Last September, we wrote about an interesting product we saw at the World Maker Faire NYC. It was a conveniently sized multimeter that connects to your smartphone and uses custom software to give you mobility and ease with your electronics measurements. This multimeter is known as the Voltset and the team behind it have begun a Kickstarter campaign to promote and raise money for the device.
From the article we wrote previously, the Voltset has evolved from the Mini-Voltset and the Mega-Voltset into the Voltset and the Voltset PRO. These multimeters are in the CAT II measurement category. This includes small devices and the outlets within a home. The Voltset team is striving to make the multimeter CAT III capable, allowing for the measurement of higher power systems including a home distribution panel.
The key difference between the Voltset and the Voltset PRO is the range of readings that each can make. While the Voltset includes the ability to measure voltage, resistance, diodes, and conductivity; the Voltset PRO includes additional measurements of capacitance, frequency, and current.
Although it is odd that the measurement of current is unavailable to the Voltset while it is a staple in many multimeters, the software provided by the Voltset will include automated calculations that can compute the current. The software provided will also be able to chart and export data to Excel. If a user were to use the Voltset on an outlet or battery, the software will also be able to tell you additional information. The software for the Voltset is open to expansion and customization with support from the Voltset community.
At the core of the Voltset is a Cortex-M3 microcontroller with a dedicated 50,000 count DMM chip, bringing the resolution of the Voltset’s readings to that mark. The multimeter will also self-check and calibrate when it is turned on, however this is still being perfected. The probes used will be small enough to coil around the enclosure for easy storage into your pocket.
A Voltset Bluetooth expansion module is also available that will allow communication wirelessly. Unfortunately, this module ends up becoming a necessity for some users based on their smartphone.
Compatibility will be one of the challenges for the Voltset team. Android users will find no issue using the Voltset as long as they are running Honeycomb/Ice Cream Sandwich. However, iPhone users will find that they can only connect via Bluetooth, requiring the use of the expansion module. And Windows phone users will only be able to use the Voltset via USB.
Overall, the Voltset looks to be an extremely convenient and cost effective multimeter that will suit those who are more tinkerers than electricians. The openness for the expansion and the customization of the software is key for the growth of the app, but will require a strong community to develop it. The compatibility issues will make it minutely difficult for certain users, but I anticipate that these issues will dissolve fairly quickly.
The Voltset and Voltset PRO can be preordered from the Kickstarter page for $99 and $139 respectively with a bunch of accessories to add on.