Clamp meters are specially built to measure high value current, while most digital multimeters have a capacity of only 10 to 20 amps AC/DC. Clamp on ammeters also provides a more safe and easy to understand process for measuring current. So relatively for newbies and diy enthusiasts, clamp meters are a better choice for testing amperes.
Below you can learn a smart method of 3 steps on the topic “how to measure amps with a clamp meter”. Amp is a basic unit of current that defines amount of current passing from a particular point in any device or circuit. Clamp meters are specially built for testing current values in a safer way.
Why use Clamp meters to measure Amps
We can also measure current with Digital Multimeters, but in order to do that circuit has to be broken from a point where we want to check the current value. After that connecting two probes of multimeter with circuit points and then turning on power will bring realtime amp value on meter screen.
For getting rid from this risky process we use clamp meters to measure current. Clamp meters use electromagnetic fields to measure current around a conductor. That’s why we have to clamp on them around a cable with live load and they calculate amps value by sensing magnetic field around that cable. Normally we can measure ac current from 0.001 amperes to 1000 A.
How to measure Amps with a Clamp meter
First of all check capacity of your clamp ammeter for current testing. Set clamp meter on desired range of amps ac/dc present across selector nearby voltage symbol. You can remove testing leads if already connected because there is no need for leads in this test.
Don’t forget to check clamp on meter battery, it should be in stable condition. Always set multimeter on the highest available range for better results and to avoid any misfortune. Suppose if you are testing a current value in between 20 to 40 amps, clamp meter should set at least at 200 A.
After identifying the point where you have to place clamp meter to measure current open clamp jaws and encircle the cable in them. Be sure that clamp meter jaws are properly closed and there is no other wire or anything in touch with them in surrounding area.
For better results, there should be no interference from other magnetic fields in that particular area.
Now carefully read results on meter screen and note them somewhere if needed. You can repeat the process for confirming current values.
How to use clamp meter to measure dc current
Normally clamp meters are built only for ac current measurements, but we found after research that there are also some pro level clamp meters that work both for ac/dc currents. Method to check dc current with clamp meter is almost the same as ac amp testing with some other tricks.
For measuring dc amps with clamp meter set your on dc current function and wait for readings on screen to be stabilized. Once the screen is stable press zero button on meter body in order to calibrate meter for dc amps testing.
Now you may proceed further with the same procedure as mentioned above for checking amps with clamp meters.
Safety considerations for using Clamp meters
Although clamp meter is itself safer for using them in measurement of current but still we should focus on some matters to ensure safety and reliability.
We are already applying all safety rules and procedures in our electrical workshop to perform tests and measurements with multimeters. So we have concluded some points on clamp meters usage safety.
- Don’t clamp on the ammeter for a long time period when testing high value current, because it may damage the clamp sensor.
- Don’t measure a current having more value or even 90 % of clamp meter capacity. It may negatively affect the instrument.
- Always remember not to use clamp meters on bare cables( cables that have no insulation around the conductor).
- Don’t connect anything in between the jaw points of the clamp on meter.
Leo Maxwell is basically an Electrical engineer and hobby tech writer, having 13 years of experience in the electronics and instrumentation industry. He has hands on experience working in various fields like Powerhouses, solar, automotive, and FMCG.
During his career, he has used many power tools and meters in electrical projects. Now his aim is to explain tools and troubleshooting in easy guides to help people. Other then it, leo loves traveling, reading books and DIY tasks.