You can buy a pukka Wattsup meter from RC Electronics for $60. That’s just too dear for me, I want to be able to apply a few of these in various places, so I go with the cheap fake Ebay version for £5.99 🙂 At the time I didn’t realise it was a cheap fake Wattsup, it was simply billed as Watt Meter
It duly arrived from some joint in Shenzhen and it wasn’t hard to see that quality control left something to be desired. But hey, whaddya expect for £6? I couldn’t source the LCD display and box for £6!
Chinese suppliers don’t actually have to deliver reliability at these low prices because the cost of sending the product back to China for a refund is higher than writing off the goods. Since I’m prepared to fix the odd part I’m happy to take the risk. It didn’t seem to be a good idea to apply a 12V car battery to this sucker as is, without some investigation. Plus having the display centred is a nice touch…
Hmm, nothing to centre the boards. Other than that, looks okay, except for the exposed positive solder joint in the main battery 12V line Insulated from the case by the blue anodising and now’t else. At least the LCD contacts are pushed away from the metal by some foam. The LCD groundplane ends just shy of the edge of the board so it may not short on the box, but it still seems a risky business to risk having the box at +12V potential when the anodising gets scraped through. Most 12V systems assume exposed metalwork is either isolated or connected to the negative terminal. I don’t feel that lucky as to go around with a +12V exposed metal box, so I got some of that pressed card (plastic can easily melt if it gets hot) and put it in inside the box, to at least give me an extra layer. I do see the wisdom of RC electronics using a plastic case, but then an 80% discount speaks a language of its own. How do I know it’s a fake Wattsup? Well, a Google for 12V watt meters showed me the Watts-UP, and the display layout looks very like it. Indeed the Watts-UP V2 manual showed me the design philosophy, what the display actually means, in particular the Data Queue and how to use it, as well as what the auxiliary power port means, a lot more useful than than the Chinglish sheet that came with it. The UI is designed well enough that I’d have been able to use it without all that, but it’s nice to know.
On testing it gives me reasonable values for current, voltage and power. The front of the Chinglish info sheet claims it’s made in the USA to ISO9001:2000 quality standards on the front page. If you ask ISO they have an article on what this means, and I can save you the trouble of Googling the link to their own content they talked about but failed to add, I think it is safe to say that my Chinese supplier failed to meet the aims of ISO9001:2000
One of the primary objectives of ISO 9001:2000, as clearly described in Clause 1.1 of the standard is “ to specify requirements for a quality management
system where an organization…
needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide product that meets customer
and applicable regulatory requirements…”
Fail for the Chinese supplier in failing to provide a piece of gear where you could see the display as delivered and was reasonably safe in the proposed application. And indeed was as described, since overleaf they changed their assertion as to where this piece of kit was made to “Made in china”
I will calibrate against my DVM but it seems basically a serviceable product at a jolly good saving if you’re prepared to do the extra work to make it safe and test it. I like it – I’ll get some more