Clamp Meter, “A regular clamp meter consists of medium-sized clamp meter that comes with several important features.
Firstly, the front of the clamp meter will have the voltage sensing metal jaws that will need to be connected onto the device you will wish to measure.
Then, there is the tactical plastic body that serves as a barrier between the passing current and your fingers.
Secondly, you will find the buttons in the middle- push, hold and release reading one. Also, you will notice the display in the middle of the device as well as the dial which is sometimes called the rotary switch by some individuals.
Furthermore, some expensive models of clamp meters might come with bigger display and screen backlighting which will enable you to use the device at night without worrying about carrying a torch.
Lastly, the bottom of the clamp meter will have much-needed alignment marks as well as the various input jacks such as volts/ohm and common jack.”
Why Has Clamp Meter Become so Popular
Clamp meters have been developed not too long ago and their primary task is to offer a simple voltage reading.
However, now there are many different clamp meters that offer a wide array of features aside from the main one.
Furthermore, clamp meters are great because they allow individuals to monitor the currents in various electrical devices thereby ensuring safety because clamp meters permit electricians to completely bypass the old method of piercing the outer shell of wire so as to reach the copper wire and connect the meter reading device.
With clamp meter, the conductor does not need to touch the jaws of the measuring meter hence it is very convenient in addition to being really safe.
Lastly, most electricians recommend using clamp meters with high current devices but keep in mind that different clamp meters have different reading thus you can find clamp meters that have a maximum reading of 150 A or you could find clamp meters with a maximum reading of 700A.
Some premium models of clamp meters such as the iFlex clamp meter have a maximum reading of 2500A.
Where Are Clamp Meters Used
Clamp meters are usually used with industrial controls and equipment plus you can find clamp meters being used in residential and commercial building as well.
Mainly, clamp meters are used to perform regular current and voltage check plus clamp meters can also be used during installation or technical equipment repairs. Sometimes clamp meters are used for troubleshooting.
What Is the Difference Between the Digital Multimeter and Clamp Meter
The main difference between the two is that a digital multimeter is for voltage measuring whereas the clamp meter is a current measuring tool with voltage capabilities.
Moreover, a digital multimeter is great for various electric works with a high-resolution screen and ability to measure millivolts.
On the other hand, a clamp meters only measures current up to the nearest tenth with premium clamp meters having the capability to measure up to the nearest hundredth of a unit.
Moreover, with a digital clamp meter, you would not have to worry about correct calibrate the meter.
How a Clamp Meter Can Help with Troubleshooting
A simultaneous voltage and current meter can significantly help with troubleshooting especially in complicated situations.
Moreover, it will eliminate the need for you to measure the two at the same time thus clamp meter is considered by many electricians to be the most versatile tool available.
Plus, investing in a good clamp meter will prove much cheaper than buying several electrical tools.
How to Choose a Good Clamp Meter
Before deciding on what digital millimeter you need to think about the kinds of work you are going to do with it.
For example, if you are only planning on measuring the voltage and the current then you might do with a simple DMM. However, if you are going to need more powerful work and better resolution then going for a high-end clamp meter will be a better idea.
Also, there are advanced clamp meters that were designed for measuring mainly engine inrush currents and give out much better signal processing.
The most important quantities in a high-quality clamp meter are the ability to measure both AC and DC current plus you will need to look for a clamp meter with additional quantities such as temperature, capacitance and of course, resistance.
What Clamp Meters Are the Best
As mentioned above, there are several different clamp meters currently being sold on the market.
For example, the hall effect clamp meter is capable of measuring both AC and DC plus keep in mind that this type is the most popular one on the electrical market.
Then, there is the current transformer one that is only good for reading the AC measurements however there are two more types that are not very popular with the electricians.
The Rogowski Coil clamp meter which is made with a flexible coil in the shape of the helix will be good for measuring AC. Plus, this type of clamp meter is recommended for small and tight spaces as it is very compact and easy to use.
The last type of clamp meter is the Iron Vane Clamp Meter that has been designed to measure the RMS numbers plus this type of clamp meter can also read the AC and DC measurements. However, the Iron Vane Clamp Meter is only used in heavy industry.
How to Use the Clamp Meter
Analog clamp meters are long forgotten as nowadays most digital versions are used hence keep in mind that below instructions are for digital clamp meters only.
Firstly, you will need to turn the clamp meter on and remove any probes that might be attached then select what type of currency you want to measure AC or DC current.
Secondly, connect the metal jaws to the needed electrical device with your second hand as you will have to use your first hand to note down the measurements that will be displayed on the screen.
Then, close the metal jaws and adjust the level between the conductor and the metal jaws. Once that is done, proceed to read the screen for the readings. Keep in mind that most clamp meters allow the user to adjust the resolution however some models come with the pre-set resolution that cannot be changed.
Also, remember to take all the necessary precautions and only work with insulated electrical devices thus never work with live wires.
Of course, apart from these safety measures always follow other safety steps that you were thought beforehand.
In conclusion, keep in mind that there are several types of clamp meters hence you will need to think and decide which one you need. Evaluate the electrical devices you have and what work you will be likely doing with the clamp meter then think about how often you do any electrical work.
If the answer is yes, then it will be wise to invest in a good and reliable clamp meter. However, if you only seldom use the clamp meter then a basic model with minimal features should do the trick for you.
Plus, always look for the best bargain and search for clamp meter models that have been manufactured by a trustable brand that offers good customer support and warranty.
Lastly, never touch live wires in any electrical devices because the electrical shock can burn and potentially kill you. Also, always work with insulating gloves and never handle any electrical equipment with wet or damp hands thus make sure you thoroughly dry them after bathroom and lunch breaks.
Lastly, look for clamp meters that have a large enough screen for the readings to be clearly seen without you straining your eyes especially in the dark.