When someone asks to borrow a tool from the Toolmonger shop, we usually don’t say, “Over our dead bodies” — unless the tool in question is our faithful Fluke 77 Multimeter. Though it’s not the latest model out there, it still keeps pace with any meter currently on the market.
My dad gave me this meter fifteen years ago when I was trying to diagnose my rather finicky first car. Since then it’s been at my side during nearly every electrical project I’ve undertaken, and the projects where it wasn’t involved I spent half my time cursing whatever other meter I was using.
In trying to nail down what makes this meter so special, I have to start with the digital/analog meter readout. Though totally digital, the bottom of the display gives the operator an analog feel with a swing bar that mimics an old-style needle. The hard case for it, seen here, is set up for linemen, electricians, or straight-up bench guys. The whole unit has a positive feel and finish to it — even in a sixteen-year-old tracing down shorts in an old Toyota Corolla, it breeds confidence.
This old 77 doesn’t sport the sexy yellow covering or contoured shape of the 77 mark IV. It’s grey, blocky, and completely reliable — after 15 years of service, when we reach for it, it delivers.