I’ve got this thing about old equipment.

Did you ever find something in amongst all your junk that you’d almost completely forgotten that you had?

I did that just last week.

I was staring around my office, waiting the compiler to finish a long run, when I spotted the corner of a black carrying case poking out of the junk on the other side of the room.

If you had asked me the day before how many multimeters I owned, I’d have said “one piece of cheap modern junk from the hardware store.”

Still, I recognized the carrying case immediately.

It’s the case of a Simpson model 467 multimeter - with the meter still in it.

Simpson model 467 with carrying case and 10 ampere shunt
Simpson model 467 with carrying case and 10 ampere shunt

I bought the 467 back in about 1992.

I had just started work at a small company. The guy I worked with took me to a US Army surplus sale in Mainz-Kastel to see if they had any equipment we (the company) could use.

He picked up a Simpson 467 in good shape for the company and paid a fairly decent price for it. I picked up the other 467 for next to nothing - it was rather beat up, and needed some cleaning. I disassembled it, cleaned it up, and gave the housing a coat of clear paint to make it look better.

I knew when I bought it that it would need new test leads - the ones with it were broken. I figured a good meter with some new cheap leads would be good deal.

Bad leads
Bad leads

I didn’t know then that the 467 has the inside-out plugs that only Simpson ever used. You can see them in the picture there.

I checked a couple of stores back then, and they didn’t sell the Simpson style leads - why should they? Simpson is an American company, and I was in Germany (still am.)

I parked the Simpson in the basement storage room, and left it there.

It managed to not get lost when I moved to a new appartment, and it stayed with me when my wife and I built our house and move into it.

I ran into it every now and again, but always thought it would be too much of a hassle to track down and order leads for it.

This time, I had a computer handy so I just asked Amazon for a pair of Simpson 00043 test leads - and Amazon said “got ‘em here, when do you want ‘em?” Simpson apparently still makes them. I later found that there’s a company that makes compatible leads and sells them cheaper, but by then I’d ordered a pair of Simpson original test leads.

New leads
New leads in the package
New leads unpacked

It took nearly thirty years, but I finally got around to making my “cheap” meter work.

Just the pair of leads for the 467 cost as much as my other meter - that’s a MASTECH MY64 that currently sells for 46 Euros on Amazon.


Having two meters came in handy the other day while I was fooling with the LM3671 modules for the soil moisture monitor. It beat the heck out of swapping things around all the time.

The Simpson won’t (can’t) replace the MASTECH for some tasks - it just hasn’t got the functions.

For what it does do, though, it works very well.

My hobby room is a strange place. I’ve got a hand cranked Wimshurst high voltage generator (home made, late 1800s technology.) I’ve got an oscilloscope from 1965 (the D43.) I’ve got the old Simpson from about 1987, and modern computers and smartphones and other electronic gadgets.

The new stuff is useful - the old stuff is fun.

What old tools or equipment do you have laying around?