NI Digital Multimeter Product Comparison

Publish Date: Aug 22, 2017 | 34 Ratings | 3.56 out of 5 | Print

Overview

National Instruments digital multimeters (DMM) achieve remarkable reading rates while maintaining precise and stable measurements. These digital multimeters accurately measure voltage, resistance, current, capacitance, inductance, and temperature. You can build a high-channel-count systems by integrating these digital multimeters with a variety of NI switch modules. This document will help you determine the best NI digital multimeter for your application.

Table of Contents

  1. NI Digital Multimeter Product Offering
  2. Detailed Product Comparison
  3. Measurement Comparison
  4. Temperature Stability
  5. External Calibration
  6. Additional NI 407x Functions/Features
  7. Related Links

1. NI Digital Multimeter Product Offering

Product
Description
Application Requirements
Bus
7½-digit high-resolution digital multimeter Highest accuracy and resolution, picoamps, kilovolts, flexibility, universal input, 1.8MS/s waveform acquisition, high-speed, pc-based
6½-digit digital multimeter and LCR meter High accuracy and resolution, <b>inductance and capacitance measurements</b>, flexibility, universal input, 1.8MS/s waveform acquisition, high-speed, pc-based
6½-digit digital multimeter and isolated digitizer High accuracy and resolution, flexibility, multi-function, 1.8MS/s waveform acquisition, high-speed, pc-based, and wide temperature stability
See specs and pricing for the NI 4070 PXI DMM

NI 4065

6½-digit low-cost digital multimeter Mix of price/performance, medium-speed, multi-function, pc-based
See specs and pricing for the NI 4065 USB DMM.

PCI/PCIe/PXI/USB

5½-digit portable digital multimeter Low-cost, PC-based, portable, and multi-function  
Table 1: NI Multimeter Comparison

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2. Detailed Product Comparison

Capabilities
NI 4071
NI 4070/4072

NI 4065

NI 4050
Bus

PCI / PCIe / PXI / USB

 
Maximum Resolution
7 ½ digits (26 bits)
7 digits (23 bits)

6 ½ digits (22 bits)

5 ½ digits (18 bits)
Basic DCV Accuracy
12.5 ppm (2-yr rating)
31 ppm (2-yr rating)

95 ppm (1-yr rating)

300 ppm (1-yr rating)
Basic ACV Accuracy
0.05%
0.07%

0.25%

1%
DC Accuracy Temperature Range
0-55°C
0-55°C

18-28°C

15-35°C
Factory Calibration Cycle
2 year
2 year
1 year
1 year
Speed/Throughput      
7 ½ digits
7 S/s
-

-

-
6 ½ digits
100 S/s
100 S/s

10 S/s

-
5 ½ digits
3,000 S/s
3,000 S/s

1500 S/s

5 S/s
4 ½ digits
10,000 S/s
10,000 S/s

3000 S/s

20 S/s
Max Speed
1,800,000 S/s
1,800,000 S/s

3000 S/s

60 S/s
Functions/Measurements      
Voltage

Current

Resistance

1
Diode

Temperature

Frequency

-

-
Period

-

-
1.8 MS/s Voltage Digitizer

-

-
1.8 MS/s Current Digitizer

-

-
Capacitance
-
2

-

-
Inductance
-
2

-

-
Features      
IVI Compliance Software Driver

LabVIEW Real-Time support

-

-
Self-Calibration

-

-
OPEN/SHORT compensation
-
2

-

-
Offset Compensated Ohms

-

-
Digital AC RMS

-

-
Noise rejection

-

Table 2: NI Digital Multimeter Summary


1NI 4050 doesn't support 4-wire resistance
2NI PXI-4072 only

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3. Measurement Comparison



· Accuracy
Accuracy is the maximum difference that will exist between the actual value and the indicated value at the output of the signal source. It is important to note that the accuracy of a digital multimeter depends not only on the instrument, but on the type of signal being measured. Table 3 compares the NI 407x 2-year accuracy specifications to the 1-year accuracy specifications of the NI 4050 in the 40 Hz to 20kHz frequency range.


Input
NI 4071
Accuracy
(2-year)
NI 4070/4072 Accuracy (2-year)

NI 4065 Accuracy (1-year)

NI 4050 Accuracy (1-year)
DC Voltage
 
10 V
0.125 mV
0.31 mV

0.95 mV

51.4 mV
100 V
2.2 mV
2.80 mV

11.6 mV

25.3 mV
AC Voltage
   
5 V
2.8 mV
3.5 mV

20 mV

342 mV
100 V
85 mV
190 mV

350 mV

2300 mV
DC Current
   
1 A
0.31 mA
0.52 mA

1.1 mA

26.3 mA
AC Current
   
1 A
0.6 mA
1.2 mA

4.8 mA

123 mA
Resistance
   
500 Ohm
25 mOhm
43 mOhm

60 mOhm

4135 mOhm
10 MOhm
1000 Ohm
4100 Ohm

5100 Ohm

70,000 Ohm
Table 3: Accuracy Comparison


· Resolution
Resolution is defined as the smallest detectable incremental change of input parameter that can be detected in the output signal. The NI 4071 has the ability to resolve 7½ digits (26-bits) at 7 S/s. This amazing resolution equates to the ability to detect changes that are 10 times smaller than a 6 ½ digit digital multimeter, as shown in Table 4.




