Two meters are used by electricians and engineers for the purpose of measuring capacitance, current, resistance and voltage etc. One of these meters is called a clamp meter, which is a current measuring device that has some voltage measuring qualities.
But what exactly is a clamp meter and how accurate is it?
What is a clamp meter?
Electricians can make use of clamp meters to avoid the standard method of having to break a circuit and then have it connected to a meter in series that is inside the circuit for the purpose of taking out current measurements. Current can be measured by having the conductor placed inside a clamp meter’s jaws. The jaws do not have to touch the conductor that is carrying the current to be able to take measurements.
AC measurements are able to be carried out without the need for contact when using a clamp meter. Current flowing through a wire involves the formation of a magnetic field that results in a Hall Effect sensor calculating the current.
Appearance of clamp meter
Clamp meters have a very straightforward structure, between non-contact tools that are able to clamp around a cable and then perform inductive amperage measurement. The no-contact tool is usually referred to as jaws or a clamp.
Measurements are shown to clamp meter users via a display, with the majority of clamp meters also coming with ports that connect probes in order to accommodate all of the different measurements. This in turn means that clamp meters can perform most of the functions normally performed by a multimeter.
The magnetic field is created within a conductor thanks to the current flowing through it, and this phenomenon allows for the efficient, convenient and safe measurement of current when using a clamp meter without the need for test leads. The use of this device means that the magnetic field is able to be detected to provide a reading of the current, which is why clamp meters are considered to be the most suitable device to use for measuring current.
Most modern clamp meters are also capable of measuring other parameters but their primary function remains the measuring of the current that passes through the conductor.
The accuracy of a clamp meter
Clamp meters tend to provide a broadly accurate measurement of AC and DC currents with a 2% error range, although specialty models may be even more accurate with an error range of just 0.5%.
Most clamp meters are capable of measuring up to 600A AC.
Using a clamp meter safely
One of the reasons clamp meters have become more popular is their usage safety, with technicians able to make use of them without the need to cut into or disconnect power wires. The transformers in these meters do not have to even touch a conductor, meaning that turning off the current carrying circuit being measured is no longer mandatory.
Clamp meters offer tremendous accuracy and safety when measuring current.