We don't know many people who are big fans of the standard Test and Measurement user interface, especially with Digital Multimeters (DMMs). Sure, there are some products out there that are taking advantage of tablets and cell phones, but they can hardly be considered high quality measurement equipment based on their specs. For instance the iDVM from Redfish probably has a great user interface, but is a 2% accuracy spec reasonable for a serious piece of measurement equipment? There is a disconnect: old companies that know how to make great measurements, and new companies who know how to display data well. Older companies have an additional problem: they are successful because of the following that developed based on their current user interface. How many existing customers will be lost when chasing new ones?
Fluke is taking a big swing at bridging that disconnect with products like their FLK-03000 FC . Everyone already knows they make great meters, but their recently released Fluke Connect line of products is aimed at reinventing the way measurements are viewed and stored. Engineers who have used their previous RS232 and USB attempts at data logging are aware that the setup and user interface leave a lot of room to take advantage of new UI tech. A quick glance at the new meters makes it clear that the new interface is behind the scenes; the handheld units should be just as functional alone as they always have been.
Their new UI is based on wirelessly connecting many different Fluke instruments to a smartphone or tablet. The connection between most of their units is coordinated by BluetoothLE, which enables multiple units to be connected to the same phone. The equipment that need more bandwidth (e.g. thermal imagers) utilize WiFi to make the connection. Once the data is in the phone, the App offers an entirely new set of display, datalogging, and remote collaboration tools. As future articles will explore, Fluke plans to make the use of these features as easy as taking a photo.
This is the first article in a series from Charles and Dave where we will be taking a close look at the Fluke Connect devices, what they do, and how they can connect 2 people in remote locations. They take a glance at the FLK-03000 FC , FLK V3000FC , and FLK A3000 FC .
As a starting point, here are Dave's initial impressions:
Note: In the video I show that the DMM couldn't connect to the iPhone, but Thomas noted in the YouTube comments that it is possible:
"In order to get a DMM to act as a slave, turn the DMM off, press and hold the radio button, and then turn the DMM on.. it'll show "MOD" on the screen, and when you release the radio button, it should be viewable as a Module on the iPhone"
Dave and CJ have been reviewing Fluke's new Fluke Connect system with articles and videos being released every other week. Other articles in the series: