Clamp Meter

Submitted: Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 13:45
ThreadID: 54595 Views:3883 Replies:8 FollowUps:12
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I am looking to buy an inexpensive Clamp meter to use on my car without cutting wires to measure current. voltage.

Should be able to measure down to 10A hopefully both AC and DC.

Any suggestions and suppliers welcome.

Dave

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 13:56

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 13:56
The Altronics Q 966 is the only reasonable true rms one I know of that can measure winch current ( 600a) and down to 1 amp on DC .

Its around $140 last time I looked.

A few on here use it , mine has performed well for couple of years.
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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 14:09

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 14:09
I have one of these......$100

Clamp Size: 18mm open.
AC Current: 200A 100mA resolution +/- 3%
DC Current: 200A 100mA resolution +/- 2.8%
Non Contact Voltage Detection: 100-600Vac
Frequency: 40-50Hz, 51-510Hz, 0.51-1kHz +/- 1.2%
Display: 3-2/3 digits, 2400 counts
Cat II: 600V
Size: 164(W) x 65(D) x 32(H)mm

site link

http://www.rpc.com.au/catalog/digital-acdc-200a-clamp-meter-carry-case-p-530.html?osCsid=c200f81ebacbf0796b9aac57addbf4a2
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Reply By: Sads - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 20:16

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 20:16
$34.95 at jaycar (kit form)

http://www.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?ID=KC5368&CATID=&keywords=multimeter&SPECIAL=&form=KEYWORD&ProdCodeOnly=&Keyword1=&Keyword2=&pageNumber=&priceMin=&priceMax=&SUBCATID=

works awesome.

further details and write up in link below:
http://www.siliconchip.com.au/cms/A_30669/article.html

and a complete article on current clamps including one mentioned above in following link

http://autospeed.com/cms/A_2002/article.html
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Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 22:28

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 22:28
I have one of these which works but puzzles me at times. Open circuit it is all over the place which I find disconcerting


To access the info go to Jaycar
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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 22:48

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 22:48
have one of those as well.........seems ok and I have cross checked its display with another brand and accuracy seems ok....the digital readout bounces around at times when turned on but not actually reading.......
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 23:00

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 23:00
bungarra, I find it pretty useful but as you observe the digits bounce around when not reading or as I say open circuit. Good to have one for AC as well as DC clamp reading
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Follow Up By: V8 Troopie - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 01:22

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 01:22
did you read the instructions? (-:
I have one too, the instructions say to press the yellow 'zero' button before measuring.
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 08:35

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 08:35
Yes, Klaus
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:02

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:02
The Iron Core will get residual magnetism in it when it's used to measure DC.

That's why you have to press the Zero button.

If you clamp it across a wire carrying high AC current, it will reduce the residual magnetism - or connect it to a DC flow in the opposite direction.
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 11:44

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 11:44
Just read this on the Jaycar site:

It uses a simple hall effect sensor and iron ring core setup, and connects to your digital multimeter. It will measure AC and DC current and has a calibration dial to allow for any magnetising of the core.

Bit more clarifycationing of the magnetising affect
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Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:05

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:05
There's an alternate way to measure current without disconnecting wires.

You can measure the current drawn by ALL loads by measuring the current flowing through the lead from battery negative to the body.

Place one multimeter clip at the battery and the other end at the body end of the cable. Set the multimeter to the lowest volts range - usually 200mv = 0.2 volt fullrange.

Calculate the resistance of the lead by measuring the diameter of the copper - usually 2 gauge - the copper diameter is 8mm and has resistance 0.0007 ohms per metre. For 4 gauge it's 6.5mm od copper and 0.001 ohm per metre.

The current is the voltage divided by the resistance.

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Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:26

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:26
Or if you want to measure the current flowing through a fused circuit, for $10 you get a device that plugs into a Blade fuse socket and connects to a multimeter.
Blade Fuse Probe
or MiniBlade Fuse Probe

You can also get this Current Tester (up to 30 amps) with LCD readout, which just plugs into Fuse socket for $30 from Jaycar link
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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 10:42

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 10:42
Thanks Mike

I find your contributions on all things electrical very useful and informative........

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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 11:08

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 11:08
Thanks for taking the time to give this feedback.

I've spent 35 years working in Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, but when it came to small DC power systems, I only had my Engineering Degree theory to work from. I did work in telephone exchanges that had 500 amp busbars that ran up 4 floors !

The tips and practical suggestions I got from the many users of this Forum have been an immeasurable help in getting a realworld understanding of the important issues for travellers living off DC power.

I worry when I look back at how poorly I set up the 12 volts tomy 3-way fridge when we spent 3 months travelling through Central Australia in 1991 ! I've learnt so much since !

I'm still active with communications and engineering help to the Rural Fire Service and Volunteer Rescue Association.

I like to post info about my learnings, as a way of repaying the excellent help I've received here.
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 11:42

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 11:42
Mike, I would say bungarra is spot on too, I know a bit about electrical stuff too, but always interested to see different ways of doing things. Thanx
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Reply By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:46

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:46
Any of the cheap one should be ok.

We use Kyoritsu clamp meters that can read milliamps upto one that can read upto 2000 amps.

In our service vehicles we use the small Kyoritsu Kewmate 2000 multimeter/clamp meter but they are about $250.00

Regards Richard

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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 10:49

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 10:49
thanks to you also Richard

between yourself, Mike DD and Derek we members can learn one hell of a lot electrically......(and I have probably forgotten someone else unintentionally..sorry)

I find the more I read many of these post the more I learn how little I know !...in reading these posts hopefully I retain sufficient snippets of info. to get out of trouble "out there" somewhere should the need arise

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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 11:30

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 11:30
I've usually found posting information here is quite rewarding - often someone will reply with -
- an even better way to do it.
- a subtle hazard I hadn't thought of.
- problems in certain circumstances.
- a cheaper way to do it

Of course there are certain people here who go ballistic when someone points out that their post was less-than-perfect, but you learn to ignore those :-)
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Follow Up By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 13:55

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 13:55
On some issues it is so hard to try and explain to people what you mean and then someone who thinks they know everything takes something out of context and turns it into a big deal.

Some people try get to technical with a reply and the person only wanted a yes or no answer.

The cheap Jaycar clamp meters would do everything you want to do.

When taking current readings take a voltage reading at the same time and point where you have your clamp meter connected, for exemple a product may have an adverised current draw of 10 amps at 13.8 volts but when you test it you may get a reading of 12.5 amps and you may think it is faulty or there is something wrong with it.....but if you check the voltage whilst under load it may only show 11 volts meaning the product is drawing the right current. Fix the voltage drop and bring it upto 13.8 volts and your current meter should show 10 amps...or something like that.

There are so many tricks of the trade that are simple to perform and give better results.

What are you going to use this meter for?

Regards Richard
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Reply By: Member - Lost Dog(WA) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 16:56

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 16:56
Just like to thank Richard and Mike for their informative answers to a basic question. This forum is about sharing ideas and experiences not I'm better, smarter, richer than you. A few others could follow your lead. Once again thanks for the posts.
Col
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