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ExTech ExTech Digital Thermometer
Date Posted: May 27 2001
Author: Joe
Posting Type: Review
Category: Thermal Management Reviews
Page: 1 of 2
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ExTech Digital Thermometer By: Joe

ExTech Dual Probe Digital Thermometer Review

Reviewed by: Joe - 5/27/01

Well before OCing and the need of super cool computers,  Heat has been an important issue with electronic devices dating back to the first ICs, and first semiconductor products ever made. The ability to accurately and rapidly know the temperature of a device is essential if you are dealing with temperature critical applications.

ExTech has long been one of the leaders along with Fluke making Digital Multi-Meters, and other devices like this Thermometer. After doing a lot of reading and research on the topic it was pretty clear that for the price range and performance level I was looking at ExTech was far ahead of the rest in features, and availability.

I picked this lil thing up at RadioShack after seeing it in their Business Catalog.  Here's a break down on the features it has:

  • Dual Temp Probe inputs
  • EL Backlit 3Display LCD
  • Optical RS232 Interface
  • 2 Type K "wire and bead" Thermocouples
  • Ability to use Type J,K,T,E,R,S,N thermocouples
  • PC Software for Data Logging and display
  • Rugged Rubber holster with stand.

So what? its just a thermometer....

Click on the image below for the accuracy chart

Yep its JUST a thermometer.  This is a thermometer that is more accurate and more feature packed then a DD5 could ever hope to be.  What makes this different then any other thermometer?  Simple.  The ability to do stand alone temp gathering with calibrated thermocouples independent of your PC's power system, or build in thermositors.

The reason they use Thermocouples is the accuracy, they are more accurate then Thermosistors, and are able to be much smaller.   This thermometer has the ability to use 7 thermocouple types depending on your use. Type K and J are general use thermocouples and are good for between the ranges of -200C - 1370 C   Not many people will exceed those ranges so its pretty safe :)

The fact that this thermometer can send realtime data to the PC's RS232 port is excellent as it gives the person monitoring the data the ability to manipulate the incoming data to get everything he can out of it.

This is a professional tool more then a geek PC temp reading toy like the DD5, CompuNurse, or MBM. Not knocking those at all, but its just how it is.   I love my DD5's, and CNurses, but they are in a different game then the ExTech.

The back of the thermometer is pretty straight forward, you have the 2 thermocouple inputs and the RS232 interface at the top.

The RS 232 cable is a standard serial connector on one end, and on the other side is an Optical IR interface. There are 2 IR LED's that interface with 2 IR LED's in the thermometer, this keeps your PC completely isolated from the thermometer.

It comes with an industrial grade rubber holster that will protect it well against being dropped or banged around. it adds a good deal of weight to the thermometer but its all good.  Cause as any true geek knows.. the heavier something is... the more goodies it feels like it has in it :)

With or without the holster it feels REAL solid and sturdy.

The Supplied thermocouples are 4 ft long.  Unlike thermosistors you CANNOT cut and extent these. if you do you throw off all the calibration that was done on these probes and the thermometer. At 4 Ft there is not much reason you would need more then that.

All you do is plug it into the Optical port on the thermometer and then the serial to the serial port on your PC.   No more fooling around to do :)

The thermocouples are extremely small, they are about the size of the "e" on the pentium III core.

Unlike the probes on the DD5, and CNurses these are NOT insulated, and MUST be kept away from parts that have voltage running through them.  Also they should never be exposed to water or any corrosive fluid.

Well now that we have covered what it comes with and what it does ( duh.. it takes temp..)  lets move onto the Software and temp calibration tests.

That pic is of it in front of the new test rig I have constructed for the Water block roundup.

Lets See what it can do on a PC Now!

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