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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,

I bought my first motorcycle, the above mentioned TR6R, yesterday and I couldn’t be more thrilled. That said, I’m not an experienced rider or gear-head and I’m just curious as to what some good tips for “newbies” are. Here are a few questions I’ve come up with so far.

What are some good tools I’ll need? I have complete wrench, socket, and Allen key sets but don’t have a clue as to bike-specific tools.

What are major errors you may have made in your early days that you’d avoid if you could?

What are the most common and important maintenance issues and how can I make sure I’m doing everything I can to keep it running smoothly?

Thanks in advance, I’m looking forward to becoming a part of this community!
 

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Hi,

Welcome to the Forum. :)

Couple of owners of '72 bikes here already, who'll doubtless be along to add, but I'll start the ball rolling ...

What are some good tools I’ll need? I have complete wrench, socket, and Allen key sets but don’t have a clue as to bike-specific tools.
If you don't have them already, obtain the Triumph '71/'72 650 Workshop Manual and the '72 650 Parts Catalogue. Paper copies of both can be obtained from a good Meriden Triumph parts dealer - MAP in St. Pete is probably the nearest to you - or free-to-download online copies are available at http://classicbike.biz/Triumph/Repair/1970s/72Triumph_650cc_Twins_Workshop_Manual.pdf and http://www.tioc.org/partsbookstriumph/pb-tri-650-1972 99-0953.pdf. Towards the back of the workshop manual is a section entitled "Service Tools"; however, not all are always needed so I wouldn't rush out to buy 'em 'til you find you need 'em.

On your bike, the vast majority of fasteners with a shank diameter 1/4" or larger have Unified threads - UNC, UNF and possibly UNEF (Extra Fine); these have AF hexs. (bolts, nuts and sockets).

However, a few - e.g. some of the bolts and studs through the rocker-boxes and cylinder head into the block - are British Standard Cycle (BSC) thread, for which you'll need wrenches and/or sockets that some of your countrymen call "Whitworth". The difference with British Standard wrenches and sockets is they're marked with the shank major diameter ... so, where you'd usually use, say, a wrench or socket marked "9/16" (AF) on a 3/8"UNF bolt, the wrench or socket for a 3/8"BSC bolt will be marked "3/8 BS". :)

Smaller than 1/4" shank diameter, nuts, bolts and screws are a mixture of UNC, UNF and BA (British Association), which look very similar but are not interchangeable.

When you get into it, there is an online reference - stainlessbits.com/link12.html - where you can look up threads and dimensions using the part number in the parts catalogue. :thumb

What are the most common and important maintenance issues and how can I make sure I’m doing everything I can to keep it running smoothly?
In the Workshop Manual, page A2 is entitled "Routine Maintenance".

Hth.

Regards,
 

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Hi N8wink,
welcome to triumph classic ownership !
I had my first bike at 6yo, bought up on a farm, broke nearly every bike I had being an idiot as a youth.
Learnt many practical skills growing up, mechanical and electrical, but was a master of none.
next came the 70's bigger bikes, both farm and road, I never had to really swing a spanner, they were pretty bullet proof, cant say I was necessarily built so precise ! as again, learning the hard way was my forte.
In my novice answer to your question, Read everything you can, find a service place that can do the routine servicing for you till you can be confident to start attempting to tinker with your bike. And tinker you must do in order to keep it safe on the road, otherwise deep pockets are in order for a private mechanic. Expect that you will need to learn, expect some frustration along this journey, there a passion more so than a transportation vessel, that's why modern Jap bikes are built, turn key and go (well, a bit of a broad statement I suppose).. there's no real few things or quick tips, just lots of learning, reading and trying, and yep, eventually pleasure. I still remember the day as a know it all 13yo, attempting a vertical silage pit leap on the farm, with the old man saying "probably not advisable lad" you guessed it, up I went in which carnage followed, but another lesson learnt.
Congrats on your purchase, there fascinating machines as you build a relationship with them, but don't attempt silage pit jumps with them !
Probably confused the hell out of you with my reply
But there's plenty of knowledge here from guys that have forgotten more than most people know, who Im sure will answer and help with specific issues, good luck

