[volt-nuts] Calibration of voltage standards

jeffhook at comcast.net jeffhook at comcast.net
Wed Feb 11 20:54:11 EST 2015

I have both the Keithley 155 and several Fluke 845AB's. 
I too prefer the Keithley 155 over the Fluke and I'm not a big fan of Keithley equipment. 
Jeff - KDØORH 

----- Original Message -----

From: "R.Phillips" <phill.r1 at btinternet.com> 
To: volt-nuts at febo.com 
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 6:00:42 AM 
Subject: Re: [volt-nuts] Calibration of voltage standards 

I think I was the Keithley 155 owner that ask the question. Since then I 
have added an HP3245A to my equipment which I have set to 1.000000 V DC, 
read by my "in calibration" HP3458A, and then compared by the Keithley 155 
against my Fluke 732A's 1.000 v output - this is showing a steady -1 uV on 
the 155's , 1 or 3uV range. I have replaced the batteries in the 155 with 9 
volt (6LF22/MB1604) batteries, works fine. I also have a Fluke 845AB which 
I would suggest is less stable. Best regards 

Roy Phillips. 

-----Original Message----- 
From: acbern at gmx.de 
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 10:00 AM 
To: volt-nuts at febo.com 
Subject: Re: [volt-nuts] Calibration of voltage standards 

for those interested, and for simplicity, wanted to add this from David 
which was in voltnuts in 2012. 

From: Charles P. Steinmetz <charles_steinmetz at lavabit.com> 
To: Discussion of precise voltage measurement <volt-nuts at febo.com> 
Sent: Saturday, 15 December 2012, 10:28 
Subject: Re: [volt-nuts] Fluke 335A versus HP 740B 

David wrote: 

> I have a Keithley 155 Null Detector how does that rate? 

The three usual suspects are the Fluke 845AB, the HP 419A, and Keithley 155. 
I have one of each, and they are all good meters. The received wisdom is 
that the Fluke is the one to have. However, in my view, the Keithley is the 
best of the bunch. It is a bonus if you find one with the rare 1554 AC 
power module (the 1554 mounts to the rear panel and allows AC operation -- 
otherwise, it is battery-only). 

The main problem today with the HP is that it uses impossible-to-find 
batteries. Not only are the original batteries unobtainable, I have yet to 
find a satisfactory replacement strategy. It also does not have a +/- 1 uV 
range, although I do not count that as a major fault since thermocouple 
noise in the measurement setup frequently prevents taking full advantage of 
the 1 uV range. 

The Fluke's batteries (sub-C NiCd cells) are readily replaced (though not 
inexpensively, if you get the best cells). Keithley used four, # 246 9 V 
carbon cells, which can easily be replaced with common 9 V alkalines or 9 V 
primary lithium cells that simply plug into the existing connectors. 

The HP and Fluke both use photocell choppers. Fluke published pre-release 
information indicating that they had designed a FET chopper for later 
production, but I have never seen an 845 with a FET chopper or a schematic 
of the FET chopper. (Does anyone here have either?) The Keithley was 
designed with a MOSFET chopper from the start. 

Not only is the Keithley the most modern design and the most likely to 
remain reliable, it also performs the best in my lab. I have had fewer 
ground loop and shielding problems with it than with the Fluke, and it has 
less noise and less drift. It is not enough better that most people should 
sell their Fluke to get a Keithley just for the performance difference 
(reliability may be another story), but -- IME -- it does perform better. 

They are all good meters, but IMO the Keithley is the best of the three. If 
I had only one, that is the one I'd want. 

Best regards, 


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