How to Use a Clamp Multimeter How to Use a Clamp Multimeter

What You'll Need
Clamp Multimeter

When you are having problems with an electrical component, or device, a clamp multimeter is a great tool to help you troubleshoot, and pinpoint the problem. There are many types of different devices on the market today that can help you with troubleshooting different types of electrical problems. The clamp multimeter is a wonderful tool that helps you troubleshoot all kinds of problems whether it is with AC, DC, measuring amps, or volts. If you have a clamp multimeter and want to know how to use it, here are the steps to take. 

Step 1: Find Out Current Draw

Before you can take any readings on a specific item you will need to know what the current draw, the required voltage, or expected amps should be. This is usually found on the tag that accompanies the device. It will be located on either the power cord or where the basic power information of the device is listed. 

Step 2: Locate Power Wire

Every electric device is going to have a wire that is feeding a current to the working part of the item. This wire is going to be found in either the circuitry of the item or within the main electrical wiring makeup.  It is usually going to be red in color. For those household items like electrical sockets and light fixtures, this wire will be white in color. For some items, this will mean taking off the back panel to access the wiring components. On some larger items, like appliances, there will be a small access panel.

Step 3: Set Multimeter

Turn on your multimeter and set the dial to the type of job you are going to be performing. For checking an AC current, dial in the item's amperage draw. For example, if the item is going to draw 10 amps, then you will want to dial this into the ammeter. Once this number is set you will be able to determine if the item is drawing the amount of current that it needs.

Step 4: Place Clamp on Wire

Using your thumb to open the jaws of the clamp, you will need to place it on the power wire. Once the clamp is on the wire that you are going to be testing, it must be closed fully and locked into position. Make sure that the jaws of the clamp have a good purchase of the wire and is properly seated. If not, the multimeter will not be able to receive a good reading of the current that the item is drawing. 

Step 5: Be Patient

After you have set the jaws of the clamp multimeter into position, and they are seated properly, the multimeter will begin to register the current. This may take a few seconds so you will need to wait for the device. If it is an analog multimeter you will notice the needle rise. If you are using a digital multimeter, the numbers will show up in the LED display. 

Step 6: Check Rating

Once your multimeter has finished taking the reading, make sure that the number displayed is the same that is on the rating tag of the item you are testing. If this is not within that range, then you will know that there is a problem with the device. 


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