Col
 

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You're gonna' want to replace those posidrive screws, both unf and ba, with allen head cap screws. The former can be had most anywhere including from Triumph suppliers whereas the latter from vendors supplying british fasteners here in the U.S.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow, I really appreciate all the information and encouragement so quickly! I did forget to mention I found and bookmarked the owners manual, workshop manual, and parts catalog from classicbike.biz and have been reading as much as I can over the last few days, even if I don’t quite understand all of it yet. The whole reason I bought a vintage Triumph (other than them being ridiculously cool) was so I would have to learn it and work at it. I don’t want a push button and go bike of any variety.

I know it probably sounds silly to all of you experienced riders, but I had a great sense of accomplishment last night after just being able to figure out how to start her up by myself. I went through everything with the seller when I got it a few days ago but admittedly had issues getting the sequence right yesterday morning. After tending to family duties for most of the day, I spent a couple hours cleaning off my workshop in the garage, then decided to give it another attempt. This time I was able to get it going and it fired on the 2nd kick. So cross step one off the list. I know it’s a (very) small victory, but I’ll take every win I can get! ?

Thanks again for welcoming me in and I’m looking forward to learning more about and from you all!

Cheers!
 

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Among other components, I've used ba fasteners mostly on the carb and also on the handlebar switch housings.
 

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Hi N8wink, Congratulations on your getting bike started. That is where we all start. Yes it's a big deal on your first Brit bike. No push button starting! You actually had to start it!

Getting started with Triumph is huge. Lots of info. Where does one start? This comes to mind.

Most important is fuse. Triumph 35A fuse is very different than USA 35A. A USA 35A fuse will usually melt wire harness before fuse blows. Here is link to fuse thread:

http://www.triumphrat.net/vintage-technical-tips-and-tricks/430426-fuses-101-a.html

You'll need # 2,3,4 pozidrive screw drivers. Don't even think of using Philips on them. Lowe's, tool sellers & on line sells them. I like the bits used with a handle. That can fit under seat in tool kit using less space.

Pozidrive screws usually have 4 little slash lines on head between grooves. That is a quick visual cue. Even though similar a close exam will show the diffrenece in slots between pozi & Philips.

Me & tjkoko see the screws differently. Use what you like the looks of the head of.

A good pozidrive bit & a not damage screw head, pozidrive will not slip at all. It will grip as good as allan wrench. Again don't use phillips screw driver though.

Stuart is most correct you need whitworth/BA wrench set. In USA few knows what BA is, we know them as whitworth. It is confusing as they call the exact same wrench/socket size 2 different sizes.

Your first thing is oil drain bolt on frame is whitworth/BA wrench. Next is valve adjuster nuts. You find several others so don't delay on getting those. Combination wrecnh & 3/8 drive socket set. Don't mess around with trying to use SAE 7/16 on valve adjusters. It's not the same was whitworth.

Here's an example on Ebay. Get sockets too.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/WHITWORTH-...ash=item5902449ad8:g:z4AAAOxyYSJSBEqn&vxp=mtr

Also some of the bolts on your year are better reached by a straight box wrench SAE size. Rear foot rest, brake stay nuts jump to mind. I got a cheap Chinese made set at Car Quest auto parts. Take a torch, heat shank at head & bend it straight. A propane torch with MAP gas makes enough heat to do this. Trust me you'll love it. I use them all the time. I bent them all & bent a few extras as needed. Even though cheaply made I've not broken any. You may have to grind the head down some. Get a cheapo grinder from Harbor Freight. Get a wire wheel for one side. Very handy.

The rest of the tools you'll have. Most fasteners are common ASE American size wrenches & threads. But again always check.
You'll need a torque wrench or two. You'll need to do head bolts 16, 18#. Alternator & clutch nuts etc. This one should cover 30-70#. A very good wrench can do both these.

