DSE Clamp Meter

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 15:46
ThreadID: 31902 Views:4597 Replies:3 FollowUps:6
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I'm looking for a DC clamp meter for general hobbist duties around the house and 4x4. I see Dick Smith has one for $168, the price doesn't matter too much but I'm wondering if I can expect accurate readings from a DC clamp meter under 5 or so amps. I've used AC clamp meters before but not DC.
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Reply By: MartyB - Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 15:49

Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 15:49
I have had a DC clamp meter for years (different brand) & it works fine.

Marty.
AnswerID: 161515

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 16:02

Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 16:02
How does it work?
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Follow Up By: MartyB - Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 16:22

Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 16:22
It has DC amp & AC amp settings, as well ohms, volts etc.
I am not sure of the brand, it has LEM HEME LH630 written on it. Reads up to 600a, I use it on my solar steup & it reads the same as the analogue meter that is premanently mounted.
Very handy when working on a solar setup in a house, can just clamp around individual cables to check that induvidual solar banks are working ok. much easier to clamp this around a cable that temp wiring in a normal ammeter.
Only limitation is that it must go around an individual wire, ie a 2 core cable must be separated back to clamp around either the pos or neg wire.
If anyone is thinking about buying one make sure it does DC, most of the cheap ones only do AC.

Marty.
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 17:07

Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 17:07
Thanks Marty, sounds most promising.

Geoff, My understanding is that they take advantage of the Hall Effect.
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 18:49

Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 18:49
That's correct Ray - as I'm sure you know AC clamp meters are basically the secondary of a transformer and couple to the changing current of an AC (usually 50Hz) supply. DC current, of course, doesn't change regularly like AC so a transformer cannot be use and the only way to measure it without causing a voltage drop with a shunt or similar is by using the Hall Effect:
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/HBASE/magnetic/hall.html

Jaycar do a Hall Effect kit which connects to a standard multimeter and produces 1mV per amp: KC-5368 at $35.

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 19:07

Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 19:07
Thanks Mike that's interesting, could be they way to go but then again I could do with a new multimeter and thought I'd kill two birds with one stone with the clamp meter as it offers volts, resistance with other functions.
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FollowupID: 416278

Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 21:39

Sunday, Mar 19, 2006 at 21:39
I've got this one which is a Multimeter as well AC DC Clampmeter
www.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?ID=QM1562

They now have a cheaper one for $99
www.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?ID=QM1564

The cores can hold residual magnetism from high DC currents but the ZERO function fixes that. (Maybe I should clamp it around the Consumer Mains into the house to demagnetise it !) They are usually accurate to 10 mAmp.

It's fantastic to be able to measure current without having to break into the circuit.

Mike
AnswerID: 161574

Reply By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 23:23

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006 at 23:23
Well I picked one up and all I can say is what a bluddy ripper, very pleased with it.
AnswerID: 162097

Follow Up By: drivesafe - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 09:10

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 09:10
Hi Mad Dog, as posted above, these clamp meters are great and I’m sure you will get loads of use out of it.

Once you have one, you will very quickly see how accurately you can measure the exact power usage of not only the total being pull from a battery, alternator, solar panel, battery charger, inverter and so on, you can very quickly determine, accurately, which individual device is using how much power, wire by wire.

Because of there simplicity of use, they are a great device for fault finding, particularly in situations where batteries are mysteriously going flat. The cores of the problem can usually be found in a few minutes whereas doing it by trying the measure every wire one at a time with a standard amp meter could take hours.

Great device and you will very quickly find new uses for it and post any ideas of use you come up with.

Cheers.
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FollowupID: 416818

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