Electrical Meter Types

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Information about Electrical Meter Types
How-to & DIY

Published on March 7, 2014

Author: dartboard



We put together a brief explanation of what the different electrical meter types and their uses are.

Instruments Test & Measure

Probes/indicating Devices Indicate a certain condition but don’t provide and accurate measurement continuity voltage outlet batteries scanners wire tracers Multi-Meters Combine multiple functions in a single unit. Provide accurate measurements for the condition under test. digital multimeters analog multimeters clamp meters Specialty Testers Similar to multi-meters but conduct a more specific function. Provide accurate measurements and are more precise then multi- meters or probes. insulation testers ground/earth testers phase rotation meters power meters Sperry has a full line of products to support the professional electrician, maintenance person, contractor or technician. Product Categories

Continuity Testers • Determine if the circuit has a continuous path for current to flow. Gives a simple “go/no-go” test. • If there is continuity (a complete circuit), current will flow through the circuit and the indicator will light. Voltage Testers • Determine if voltage is present at the circuit. • Requires contacting a live conductor. • Indicates the presence of voltage but does not measure exact value. Probe testers are designed for specific functions, allowing for lower cost alternatives to multiple capability test units. Probe Testers

Non-Contact Testers • Safety First – These units do not require contacting any live conductors • Easy, one hand operation • Most common electrician’s tool • Higher end models offer adjustable sensitivity • Various models have different voltage capabilities (i.e. 12V – 1000V or 120V – 600V) Voltage-Continuity Testers • Used to measure/indicate the presence of voltage or circuit continuity • Audible and visual indicators are standard and some models incorporate vibration • One of the most common tester used by electricians • Higher end models include non-contact voltage detection capabilities Probe Testers

Outlet Testers • Test standard 120 Volt outlets for proper wiring & common wiring errors • Some designs include the ability to test for proper wiring within a GFCI circuit • Higher end models conduct other testing functions such as ground resistance verification Multi-Scanner • Allows the user to locate wood or metal studs, metal objects, and “live” AC wiring behind walls • Integrated outlet tester with GFCI functionality verifies wiring after outlet is installed • Complete tool for installing electrical boxes, switches, or outlets Outlet Testers & Multi-Scanners

Lan Tracker Wire Tracer • Traces any unshielded and un-energized wire or cable • Four transmitter plugs encased in unit: – RJ-11 (phone) & RJ-45 (data) – Alligator Clips & Coax connector – Automotive Fuse • Transmitter can be attached to any un-energized (not live) wires. • Transmitter emits a unique signal over the wire to be traced. • LED intensifies on the receiver as the signal gets stronger. Circuit Breaker Finders • Allows the user to locate which breaker controls an outlet or lighting circuit. • Only works on energized circuits. • Provides dual indication for increased accuracy • Sperry CS600A os am automatic unit that does not require adjustment Tracers

• Mirror - Used to line up the needle to read measurements accurately. • Zero mechanical adjustment screw - Used to calibrate the needle to the zero volts or amps position. • Zero ohms adjustment dial - Used to calibrate the needle to the zero ohms position for accurate readings when measuring resistance. (Unit will become un-calibrated as the testers internal battery wears down.) • Accuracy - % error at full scale deflection - 4-5% is common for analog multimeters • Sensitivity - Denoted as “ohms per volt” refers to the amount of current needed for full scale deflection of the needle. The smaller the current the higher the sensitivity. • dB scale - This is used to measure transistor gain and should not be confused with audio dB. • Ohms -Resistance • Analog display provides direct feedback of measured value. • Not as rugged and easy to use as digital multimeters but still very popular due to price and analog needle movement. Multimeters are designed for multiple functions, allowing for users to purchase only one unit for many applications. Analog Multi Meters

• Combine the functions of several types of testers into one meter (voltage, current, resistance, continuity, battery check, diode test, frequency, temperature) • Digital display provides more precise readings than analogs • Meters can include special features such bar graphs, data hold, peak hold, max hold, memory, and more • More rugged than analog meters Digital Multi Meters

Terms • “AC” stands for Alternating Current and “DC” stands for Direct Current. • AC is denoted by the the words “AC” or the symbol (most applications are AC) • DC is denoted by the words “DC” or the symbol • 3 1/2 digit display - This is an LCD (liquid crystal display) that has 3 full seven segment digits and one 2 segment digits (half digit). • Display count - The maximum numerals and digits a meter can display. (A 2000 count meter can display 0 - 1999.) • Manual ranging - Means the meter dial must be manually set to the proper range. • Autoranging - The meter automatically selects the range - NOT FUNCTION- with the best accuracy and resolution. AC Volts DC Volts Ohms (resistance ) Diodes Audible continuity Frequency Amps Auto ranging meter Non—Contact voltage Detection 10000 count Display (4 full Digits can be displayed) Terms & Markings

Noticeable Differences…Markings DM6400 DM6450

• Provide the same functions as a standard multimeter but the main purpose is for safely and conveniently measuring current. • Measures current without contacting live conductors. • Typically measure current values up to 600A. (But more expensive models can read several thousand Amps) • Available with TRMS circuitry for more accurate measurements. • Supplied with standard test leads to convert into a standard digital multimeter. 400 Amp 600 Amp TRMS 1000 AmpT-RMS - stands for “true-root-mean-square” and is used to designate a type of digital multimeter or clamp meter that can measure both sine waves or non-sinusoidal waveforms. *A standard average sensing meter may be off by as much as 30-40% when measuring non-uniform waveforms. TRMS meters are more accurate. NOTE: Do not clamp the jaws around both the hot and neutral wires at the same time. The magnetic fields will cancel each other out and the reading will be zero. This is also true for Romex™. Clamp Meters

D:S Ratio is the distance to spot ratio. Example: A 6:1 ratio indicates that at a distance of 6 feet the measurement area will be a 1 foot diameter circle 6’ 1’ diameter sensing area • Quickly and easily measure temperature without contacting surface • Measure temperatures down to -55F and up to 770F. • Save money through improved labor savings (can take measurements of distant objects without setting up a ladder or climbing up a pole). • Most have laser pointers to guide accuracy of reading. Activation Trigger Just pull trigger to measure Backlit LCD Readout Easy to read, even in dark areas Infrared Sensor Measures temp w/o contacting surface Laser pointer Improves accuracy Mode Selection Button Choose C/F, data hold, min/max Impact Grade ABS Housing Resists breaking even if dropped Lanyard hole For attaching a standard wrist lanyard Infrared Thermometers

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