Buy Triumph special tools as needed. They are easy to come by & most not very costly. You'll know which ones as you go. Unless you are skilled, don't jury rig tools. Correct tools prevent damage & make difficult jobs easy.

Right away you'll need to buy or make tools to remove trans filler plug, valve adjuster caps. These remove without damage.

You will need a timing light to set/check timing.

If you have electronic ignition, that's fine. Points work very well too & very reliable if maintained every 3k miles as manual states.

Well maintained these bikes are very reliable. 1972 Tiger is a good bike & I think comfortable to ride. Single carb is just great & very simple to maintain. Your photo shows a nice looking bike.

Most important is motor oil! Motor oil is also in primary/clutch housing. So you must use a wet clutch compatible oil. Many to choose from. My personal choice is Mobil1 v-twin 20-50. It seems very good a reducing wear & the clutch frees very well & no slip. Many others are good too. NO CAR OIL as clutch will slip bad.

Next is carb float must be Amal stay up with viton tip aluminum needle. Bike came with nylon float & needle. Ethonal fuel deteriorates the nylon float & needle. I had a fire due to this. May already have it. See Amal web site. Only use genuine Amal parts.
You have to remove float bowl to access float & needle. You might be able to see float with flash light & mirror via drain plug, try that 1st.

Good you have black rubber fuel lines & filters. If tank has rust it can be cleaned, sealed & you can save original paint if you wish. Do it yourself or have done.

You'll need a center stand or lift to work on bike when rear wheel needs to be rotated, like in setting points & adjusting valves. Don't need a full bike lift, just need to be able to remove at least 1 wheel at a time.

As you gain experience & miles there are things you can do to improve bike. Leak proof fork seals, LPWilliams damper seals & 5w fork oil. Don't use ATF, too thick. When you need clutch cable I most strongly recommend only Barnett as they are very durable & ends are swaged steel to resist pulling off.

Every last connector on bike needs to be inspected as does every inch of wire for chaffing & cracked insulation. Make sure points wire has it's seal & points cover has gasket & fiber washer on screws. Make sure you have good rain tires. Florida you will have to get wet. Water kills many bikes, but properly prepared rain riding is no problem. Drain carb after rain rides or washing bike.

Do you have chain guard? I recommend them to keep chain from hitting you if it breaks, also to keep oil off your leg. Keep chain well lubed & adjusted. Lots of lube needed in rain.

Go easy until you gain many miles of experience especially on wet roads. Don't speed on the curves. These bike really handle well, but it will come out from under you in an instant. If it scares you slow down. As you gain experience on this bike you will feel comfortable at speed.

Don't ever lug motor. Keep motor spinning such as if you wind on throttle it picks right up. Ping can be hard to hear with your exhaust. Listen for it though. It will go away instantly if backing off throttle or down shifting & reving motor higher. If you hear it, anticipate it & down shift before it happens. Ping will hole a piston.

There is lots to starting these bikes. There is a knack to starting these things. Practice makes perfect.

A few tips that may help. Always free clutch before starting cold or hot.

I'm a smaller man. I can't safely balance bike & kick. I start with bike on center or side stand. It puts stress on stand, but I've not had problems with either stand in many years of doing this.

I "clock" the kicker lever to near horizontal using clutch lever. After freeing clutch I get compression with kicker, pull clutch, then clock to horizontal. Then release clutch. Turn on key & kick very strongly. A weak kick will often kick back. Never weak kick. Always kick strongly. You want as fast of cranking speed as possible. Obviously a tall large man has an easier time. But even smaller men have no problems with practice. Tickle carb as needed cold or hot. Do a dry kick KEY OFF as needed cold or hot. Key off kick doesn't need to be very hard. You just want to draw fuel into the manifold/cyl.

Keep throttle closed as you kick but open throttle at the instant motor fires. This takes some practice. There is special throttle hold for a very hot start though. 99% of time my bike starts first kick after learning all this.

