Late in 2019, Fieldpiece introduced the FIELDPIECE SC680, one of the company’s best multimeters to date. The Sc680 was developed with the HVAC/R specialist in mind and has several convenient features like energy efficiency, phase rotation, and wireless communication; nonetheless, it is questionable whether or not it is the most suitable choice. Take a look at my first observations as we go through a few major drawbacks.
What’s in the Box
The sc680’s built-in extras are one of its best features. When compared to its competitors, Apple’s bundled accessories do a better job of making your life simpler than those of other major brands.
- What’s in the Sc680 box: the meter itself
- Alligator clips for use in testing
- Two Type K thermocouples, two Velcro fasteners, and a set of Molex probe tips
- 9v battery with a padded carrying bag
- The meter’s heavy-duty magnet is located on the operator’s side for convenience.
Fieldpiece Sc680’s Positives
The supplied accessories are a nice bonus, and the meter itself is feature-rich for its price range. The meter’s swiveling Amp Clamp head was my favorite part and the primary reason I bought it. The SC680 is capable of measuring True RMS 750V/1000V AC/DC volts and amps up to 600A, as well as capturing inrush amps at motor starting, microamps, capacitance, and resistance. The amp clamp’s built-in lead holder for taking voltage readings is a nice bonus.
To my amazement, the amp clamp can measure up to 600 amps, and the resistance range goes up to 50 million ohms. Each time you open the clamp’s jaws, an LED on the amp clamp spins and lights up. A meter built with the service technician in mind clearly benefited from this thoughtful modification. With its large screen and bright backlight, the Display is legible in any lighting. With the backlight on, an LED shines on the selection dial, making it simple to dial in the right value for each parameter. FIELDPIECE SC680
The NCV technology makes a separate volt pen unnecessary. It has a detection range of 24 to 600 vacs. The ability to rotate the phase works as intended. I put this function through its paces in a number of tests, and it always passed with flying colors.
It’s incredible that a meter of this price has two Temperature Type K inputs. You may also calibrate each sensor input in the field with this meter. An LPF is a low-pass filter used in variable-frequency drives to smooth out voltage fluctuations and improve reliability. The option to track energy use in kilowatt hours is nice. If this meter is swiftly combined with measure, I can see it being much more useful.
Disadvantages of the Fieldpiece SC680
The sc680 looks and sounds fantastic on paper, but it has a few major flaws that I had to address. The meter’s size is the first point of criticism. The SC680 is far bigger than any other multimeter I’ve used before, measuring 18.5 by 4 by 3.5 inches. With dimensions of just 4.2 x 2.4 x 10.8 inches, the sc680 is much smaller than my previous multimeter, the Fluke 902fc. This meter is really tall, therefore it may be difficult to store it in your work bag.
The unit’s wifi capabilities let it down, but at least I can use it anywhere. It does function with the Fieldpiece Joblink App, but it is not yet compatible with measure fast (though there have been rumblings that this will change soon). The app’s implementation of this is my main gripe. The temperature information cannot be used in the cooling section of the app. Fieldpieces might be improved by integrating temperature readings with pressure probes, enabling users to collect unit super-heat and sub-cool measurements on pipes that are too big for temp clamp probes alone.
Although I had expected this to work, I was unable to make it so with the Job Link mobile app. Once the measure quickly begins supporting the meter, this function will hopefully be included.
After testing this in the 600 aac range, I discovered that when the wireless function was used, the meter’s reading became up to 15 amps greater than the real value. It’s a major concern if your amp draw values are incorrect by more than 20%, particularly considering that wireless monitoring makes it possible to cover panels, blower doors, and other obstructions to get precise readings. Another thing I didn’t like about this meter was how useless the HZ readings from VFDs were. The field piece’s website specifies a 10-400 Hz HZ range via the clamp, however, I was unable to locate any information on the minimum amp draw necessary to make advantage of this feature.
What I say next is a major drawback. Taking amp readings wirelessly caused me to get erroneous results. After comparing it to other meters, I was convinced. In the amp clamp with WIFI turned off, the meter shows no current when the conductor is inserted. When the wifi is activated, the meter will show a range of 0.5–2.5 amps and 10–20 volts. The meter and my VFD and another meter both showed 8.8 amps of the current draw when the wifi was switched off, but when it was activated, the meter suddenly read 10.8 amps. Once again, I double-checked this using several meters and a VFD.
I was unable to acquire an accurate reading from the frequency meter while testing the Trane chiller’s condenser fan motor frequency. Random values between 0 and 120 hertz were showing up on my screen. Once I double-checked the instructions, I learned that the frequency via the clamp function has a minimum current range of 7 amps AC for 10-100 HZ, 20 amp AC for 100-400 HZ on the 100 Amp AC range, and a minimum of 25 amp AC for 10-400 HZ on the 600 Amp AC range. This may be a major setback if you were planning to utilize the clamp HZ function on a mini-split system.
These are the major problems I have with this meter. In addition, the battery life appears to be significantly less than any other meter if utilized, and there does not seem to be any way to deactivate the incessant beeping when getting voltage readings with your meter leads.
Consider Purchasing The SC680.
Some of the bugs in this product need to be ironed out before I’d consider buying one. Maybe I just got a dud. I plan to contact Fieldpiece to find out if they have any suggestions. If anything changes, I will let you know here.
Matt is an HVAC professional and the presenter of the YouTube channel HVAC Tool Review. He has over eleven years of experience as a Journeyman HVAC service technician in the commercial sector. Knowledge of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to HVAC equipment was gained from experience researching and selecting all items for a big mechanical contractor.
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