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Review: Agilent U1732A Digital LCR Meter

Agilent Technologies has just released a new addition to its range of affordable handheld test and measuring instruments: the U1732A handheld Digital LCR meter. Designed for testing and measuring almost any kind of passive component (L, C or R) quickly, easily and accurately - on the bench or in the field, it is priced at a level much lower than Agilent's existing LCR meters.

Review by Jim Rowe

Features:

• Inductance, capacitance and resistance measurements with a choice of different test frequencies

• 20,000 counts resolution with dual display

• Auto-calculation of phase angle, dissipation factor and quality factor

• Visible and audible tolerance mode for easy capacitor sorting

• Records maximum, minimum and average readings

• Relative mode and data hold function

• PC connectivity with optional IR-USB cable

Right from Hewlett-Packard’s startup in late 1938, the company founded by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard moved into the top drawer of electronic test and measuring instrument design and manufacture. They’ve stayed in that top drawer ever since, with only the name changing to Agilent Technologies in 1999 when HP’s T&M division split off from its computer division.

For the last 10 years they’ve been continuing the HP tradition of developing high performance, top quality test and measuring instruments.

But while Agilent has remained largely unchallenged in many areas of the T&M instruments market, their ongoing emphasis on high-end performance and quality did tend to price many of their instruments into the ‘stratosphere’ and hence beyond the reach of many hobbyists and small businesses.

At least, that was until a few years ago, when they formed a new Basic Instruments Division and started to release a range of instruments with more affordable price tags.

Things moved even further in that direction in 2008, when Agilent acquired Escort Instruments Corp of Taiwan. Escort had designed and manufactured a range of low-cost T&M instruments and as a result, Agilent was able to add the expertise of its designers to that of its existing Basic Instruments design team.

Since then, the division has been developing a range of innovative handheld instruments, which combine excellent performance with very attractive pricing – such as the U1250A series of handheld digital multimeters and the U1600A series of LCD oscilloscopes, both of which have won industry awards.

The new U1732A handheld Digital LCR Meter is the latest addition to the range. It offers many of the features of Agilent’s lowest-priced LCR meter to date, the 4263B but at a fraction of the price. (The base price for the U1732A is $406, while that of the 4263B is $5858.)

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