Don't short the tickle cold. Let the gas run down side of carb some. Even some dripping onto trans is fine. You usually won't need choke in Florida. Experiment. There is no cold idle provision so keep it reving at idle until well warmed up.

On hot days bike may die at red lights due to fuel boiling in carb. Make sure insulator o-ring for carb is correct, but really you must just have to raise idle faster that you'd like or bike will die. Then you'll have to get neutral to restart. By then you're already rear ended! Don't let it die at red lights.

Starting hot is tricky. Just shutting off motor to take a piss, usually no problem. Just kick & go. On short stops I usually don't turn off gas as it tends to compensate for boiling fuel to a degree.

However on warm days especially if you park for coffee & motor is luke warm bike can be very hard to start. Very hard like you think it won't start. I know this sounds odd, but works. Tickle carb well. Kick 1 time key off. Hold full throttle & kick bike hard. Will start almost every time like this. Be ready to back throttle as motor will rev instantly. But don't let it idle at all until carb is well cooled by motor running. 90f+ can be a real problem. After you have practice in heat you'll get the feel for this.

These bikes are great fun. If you can connect with vintage Brit riders in your area, it's even more fun. Enjoy the ride & keep safe.
Don
 

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What are some good tools I’ll need? I have complete wrench, socket, and Allen key sets but don’t have a clue as to bike-specific tools.

What are major errors you may have made in your early days that you’d avoid if you could?

What are the most common and important maintenance issues and how can I make sure I’m doing everything I can to keep it running smoothly?
You're in luck! LUNMAD videos on youtube provide you with step-by-step instruction on almost everything you will ever need to know how to do on your bike. Such a wonderful fellow. Remember to shoot him a few quid for his generosity. https://www.youtube.com/user/lunmad
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to provide all this great information. This thread is bookmarked and I will be referring to it often in the coming months!
 

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You're gonna' want to replace those posidrive screws, both unf and ba, with allen head cap screws. The former can be had most anywhere including from Triumph suppliers whereas the latter from vendors supplying british fasteners here in the U.S.

I've owned a number of older Triumph twins and worked at a British bike shop in the late 70s/early 80s. I never saw the need to replace the screws with socket head ones (Allen). If you are careful and use the correct bit, the original screws will not be an issue. Moreover, the thread form on many aftermarket socket head screws is not correct, resulting in a sloppy fit.
 

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I've owned a number of older Triumph twins and worked at a British bike shop in the late 70s/early 80s. I never saw the need to replace the screws with socket head ones (Allen). ..... the thread form on many aftermarket socket head screws is not correct, resulting in a sloppy fit.
Many out there simply use a phillips for a p'drive screw resulting in a buggered cross and didn't think twice about it. That's where, imho, the allen wrench comes into play. As to threads, I haven't had a problem with ba fasteners threaded into ba threads. Not wanting to hijack this thread into fasteners, I prefer using allen head cap screws in the place of both p'drive and phillips.

Let's move on! 8))
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks tjkoko, It’s good to know about the hardware issue in advance. I’ll probably wait until there’s a need and then assess the condition of the existing hardware. I’ll definitely consider going to the Allen when the need to replace comes along.
 

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Hi,

Most important is fuse.
Most simply, specifically in the US, use a 15A or 20A fuse.

Stuart is most correct you need whitworth/BA wrench set. In USA few knows what BA is, we know them as whitworth. It is confusing as they call the exact same wrench/socket size 2 different sizes.
Uh-uh, I think Don has misread here. :)

While the US is bad for calling anything British "Whitworth", none of the BA ("British Association") hex. sizes are the same as "Whitworth" except 2BA/1/8" Whitworth. The largest BA shank is only 6 mm. OD and most fasteners even on a motorcycle are larger than that.

Many (all?) "Whitworth" wrenches and sockets will be marked with another fraction and "BS" - "British Standard" - it's actually these larger BS fractions that'll be the shank diameters of the relevant fasteners.

