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Old 03-06-2009, 05:42 AM   #1
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Default Blue Ana Tek ESR Meter

Just a quick question... I recently purchased an ESR meter from Ana Tek and assembled it from scratch (my how fun that was). Anyway, I calibrated using a 5k resistor like the manual says, but every cap I measure (whether in series or out), show the same 0 readings. I tested on some known-bad Nichicon caps and got the same reading as with a brand new Rubycon. Anyone own one of these meters and can give me an idea of what I'm doing wrong? Am I missing something obvious?
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Old 03-06-2009, 06:51 AM   #2
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Default Re: Blue Ana Tek ESR Meter

Check your soldering.
Check for shorted traces.
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Old 03-06-2009, 06:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Blue Ana Tek ESR Meter

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCBONEZ
Check your soldering.
Check for shorted traces.
But the same happens out of series. Testing each cap individually gives the same results.
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Old 03-06-2009, 08:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Blue Ana Tek ESR Meter

In the meter
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:13 AM   #5
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Exclamation Re: Blue Ana Tek ESR Meter

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4tified
Just a quick question... I recently purchased an ESR meter from Ana Tek and assembled it from scratch (my how fun that was). Anyway, I calibrated using a 5k resistor like the manual says, but every cap I measure (whether in series or out), show the same 0 readings. I tested on some known-bad Nichicon caps and got the same reading as with a brand new Rubycon. Anyone own one of these meters and can give me an idea of what I'm doing wrong? Am I missing something obvious?
I own one of those meters and I thought it was quite easy to put together and get working.

There's no 5K resistor in the kit, for calibration or anything else. There's an 82 ohm and a 5.6 ohm resistor for checking calibration.

What readings does it give on those resistors? The most likely cause of it not working properly is installing components in the wrong places on the board (the ESR meter board, not the one containing the capacitors you want to test). Have you double checked that everything is where it belongs and all the transistors are the right way around?

If you really want to get technical and you can supply the meter with 6.5V, you can try using its self-testing function which is described in the manual.

There's a discussion forum on the Anatek website for people having problems and to generally discuss things like this, at http://www.anatekcorp.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=3 where you can get more help.
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Last edited by Bob Parker; 03-09-2009 at 06:18 AM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:15 AM   #6
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Cool Re: Blue Ana Tek ESR Meter

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCBONEZ
In the meter
I agree.

Last edited by Bob Parker; 03-09-2009 at 06:20 AM.. Reason: missing signature which is still missing
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: Blue Ana Tek ESR Meter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Parker
I own one of those meters and I thought it was quite easy to put together and get working.

There's no 5K resistor in the kit, for calibration or anything else. There's an 82 ohm and a 5.6 ohm resistor for checking calibration.

What readings does it give on those resistors? The most likely cause of it not working properly is installing components in the wrong places on the board (the ESR meter board, not the one containing the capacitors you want to test). Have you double checked that everything is where it belongs and all the transistors are the right way around?

If you really want to get technical and you can supply the meter with 6.5V, you can try using its self-testing function which is described in the manual.

There's a discussion forum on the Anatek website for people having problems and to generally discuss things like this, at http://www.anatekcorp.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=3 where you can get more help.

Sorry for the delay in response, I was not aware anyone else replied to this topic since I last read it. I am 110% sure I put it together correctly. I checked and rechecked all the components within the ESR meter over and over again. I was wrong about the 5k resistor, this is coming from memory, which apparently is distorted. I followed the manual to the T and ran the self test, and zeroed the meter to gain accurate readings, but to no avail. I will look at the anatek forums for further troubleshooting. Thanks Bob.

As far as putting the meter together, it was not difficult, just time consuming. The "My, how fun it was" applies to making mistakes and having to desolder the components, which was my fault. Sucks being color blind. This just goes to show how great of quality the PCB board is. The tracks are huge and are easy to solder components on, even at a lower wattage. And when desoldering (when making mistakes), it was easy to get the components out. None of the traces are damaged or cut by the way, so that's definatley not the problem.

