Digital clamp meters are electronic devices capable of measuring the current flowing through a circuit without having to disconnect the circuit. You can use these digital instruments to accurately measure current intensity and other important magnitudes. Such devices will prove to be very useful for probing and carrying out experiments.
How Does a Digital Clamp Meter Work?
A current flowing through a circuit induces an electromagnetic field and a digital clamp meter is used to measure the field with precision. The device shows the intensity and other properties of the electricity moving along the wire without making contact with it. You will get the most accurate measurement for high alternate currents but you can use this device for low intensity currents and DC as well.
How to Use a Digital Clamp Meter?
In first place, you should cut off the power supply to the circuit and select the wire which carries the current. After selecting the wire, isolate it and open the clamp. In order to get a measurement, you have to fix the clamp around the wire and set the device to scan for the adequate current type flowing in the circuit. You will be able to get readings on the screen once you turn the power on.
These instruments are highly fragile and have to be used with precautions. Before using a clamp meter, you should check if the wires are in good condition. You also have to make sure the current intensity is within the working range of the instrument. Every digital clamp has a manual where you can learn about the specifications and safety measurements.
In order to master the use of a digital clamp meter, you need to test the device in circuits with a known current intensity. You should compare your measurements with the known values to see the precision of the clamp meter. The trickiest part of using a device such as this one relies on the settings.
Types of Digital Clamp Meters
There are three main types of digital clamp meters:
• Current Transformer Clamp Meters: These devices mainly work with alternate current (AC). They can also be used to induce current in a circuit.
• Iron Vane Clamp Meters: Clamp meters are mostly designed for frequencies around 100 Hz due to their size.
• Hall Effect Clamp Meters: These are the most flexible devices and work for both AC and DC. They can measure currents as low as 200 mA or even 1 mA.
The Hall effect clamp meters are the most popular and useful of all types. You can completely rely on the measurements of this precise instrument for your experiments. The clamp meter is also very useful to probe circuits which cannot be dismantled.
Uses of Digital Clamp Meters
Digital clamp meters can measure magnitudes such as electrical power and serve as energy analyzers. You will have to use another device to measure the voltage and the clamp meter will give you the current intensity values. The product of the instantaneous values of these two magnitudes is the power of the circuit. You will be able to study many more properties of electricity with the help of other instruments and the digital clamp is an essential part of the kit.