Your first thing is oil drain bolt on frame is whitworth/BA wrench. Next is valve adjuster nuts.
So, no, if they're "whitworth" they'll be "BS". :)

However, on a '72, while the "valve adjuster nuts" are 1/4"BSC (British Standard Cycle), which is also 3/16" Whitworth, :rolleyes: the oil drain bolt is listed as 5/16"UNF - it doesn't become 3/8"BSC 'til the '73 750's?

Right away you'll need to buy or make tools to remove trans filler plug, valve adjuster caps.
I use either the rear suspension adjuster C-wrench or a large coin held in a pair of vice-grips.

I've owned a number of older Triumph twins and worked at a British bike shop in the late 70s/early 80s. I never saw the need to replace the screws with socket head ones (Allen).
Mmmm ... but, forty years on, plated UNC screws with Pozidriv Filister heads (to fit in the counterbores) are widely-available off-the-shelf? If not, Allen is what has to be used.

the thread form on many aftermarket socket head screws is not correct, resulting in a sloppy fit.
:confused: As I say, they're UNC. How can good-quality "aftermarket socket head [UNC] screws" in the US be "a sloppy fit"? They aren't in GB, several thousand miles away.

Hth.

Regards,
 

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Mmmm ... but, forty years on, plated UNC screws with Pozidriv Filister heads (to fit in the counterbores) are widely-available off-the-shelf? If not, Allen is what has to be used.


:confused: As I say, they're UNC. How can good-quality "aftermarket socket head [UNC] screws" in the US be "a sloppy fit"? They aren't in GB, several thousand miles away.
I believe that JRC Engineering sells the correct screws. They only sell to dealers; so one needs to find a dealer that buys from them.

Many Triumph socket head screw kits found in the US are sourced in Asia and are of poor quality. The fit is indeed sloppy.
 

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Hello Everyone,

I bought my first motorcycle, the above mentioned TR6R, yesterday and I couldn’t be more thrilled. That said, I’m not an experienced rider or gear-head and I’m just curious as to what some good tips for “newbies” are. Here are a few questions I’ve come up with so far. .......

Well done, a perfect machine, of it's type, for a taster in old bike ownership.

Take care with your riding, treat wet, muddy roads, strewn with fallen leaves, as ice. I guess you may not have too much of that where you are but wet roads are very different proposition to dry roads.
Keep you eye on the road surface(as well as everything else of course). Driving a car you can lapse into auto- pilot mode but on a bike this can be dire. Even a loose plastic bag can have you off if you see it late.

Get a good adjustable spanner, for light duty they are fine. When you have failed to find a fit with the 26 other wrenches you have tried, you will bless it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Took (and passed) the MSF basic rider course Friday/Saturday and got some good time in on the Tiger today, going around the neighborhood for an hour or so and getting a feel for the bike. I’m absolutely in love with everything about how it rides, sounds, and feels.

I have one problem though, I noticed my turn signals and brake lights aren’t working. Everything else (headlight, tail light, horn) works and I’m trying to figure out the common point for the brake lights and turn signals. Any help would be appreciated!
 

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May have missed it in the other advice but one of the first things to do is add an aftermarket oil filter. As far as the lights it is generally the bulb is burned out, the flasher is bad or the switches are corroded. Brake light switch takes a beating in its location, cheap and easy to replace. Any autoparts store 12v flasher will work on the turn signals. Don't need an oem replacement unless you want to. Handlebar switch for the turn signals can be taken apart and contacts cleaned. Put it in a plastic bag to take it apart as there are little ball bearings and springs inside it that will try to launch into orbit.
 

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Hi,

Took (and passed) the MSF basic rider course
Congrats. :thumb

noticed my turn signals and brake lights aren’t working.
trying to figure out the common point for the brake lights and turn signals.
There might not be a "common point", just two separate faults.

Brake lamp
First check is the simplest - take off the rear lamp lens, take out the bulb and take a close look at the filaments and the inside of the socket; as Mitch posted, the problem might be nothing more than a burned or broken bulb filament (the thicker one of the two), and/or corrosion on the contacts.

