clamp on current meter question

I borrowed a clamp on current meter from my company to take DC current measurements at home and decided to poke around at AC lines.

Initially I was reading zero on AC power cords and quickly realized +i -i =

0 - unless of course I can break into one of the lines to measure the current.

During random testing I noticed one of the AC lines near the circuit breaker box has 0.40amps. Obviously something in the house is draining current to Earth ground.

That's a home repair waiting to happen, however, I have a question about these meters because now I'm interested in purchasing one.

Are there any that will measure an AC power cord and give you the current it's drawing or does every meter cancel the +i and -i ?


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A clamp meter has to go over just one conductor, it's the nature of the beast. They tend to not be terribly accurate either.

Reply to
James Sweet

Inexpensive adapters are available that separate out the 2 or 3 conductors in a power cord for clamp meter measurement.

For troubleshooting, even the inexpensive clamp meters are accurate enough.


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Are you sure you want to work on electric systems. Your question indicates that you are likely to get into a lot of trouble.


Reply to
Salmon Egg

What kind of meter were you using? DC clamp on's are rare. I think they use Hall effect devices. I have an inexpensive Radio Shack AC clamp on. Very useful device. It has a break out cable to test socketed loads. You plug the load into a three prong receptacle adaptor which itself plugs into the wall. The adaptor has a pair of loops to clamp the meter into. One is a X10 and the other X1. The X10 is simply a ten turn loop so that you can expand the range for low current loads.

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