How to Use Clamp Meter to Measure DC Current: Easy Guide

Let us not depend only on schooling because we have some issues that we can fix right at home. Or, maybe you are a beginner wishing to know more about electricity. Electricity is something that we use and interact with every day, but it may be hectic, especially if you lack knowledge on how to use a clamp meter to measure dc current.

Therefore, why call an electrician yet you can handle such small electrical issues? There are different devices that I have seen technicians use to detect different electricity categories, and clamp meter is among the tools. This device is for measuring alternating currents, DC voltage, Direct current, resistance, AC voltage, to mention but a few.

This article should guide you on how to use a clamp meter to measure DC current.I will take you through various steps by step guide on how to measure DC current using a clamp meter.

What is a clamp meter?

Clamp multimeter with accessories on a table in a workshop

This is an advanced model of a multi-meter. This device comes with something like a jaw on one end that conducts current to be measured. The jaw can be clamped around conductors to gauge their current.

Modern technology has come up with this device to carry out the current measurement successfully. It is advisable to test any wire/metals before touching them.

Essential parts of a clamp meter

How can you start using a clamp meter without knowing its parts? Below are some of its features;

  • Tactile barrier– this protects you from shocks
  • The clamp – this is a Jaw-shaped structure where a conductor is placed for measurement.
  • Hold– it freezes display until tapped again.
  • Dial– a button that changes resolution or quantity
  • Backlight button– this is an optional button
  • LCD display screen– to display measurements
  • Min-Max button– for measuring lowest, average, and highest quantity magnitudes
  • Shift button– for choosing more functions
  • Lever– for releasing jaw-shaped structure
  • Alignment marks– this is the exact place where the conductor fits at the center of these marks.
  • Input jacks

Now that you have a clue on the parts of a clamp meter let us proceed to the steps on how to measure DC current using a clamp meter.

How to use a clamp meter to measure DC Current

Due to technological growth, analog clamp meters have been replaced with modern models. Therefore the steps below should guide you on how to use a clamp meter to measure DC current. Here we go!

Step one: ensure you are safe

 Make sure the place you are is safe before starting the task. If the test probes are detached, disconnect them from your clamp meter. More so, when measuring direct current, your hands should be placed behind the tactile barrier, which is on the clamp meter’s front side.

Step two: Power ON you clamp meter

This step is the easiest one because you only need to switch ON your clamp meter.

Step three: Choose DC current option

After powering ON your clamp meter, AC and DC current options shows to display. Be careful to spot a sign of a jaw. Reading from the display, a dot display in between the jaw-shaped structure. This implies that you can measure the jaw of the clamp meter.

Step four: Open the jaw and insert you the conductor

For accurate measurements, make sure your jaws are free before starting DC current measurement. Try to remove any conductor that might be in between or near it.

After the display is stable on your clamp meter, don’t forget to tap the ZERO function. This button is for clearing DC offsets.

The main activity under this stage is opening the jaw. Use the lever to open the jaw of the clamp meter and the place the conductor you wish to measure in between the jaws.

For experienced technicians, you can use your left hand to hold the clamp meter and the right hand for noting down measurements. For left-handed people, this is vice versa.

Step five: Close the jaw

Under this step, you close the jaw by releasing the lever. Make sure that the conductor fits between alignment marks of the jaw. Sometimes, these alignment marks may fade, or it is not there totally. For that case, place and twist the conductor to the center of your clamp.

By doing this, you have an assurance of accurate results. This is because the pressure exerted at the center of the object is stable.

Step six: Take measurements

Under this step, you need to take note of the measurements displayed. Read the display carefully and note the current measurements. More so, you are allowed to change the resolution manually, but many clamp meters can automatically adjust the resolution.

Remember to take measurements from conductors that are adequately insulated.

Be careful when measuring DC current to note the dot between the jaw-shaped symbol. Before taking measurements, make sure the dot is steady.

When the dot flashes, it means that the current from the conductor is less than half an amp, but when the dot becomes steady, know the current is above a half an amp.

You can also check your car battery with a multimeter. For testing your battery health you will follow this step:

1. We know battery generate power is DC. First, dial set DC mode and set voltage 20 volt.
2. Then connect the battery probe with the battery. The black one connects with the negative and Red wire connect with the positive probe.
3. If the battery voltage value is 7 volts to 9 volts, It means the battery is still usable. If the battery voltage is 12-14 volts, that means the battery health is awesome.

Frequently asked questions

What does a clamp meter measure?

A clamp meter meant for measuring the vector sum of the flowing currents in a conductor held on the jaw.

Can a clamp meter measure Watts?

Of course, YES. Though single conductors, this device measures current in amps. Therefore you should be able to know how to convert amps to get your watts.

How accurate are DC clamp meters?

DC clamp meter is accurate at room temperatures.

Conclusion

Before using a clamp meter, try to interact with it to understand its parts and their functions. I have tried to explain what a clamp meter is and how it works. Let this information guide on how to measure DC current using the clamp meter.

When using a clamp meter to measure DC current, make sure to use the ZERO button to clear all DC offsets to get accurate results. More so, using a clamp meter is very easy if you understand its parts and how it works.

It is good to fix other minor electricity problems at our homes using this device. If you are a beginner, don’t worry because, with time, you will understand that the tool is straightforward to operate because of its futuristic design.

However, if you have any burning questions concerning our product, you can visit our website for detailed information about clamp meters and other related services.

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