Last edited by 4tified; 03-27-2009 at 08:00 AM..
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:11 AM   #8
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Question Re: Blue Ana Tek ESR Meter

Hi again,
Before we all get confused, I think we should concentrate on the basics so as to figure out exactly what the problem is. What I need to know (with accurate descriptions) is:

(1) What does the meter indicate after you switch it on and it's not connected to anything?

(2) What does it show when a resistor in the range of 1 to 9.9 ohms is connected to it? (That's what the 5.6 ohm resistor in the kit is meant to check)

(3) What does it read when a resistor in the range of 10 to 99 ohms is connected? (That's what the 82 ohm resistor in the kit is meant to check).

(4) What does it read when you short the test leads together?

If you can please tell me all those things, then with luck I can suggest what to do next.

Thanks!

Last edited by Bob Parker; 03-27-2009 at 08:16 AM.. Reason: Trying to get my weird signature line back.
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Old 04-24-2009, 10:59 AM   #9
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Default Re: Blue Ana Tek ESR Meter

I built one of these kits too, and I found it to go together easily. Mine calibrated right away, and it's since become a go to on my bench.
I would triple check my work if I were you. Sometimes I overlook something originally and then miss it again and again! Good luck. Do let us know what it reads on power up, though. On mine, it always reads a few milliohms until I short the leads and press the on/off button again to zero it out. If yours is reading the same thing on everything I would suspect something in the display driver circuitry...
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Old 04-24-2009, 01:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Blue Ana Tek ESR Meter

If there are no shorted traces definately go over all of the resistors with a multimeter and compare the values to those printed on the PCB.
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Old 04-24-2009, 01:49 PM   #11
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Default Re: Blue Ana Tek ESR Meter

Quote:
Originally Posted by premiumplus
I built one of these kits too, and I found it to go together easily
yeah i hadnt built a kit before but was careful in putting it together and works
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Old 04-24-2009, 05:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: Blue Ana Tek ESR Meter

I had mixed results with mine. In the end it is working well, but construction was a frustrating process. Over the years I have built everything from Heathkits (including an oscilloscope and an alignment generator) to crude designs I cooked up myself. The documentation on this kit was better than on any of my designs, but far short of the Heathkit standard. (Of course Heathkit is out of business, and The Blue ESR meter is readily available).

The frustration started when I opened the box and discovered the construction manual was NOT included, so it was necessary to print out the pdf (conveniently emailed by AnaTek). Then I began construction and discovered the 1% resistors were missing. After a diligent search an email resulted in a promise to place them in the mail; they arrived promptly - well, as prompt as snail mail ever is).

After they arrived construction went smoothly and the initial test had only one glitch - the 9V battery I had ASSUMED I had on hand turned out to have been put to good use (smoke detector). A quick trip to the store and it powered up correctly. Calibration was complicated by missing alligator clips. After a little improvisation the meter was calibrated and verified when the second resistor read in the proper range. (Another email resulted in the missing alligator clips arriving in a few days.)

Another glitch occurred during the final assembly - the holes in the end panel were drilled slightly off center and the switch was binding. It was necessary to reposition the switch slightly. Then the meter would not turn on. Reading the troubleshooting instructions didn't provide a lot of help, so I resoldered all components associated with the power circuit and voila! it worked. Everything fits together and I've found it very useful.

While troubleshooting I noticed a few points that could be improved if you ever revise the silkscreen. Most important: The polarity of the electrolytic capacitors should be indicated outside the 'footprint' of the cap. This makes verifying polarity much easier.

As I examined the schematic, and as I built the meter a couple of points came to mind. I have found a number of schematics for inexpensive ESR meters in the internet. Bob's design does so much more. In particular, the zero set and autoranging features are a big help.

Finally, a few months ago I purchased an inexpensive ($20) DVM that features a 1" LCD display. Bonus features include frequency, temperature and capacitance measurements, and a transistor tester. If the designers of that meter ever realize the value of an ESR meter they could add the function for only a few dollars.

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Last edited by PlainBill; 04-24-2009 at 05:57 PM..
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