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Old 11-27-2019, 02:26 PM   #1
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AC/DC clamp meter to buy?

What model do you guys recommend?
I have chargers, inverter, 840AH Trojan batteries, battery monitor, main engine alternator, generator alternator 15A, generator dynamo 40A, wires, cables of all sizes.
I need a reliable, basic, not very expensive meter.
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Old 11-27-2019, 02:42 PM   #2
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Klein.

One example:

https://www.amazon.com/Klein-Tools-C...SIN=B07P323914

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Old 11-27-2019, 02:43 PM   #3
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Not on the cheap side, but I've always trusted Fluke. I have the Fluke 365 but the 302 is cheaper.
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Old 11-27-2019, 02:48 PM   #4
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That's the one I have and it does the trick.


If I was a pro I might still have one for day to day work and a Fluke if it has better sensitivity and I needed sit.
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Old 11-27-2019, 02:55 PM   #5
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Well, you can pay as little as $30 but I would recommend going with this name brand Amprobe AC/DC meter for $160:

https://www.amazon.com/Amprobe-45605...NrPXRydWU&th=1

I have used the cheaper versions and they drift a lot. You have to keep zeroing them often. The better ones, hopefully this one are stable within a tenth of an amp or less after intial zero.

The only downside to this one is that its maximum resolution is 0.1 amp. Some do .01 amp such as this name brand Fluke meter for $243:
https://www.amazon.com/Fluke-Clamp-M...9&sr=8-31&th=1

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Old 11-27-2019, 03:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post

The only downside to this one is that its maximum resolution is 0.1 amp. Some do .01 amp such as this name brand Fluke meter for $243:
David
Not being a professional, do I need this precision on a boat?
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:07 PM   #7
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Not being a professional, do I need this precision on a boat?

Probably not. If you want to measure the current that a small fan draws, it will probably be about 3 amps. Does it matter whether it is 2.9 or 2.93? Not to me.


But the meter I have which is branded as Ancor but may be made by Fluke, measures to 0.01 amp and is very stable after the initial zeroing. I consider the latter to be much more important.



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Old 11-27-2019, 04:29 PM   #8
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But the meter I have which is branded as Ancor but may be made by Fluke, measures to 0.01 amp and is very stable after the initial zeroing. I consider the latter to be much more important.
David
In your case, what other features were important to you? How did you come to the decision to buy something at that price range?
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:51 PM   #9
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AC/DC clamp meter to buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoKa View Post
In your case, what other features were important to you? How did you come to the decision to buy something at that price range?


If u find yourself looking for GFCI culprits, that takes the more sensitive models. Especially important if the offensive item doesnít simply unplug.

Also looking for small battery drain (ghost) issues.
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Old 11-27-2019, 05:29 PM   #10
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In your case, what other features were important to you? How did you come to the decision to buy something at that price range?
Well, for me it is all about accuracy and a bit less about resolution. I use the DC ammeter functions to see what the loads are on my batteries, how much my solar panel is putting out, how much my TV is putting out while towing my RV trailer, etc. None of these require great precision.

Since I use a cheap $20 multimeter to check voltage (to the nearest volt) I do rely on the clamp on ammeter for accurate voltage measurements. When you are checking battery resting voltage, the difference between 12.5 and 12.6 is sometimes important so the two decimal resolution is very useful.

Also when I bought the expensive meter about 20-25 years ago, Amazon didn't exist and the cheap Chinese ones were not available (unless you knew where to look).

But if you just want to know what the current is to the nearest amp, I am sure that the $30 model will do the job.

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Old 11-27-2019, 05:45 PM   #11
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I purchased a Klein clamp on for use on the boat. Well made piece of gear. However I find it awkward to use on the boat in tight places. The clamp on function for amps works well. Hard to get it to sit in a constant position to read the meter when using the probes. Reverts back to ac volts every time that you Change a setting. Too many buttons and settings. Old fashioned knobs would be easier I think. Maybe it’s smarter than I am?
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Old 11-27-2019, 05:58 PM   #12
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Maybe itís smarter than I am?
Well, these gadgets are certainly smarter than me.
I will never be a Pro, but I do want to understand and see, what goes into my battery banks and what comes out of those banks, to feed the hungry appliances?
Of course, it would be nice to have a took, which can assist me in electrical troubleshooting. I hope one day to be knowledgeable enough, to use a meter like this to the full extend.
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Old 11-27-2019, 08:28 PM   #13
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Be VERY careful to get a dc clamp meter. There are tons of ac around, cheaper, but make sure yours goes dc or it will be much less use on a boat.
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Old 11-27-2019, 08:38 PM   #14
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Measurements down to 0.01 A and even lower are quite useful if you are tracking parasitic loads, leakage, etc.

I have the Fluke 325 and an Extech 380941. The Fluke has jaws similar to the Klein and Ancor offerings. I find the Extech to be much easier to use, jaws and whole instrument are smaller and fit where the Fluke will not or is awkward to read. As a DMM, the Fluke is perhaps better (though not great), but not as a clamp ammeter.
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Old 11-27-2019, 10:44 PM   #15
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Measurements down to 0.01 A and even lower are quite useful if you are tracking parasitic loads, leakage, etc.
What is your opinion about this one?

https://www.rapidonline.com/voltcraf...bration-559786

I cannot find in the US, though.
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Old 11-27-2019, 10:48 PM   #16
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This. Dc clamp, great quality fraction of fluke price. https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Sea-Syst...4912842&sr=8-4
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Old 11-28-2019, 03:03 PM   #17
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I also have the Klein meter in the boat and at work. It’s a good quality piece of equipment and the price is right.

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Old 11-28-2019, 07:04 PM   #18
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Here is a very recent article by Jeff Cote out of Vancouver. He writes articles for two cruising Pacific Northwest and BC magazines in their electronic section. He also is a yearly speaker at the Seattle and Vancouver boat shows:

https://www.pysystems.ca/site/assets..._tech_talk.pdf
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Old 11-29-2019, 02:31 PM   #19
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One thing I have found with clamp-on DC ammeters is that they often only have a very large range, like 400A. Ideally you want to use a meter set to a range that is close to what you expect to measure. This will give you the greatest accuracy.


So measuring a 5-10A load using a 400A range is not ideal. If that meter has 1% accuracy, that is +/- 4A on the 400A scale. So if you read 10A, it actually could be anywhere between 6A and 14A. That's not very good if you want to know the actual number.


If you use a 40A range with 1% accuracy, then the reading is +/- .4A. Now your 10A reading is somewhere between 9.6A and 10.4A. That's much, much better.


So if you are looking to get a descent reading, get a meter that has a range that matches what you are measuring.


Extech (part of FLIR) has some reasonably priced clamp ons with I think a 0-40A and 0-400A range. That will cover a lot of ground with reasonable accuracy.
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:15 AM   #20
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Don't auto ranging ones select the best range for accuracy?

If so I believe most of the zkleins are autoranging.
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