoke is filling the air as I continue work on the 40 meter Beach 40 DSB transceiver so check the build page for updates. I will be making an update tomorrow!
73 for now,