### Clamp Meters

In this tutorial, we will explain how to use a clamp meter effectively. further, we will describe what is clamp meter, what precautions should be taken during the clamp meter usage, effective tips for learning clamp meter usage, and more.

### Overview

Voltage and current are measured with special electronic instruments. Mostly analog and digital multimeters are used to measure these kinds of electrical parameters, but these instruments have some limitations. For example, to measure the current in an electrical circuit, we need to cut the circuits or peel off the wire. So that multimeter’s probes can be connected with the concerned circuit. In many cases, it is not practical to cut the circuit or peel off the wire. These methods also affect the integrity of the wire or circuit and also pose the danger of electrical shocks.

To avoid these limitations and dangers, we use a special instrument called clamp meter, which is friendly to use and doesn’t need the above requirements.

### Chief Differences Between a Clamp Meter and a DMM

Here is the list of major differences of the clamp meter from the digital multimeter:

• Primarily used for DC and AC amps measurement
• Contactless quantity measurement
• Lower resolution (only till hundredth of a unit)

Some properties can be measured with both the clamp meter as well as the digital multimeter. There are some parameters that can only be measured with either the clamp meter or the digital multimeter.

### What is a clamp meter?

Clamp meter shape is just like a clothespin, that is clenched around the circuit whose electrical parameters like current and voltage need to be measured. If we want to measure current in a live wire, a clamp meter is just clamped around that wire without peeling it off and measures the current flowing through it. This meter has an advantage over the other multimeters in that the circuits don’t need to be cut to measure the parameters. we know that a magnetic field is produced around the wire when the current flows through the wire. As a working principle, the Clamp meter measures the magnetic field around the wire whose current needs to be measured. Basically, there are two types of clamp meters available in the market:

• Models designed to measure the load current
• Models designed to measure leakage current

On the basis of other electronic variables, the clamp meters have been sub-divided. For example, whether the clamp meter is used to take a reading of the direct current (DC) or the alternating current in the circuit.

Or which method the clamp meter used to measure properties, whether they used the root-mean-square (RMS) method or the mean value rectification method. Usually, alternating current can be measured with the model which is designed to measure the load current. Recently, such clamp meters are also available in the market which can measure both the load current as well as the leakage current.

### Basic method for using a clamp meter

In this section, we will first describe the introduction which is needed to understand the leakage current clamp meter and load current clamp meter.

### Information that applies to both types

There is not much difference in the usage of load current and leakage current clamp meter. First, select the AC current or DC current settings on the meter depending upon the circuit that you are measuring, whether it carries the direct current or the alternating current. Then set a suitable measuring range on the clamp meter, depending upon the load circuit that you are going to measure. If you are measuring the direct current in the circuit, don’t forget the set the zero adjustments on the clamp meter.

When you are ready to take the readings, open the clamp meter’s jaws and take the wire whose parameters need to be measured inside the jaws and then close them. The concerned wire should be placed in the center of the jaws to get maximum accuracy in the measurements.

### Using a load current clamp meter

This clamp meter has some limitations, as can only be used to measure a current in a single wire at a time. The load current clamp meter should not be used for measuring the current in multiple wires at the same time, as it will affect the measured readings.

### Information that applies to both types

The leakage current clamp meter has some advantages over the load current clamp meter, as it can measure the current in multiple wires at the same time. This meter requires some precautions for measurements. The ground wire should be measured alone. On the other hand, if you are measuring an AC circuit, all the wires should be clenched in the clamp meter’s jaws at the same time, two wires in the case of single-phase supply and three wires if you are dealing with the three-phase supply. For measuring the leakage current in the wires, two wires can be clamped inside the jaws at the same time.

Leakage current is defined as the current which flows through the defective insulation to the ground. Leakage current can be of many tons of microampere, depending upon the loads which are connected in the circuit.

### Things to avoid

Like any other electronic instruments, clamp meters also require some precautions for usage. If you leave the clamp meter- on after usage especially around power for a significant amount of time, it will damage the instrument sensor, as a large amount of current will flow through it. Never hang the clamp meter on the conductor that are not insulated. These meters are mostly used to measure the current in the conductors that are properly insulated. As compared to the other similar electronic instruments clamp meter offers a much higher level of safety, as the wire around which current needs to be measured doesn’t need to cut or peel off. There is a barrier below the jaw which indicates the safety limit. When the instrument is in usage, don’t touch anything on the jaw side.

### Choosing the best clamp meter

As we had mentioned earlier, there are different types of clamp meter models available in the market, depending on their usage. For example, whether you are going to deal with the AC current or DC current. If you have intended to measure current in the battery or in a photovoltaic cell, then you need to purchase the clamp meter that can measure the DC current.

On the other hand, if you need to measure the current in the power lines in the plants, homes, etc. Then you will need to choose the AC clamp meter. If you need to measure the leakage current in the defective insulation lines or ground wire lines, then you need to have a leakage current clamp meter. For normal testing and another ordinary usage, choose an AC load current clamp meter.

### Using clamp meters safely

Clamp meters are safer to use for measuring the current or the other parameters in the circuit, as circuits don’t need to be cut or peeled off. However, clamp meters can be dangerous, if used without taking some necessary precautions. To use the clamp meter safely, and which clamp meter should be used, read the above article.

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### What to Look for in a Self Leveling Laser Level

Before we look at our individual choices, let’s talk about self-leveling lasers, and what you should expect. There are a number of factors to consider, and manufacturers offer all kinds of bells and whistles. In that sense, every laser level is unique. But there are also some features you should be looking at in every laser level. You need to consider the accuracy, the type of laser light, the laser’s range, and the quality of the build. Let’s take a look at each of these.

### Accuracy

Before we look at our individual choices, let’s talk about self-leveling lasers, and what you should expect. There are a number of factors to consider, and manufacturers offer all kinds of bells and whistles. In that sense, every laser level is unique. But there are also some features you should be looking at in every laser level. You need to consider the accuracy, the type of laser light, the laser’s range, and the quality of the build. Let’s take a look at each of these.

### Laser Color and Brightness

Most laser levels are made with either red or green lasers. This is because those wavelengths are the ones that are most visible to the human eye. But even the most easily visible laser can be hard to see in the outdoors. This is because the sun is 10 times as bright as ordinary interior light. You don’t notice it when you step outside, because your eyes adjust in a few seconds. But the sheer intensity of the sunlight will block out all but the brightest laser levels. And even levels that work outdoors will have much shorter range than they will indoors. For this reason, some levels come with white or reflective panels to project the laser onto.

### Laser Range

Next, you need to think about the range of the laser light. This will be a combination of brightness and accuracy. At the point where the beam is no longer visible, or wildly inaccurate, it can no longer be used. Professional-grade outdoor levels will be effective to at least 100 feet, and sometimes as far as 300 feet. Indoor levels will typically have a much shorter range, since a longer range is usually pointless.

### Quality of Engineering

Finally, look at the overall quality of the build. Is the level water-resistant? Is it designed for tripod mounting? What are your other mounting options? Is there a carrying case? Can the level withstand a drop? These types of considerations are particularly important when you’re using your level outdoors. However, even an indoor level is subject to abuse, and will benefit from good mounting options.