Evaluation of MS8236 Network Digital Multimeter with Autorange and Auto shutdown

The Circuit Specialists MS8236 Network digital multimeter was evaluated and used to test various network testing functions. This multimeter is unique due to the addition of these features specifically related to testing of LAN systems and telephone systems.

The standard multimeter functions of Volts (AC and DC), Amps (AC and DC), mA (AC and DC), uA (AC and DC), Diode test, Continuity (Beeper), and Resistance (ohms); are available and were tested and compared to the published specifications. This unit also features autoranging and auto shutdown to conserve battery life. The standard features of this multimeter are impressive and compare favorably to higher priced units on the market.

The additional Network and telephone system testing functions were thoroughly tested and evaluated. These additional functions are where this multimeter shines.

The standard multimeter measurements performed were Voltage (AC and DC), current (AC and DC), Resistance, and Diode test. The accuracy of the voltage and resistance ranges are better than 1% (0.5% for DC and 0.8% for AC) and the accuracy of the current measurements are also in line with similar multimeters (better than 2% for DC and better than 3% for AC).

The Network and telephone testing functions available are phone line mode detection (Tip/Ring identification, On/ Off hook detection), cable identification and tracking (using the included Receiver Probe), integrity test of network cables (shorted, open, mis-wired, reversed, and split pairs). The multimeter also has a non-contact voltage detection mode that can be used to safely determine the presence of AC power line voltages on cables or electrical outlets.

The MS8632 was used to test a phone system and was able to verify and detect a mis-wired phone system. A reversed Tip/Ring wiring was easily confirmed using this multimeter. A broken cable was also found using the built in Tone generator and corresponding receiver Probe. The Network cable integrity testing features of this multimeter were extremely helpful in diagnosing network installation problems. A miss-wired cabling system was easily detected using this feature. I also found this feature useful for determining whether a cable was a crossover or standard wired cable.

The MS8632 Network Digital Multimeter is a low priced but extremely capable measuring device that compares extremely helpful in diagnosing network installation problems. A mis-wired cabling system was easily detected using this feature. I also found this feature useful for determining whether a cable was a crossover or standard wired cable.

favorably to a much higher priced unit. The additional network and telephone testing capabilities make this unit an extremely useful addition to the toolbox of any IT professional or cable installation technician. The unit comes with all necessary accessories including a cable tracking receiver probe and a cloth carrying case.


George Leger has a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, worked in private industry pioneering surface-mount technology and in government research labs for twenty years, published several papers on surface-mount technology, co-authored papers published in national symposiums on accelerator technology, was past president of SMTA and an adjunct professor at the community college level, holds a patent, and is a certified microchip design partner, serving as a consultant to many companies developing electronic circuits.

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