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How to Use a Solderless Breadboard
Written By: John R. Sewell

AC Clamp Meters are a special designed Meter used in electrical maintenance operations. While early designs were reserved for AC current measurements, newer meters incorporate AC (and sometimes DC) Voltage capability. Most 400A Clamp On Ammeter & Multimeter, Ideal Clamp Meters when reading current are a “Non Contact” meter meaning there is no electrical connection to the meter. Those that read Voltage are very similar to a regular Digital Multimeter. Please see “How to Use a Digital Multimeter” for further Information.

While most are digital there are a few Analog ones out there; the operation is the same. Clamp Meters may require you to be in close proximity to energized (Live) circuits while positioning the meter jaws. USE EXTREME CARE

PLEASE NOTE: that meters are classified for safety as Category I, II, III, IV
For information on Category I-IV see our Educational Listing
For Indoor, Dry Locations Only, unless specifically designed & Marked for Wet Locations
Hazardous conditions exist with all Electrical/Electronic Circuits.
Any test equipment Used in an unsafe manner can result injury or death.
Always follow safety instructions and Assume all circuits are energized & dangerous.

Clamp Meters are distinguished by the addition of a “Jaw” that you place around the conductor to be measured. This jaw is made of steel Laminations with an insulating cover. Around the steel is a coil of wire that picks up the Voltage induced by the conductor current generated magnetic field (like a transformer). This voltage is then scaled & read by the meter circuits. When measuring Current with a clamp meter the jaw goes around only 1 conductor at a time.

The manual Clamp Meters are much like a manual Multimeter. The manual Clamp Meter, operation is quite straight forward. The simplest meter has a handle that opens the jaw, a large knob & a display while others will have plug-in 200A Clamp On Ammeter & Multimeter, Ideal jacks where you attach the wire leads (Probes or Clip Leads) for voltage measurements. The knob is used to select the type of measurement & max value to be measured. For instance; Legends usually show “A ~“ or “AAC” for AC Amps, Some will have “V~” or “VAC” for AC Volts. Ranges between manufactures vary, so for simplicity we will pick 2/20/200. So to read the current drawn by a pool pump, you would set the range to AAC (Amps AC) to the Max of 200. If you don’t know the Amp range then start at the highest then work down. Open the jaw of the Clamp Meter and carefully place the conductor to measure inside the jaw donut hole, shut the jaw fully being sure nothing is in between the two jaw ends. Now you can adjust the range to achieve the best reading. An Autoranging Clamp meter will automatically adjust the range for you and may not even have a Knob except a AMP/Voltage Selection Switch. For voltage readings you would use the probes supplied with the meter. Select “Voltage”, Attach the – lead (Black) and then the + (Red) lead to the circuit and read the display. To check a wall outlet for AC Volts; since we are not sure of the voltage here (120 or 220) we set the range to AC Volts to the max range and connect leads Black to 1 blade & the Red lead to the other. Now you can adjust the range to achieve the best reading.

Remember that when measuring Current with a Clamp Meter the jaw goes around only 1 conductor at a time.
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