Clamp meters are electrical test instruments utilised for measuring current without connection to a circuit in series. They can easily be used and operated to measure live conductors without causing damage or loss of power. In short, they are devices used for safe and convenient current measurement.
Clamp meters are sometimes also known as tong testers. They combine the functionality of a basic digital multimeter with that of a current sensor. The main difference is the addition of the hinged jaw which allows for contact-free measurement of voltage and current.
The jaw can be clamped around wires, cables, or other conductors at any point in an electrical system to detect the current flowing through the conductor. A magnetic field is generated when current flows through a conductor. These devices help with the detection of the magnetic field, enabling the provision of the correspondent current reading. Clamp meters are highly efficient at safely and speedily measuring current, without interrupting the current flow or using test leads.
The clamps measure current such as AC current, AC and DC voltage, resistance, and continuity. Some models can also measure DC current, capacitance, temperature, and frequency.
Although this is the basic principle, some modern devices also feature extra functionality. This includes increased safety measures, features that make analysis and troubleshooting simpler, and functions that enable the measurement of various quantities.
Clamp meters are versatile instruments and an essential addition to an electrician’s toolbox.