Even if the filaments look ok, buy a new twin-filament bulb soon. Bulbs develop other faults on their own, not helped by the the bike's vibration; it's good to have a spare in the garage for substitution testing and for when it does go wrong. Same applies to turn signal bulbs.

If the bulb and socket looks ok, look at the switches. One is operated by the foot pedal, by a small bolt secured by a nut in a lug on top of the pivot - parts book pages 56/57, parts #16 and #17. I can't find the 99-1028 switch in the parts book but it looks like this:-



... is attached to the frame beside the head of the bolt on the pedal and should have a White and a Brown wire attached one each to its two spade terminals.

When the brake pedal's in the 'normal' position - leaning on the underside of the footrest rubber :eek: - the bolt head on the pedal should press on the button on the switch so it 'breaks' the contacts inside the switch. Then, when you press the pedal, the bolt is moved away from the switch, the button should pop out, make the switch contacts and the brake lamp filament should illuminate.

At least that's the theory; in practice, the switch is something Mickey Mouse was ashamed of ... :bluduh

Which is why I like a front brake switch too; it should be a cylinder in the front brake cable with another pair of White and Brown wires attached. However, you might find that the cable on your bike doesn't have the switch - regrettably, the front brake type on your bike has a reputation for being poor, and poor fault-finding technique has led to widespread blame on the switch and fitting of cables without switches. :bluduh

Try those checks; if everything looks ok, come back and I'll suggest some more tests.

Turn signals
Mitch could be correct about the fault being in the turn signals relay and/or the switch but the first thing I do when presented with turn signal faults on old Triumphs is check the return (aka 'ground') part of their circuits to battery +ve. As you get further into your bike's electrics (and you will :rolleyes:), you'll find every component has its own Red return wire, except the turn signals ... :bluduh

The return path for the front signals is the bulb holder is attached to the turn signal body - which, although it's plastic, should be covered in chrome - the body's attached to the stem, the stem's screwed into the headlamp shell, inside the bottom of the shell should be a rivetted lug with a Red wire attached. However, with time, corrosion and dirt accumulates in all those joints; :( you can check if this is the problem by removing both signal lenses on one side and attaching temporary wires from the bulb holders to battery +ve; if, having moved the handlebar switch to the same side, the signals start to flash ...

Dismantling, scrubbing with a brass brush and assembly with graphite grease (electrically conductive, which normal grease isn't) on the threads sorts most of the ground 'connections', the only one it doesn't is the bullet lug rivetted to the headlamp shell (or, if the headlamp shell's ever been replaced, it might not even be present, in which case we'll have to figure out another way of connecting a Red wire to the turn signals and/or the headlamp shell).

The rear signals' bulb holders and bodies are connected to the stems in the same way as the front ones, the stems are screwed into the rear lamp mounting, that should have a Red wire attached into a (black-insulated tubular steel) snap connector with other Red wires somewhere under the seat. Similar to the front signals, corrosion and dirt accumulates in all those joints; also the rear lamp mounting might be missing the Red wire (should be attached to one of the mounting bolts through the rear fender).

Meter
Finally here, as your first problems with the bike are electrical - along with spare rear and turn signal bulbs, small brass brush and graphite grease :) - I advise investing in a multi-meter, if you don't have one already; the meter should be able to measure Volts above 12V, resistance (might be a horseshoe-shaped symbol) and often includes a low Amps scale. No need to buy a super-expensive one now; in fact, having a small, relatively-cheap one you can slip into a pocket can be useful.

By reputation, avoid Harbor Freight ones. Whatever you have/buy, first test should be simply setting it to a Volts scale, connecting each lead to one of the battery terminals and starting the engine. The meter's reading should be steady (at a little over 12V); if it waggles around all over the place, likely the meter's electronics aren't protected from emi (electro-magnetic interference - the problem with the Harbor Freight ones apparently); you shouldn't need to pay a lot to get a meter with emi protection.

Hth.

Regards,
 
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