NI 4071

NI 4071 / 4072

NI 4065


NI 4050

7½ Digits

6 ½ Digits
6 ½ Digits

5 ½ Digits

Absolute Resolution (10V input)

1 microV

10 microV
10 microV

251 microV
Table 4: Resolution Comparison


· Speed/Throughput
The NI 4050 is designed for low-speed applications, such as data logging and test bench probing. As shown Table 5, the NI 407x is optimized for those applications were speed is of utmost importance.


NI 407x

NI 4065

NI 4050
Resolution
 
7 S/s1

-

-
100 S/s

10 S/s

-
3,000 S/s

1500 S/s

10 S/s
10,000 S/s

3000 S/s

50 S/s
Max rate
1,800,000 S/s

3000 S/s

60 S/s
Table 5: Measurement Speed Comparison


1PXI-4071 only

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4. Temperature Stability


As shown in Table 6, NI digital multimeters guarantee their specifications over a wide temperature range. This temperature stability exceeds the limited 18 - 28C temperature range offered by traditional GPIB-based multimeters. A GPIB-based multimeters' temperature sensitivity is due to the high temperature coefficients of their precision components. The NI 407x amazing stability is due to its self-calibration (self-cal) functions. This self-cal improves stability and accuracy by removing errors due to temperature variation and long-term drift. The self-cal function guarantees the standard accuracy specifications across the entire operating range of 0 to 55 C. For more information read the NI 407x self-cal tutorial.


Model
Guaranteed Specification Range
Operating range
NI 407x
0 - 55°C
0 - 55°C

NI 4065

18 - 28°C

0 - 40°C

NI 4050
15 - 35°C
0 - 55°C
Table 6: Stability Comparison

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5. External Calibration

Analogous to traditional digital multimeter, the NI 4050 offers a 1-year calibration cycle (cal cycle). The NI 407x can offer a 2-year cal cycle because of its highly stable components and self-calibration function. The length of a cal cycle is very important because the cost of calibration alone can easily offset the cost of the product over a 5-year product service life, as shown in table 7.


Product Cal Cycle
Cal Cycles for a 5-year
Service Life
1-year
5
2-year
2
Table 7: Calibration Cost Comparison


Some users choose to set up a calibration system in house for their system digital multimeters to ease the down time and risk involved in shipping the product to an outside calibration facility. However, the labor costs are similar to the calibration fees charged by the outside facility.

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6. Additional NI 407x Functions/Features


  • 1.8 MS/s, High-Voltage Digitizer

Customers can use the NI 407x as both a full-featured DMM and a fully isolated 1.8MS/s high voltage digitizer. The digitizer capability allows you to use the NI 4071 to acquire isolated voltage waveforms up to 700 V (1,000 V AC peak) and current waveforms up to 3A. The FlexDMM architecture allows you to vary the digitizer resolution from 10 bits to 23 bits by simply changing the sample rate. For many applications, this dual functionality offers the user savings by eliminating multiple products.

  • LabVIEW Real-Time Support

The LabVIEW Real-Time Module delivers a framework in which applications run predictably in time with increased reliability and stand alone with no user interaction required. The LabVIEW Real-Time Module is an add-on component to the LabVIEW development systems. When installed, this software complies LabVIEW graphical code and optimizes it for the selected real-time target.

  • Capacitance and Inductance Measurements (LCR meter)

The NI 4072 uses a 2-wire, multi-tone, constant current technique to measure impedance. When a multi-tone constant current source (Isrc) is applied to the device under test (DUT), the NI 4072 measures the fundamental and third harmonic of the voltage waveform.When the current and voltage are known, the NI 4072 calculates the capacitance or inductance using FFT peak analysis. If the residual series impedance (Zs) and the stray parallel admittance (Yp) introduce a significant error in the measurement, the NI 4072 can measure the magnitude of the error and reduce it using compensation techniques.

  • Accurate Low-level Resistance Measurements

The NI 407x offers a Offset-Compensated Ohms (OCO) feature which eliminates the effects of thermal offsets in low-level resistance measurements. OCO assures precise and accurate resistance measurements (100x improvement), even in the presence of typical offsets that exist in most if not all sophisticated manufacturing test systems. It also opens up the ability to make resistance in the presence of small dc signals, such as measuring connector, contact and bus resistance while current is flowing through the device under test. For more information read the NI 407x measurement tutorial.

  • Extreme Noise Rejection

The NI 407x offers DC Noise Rejection (DCNR) that suppresses the noise coupled onto a DC measurement. No production environment or laboratory is perfectly shielded from noise sources like fans, motors, and power lines. With the NI 407x digital Noise Rejection filters, it is possible to make very high quality measurements despite the presence of common noise sources that would challenge the rejection capability of most other DMMs including the NI 4050. There is very little if any speed penalty to be paid for this very dramatic improvement in noise rejection.

  • High-Speed ACRMS Measurements

The NI 407x ACRMS digital technique uses an onboard digital signal processor (DSP) to compute the rms value from digitized samples of the AC waveform. This digital technique provides the following advantages:

  • You do not have to worry about the nature of the signal being measured
  • Measurement throughput with AC measurements is dramatically increased (at least 10x)

The NI 4065/4050, along with every other DMM in this class, uses analog conversion techniques to measure ACRMS. This old technique has significant drawbacks:

  • Bandwidth & accuracy changes with the magnitude and shape of the input waveform
  • Settling time is extremely slow, limiting measurement throughput in an automated system

 

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7. Related Links

Browse and Compare All NI Switches

Find the Right Switch

Digital Multimeters

NI 4065 USB DMM

NI 4070 PXI DMM

 

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