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Old September 13th, 2021, 02:26 PM   #1
Ken Moore
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OT: Fluke 771 Milliamp Process Clamp Meter-Alternatives.

So...
Long story short, some of our electricians struggle when asked to measure loops. A clamp on meter resolves this.

The Fluke 771 is a great meter but much more expensive than I want to spend. I would give up accuracy and/or dependability for a cheaper alternative.
Can anyone recommend one?
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Old September 13th, 2021, 07:31 PM   #2
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There was a Milwaukee brand DC clamp-on mA meter, but it is disappearing from web sites, that cite "No Longer Available:, I'm speculating that it was probably a patent violation and Fluke pursues that kind of thing.


Tempo model CmA-360 TRMS claims a scale reading 0-60.00mA, but the manual shows it is AC only, no DC.


Yokogawa has a CL420, but no pricing. Need to send an,inquiry and bow to the west to get a price.


Looks like Fluke and Yokogawa are the only players.
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Old September 13th, 2021, 07:37 PM   #3
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I have and like the Fluke A3004FC which is part of the wireless Fluke Connect line. It seems to be slightly cheaper than the 771. I know of two others that I haven't used: Yokogawa CL420 and Milwaukee 2231-20.

Edit - Danw beat me to the others
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Old September 14th, 2021, 08:30 AM   #4
Ken Moore
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Yeah, I found the Milwaukee unit yesterday, none in stock anywhere. I will look into the Yokogawa.

Many thanks.
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Old September 14th, 2021, 11:40 PM   #5
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I really like the Fluke, but your right, it is a bit spendy. The real question is how can "electricians" struggle with using a standard DMM to check a mA signal?

Bubba.
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Old September 15th, 2021, 12:24 AM   #6
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If you don't want to break loops you could use the following methods with just measuring volts.



For your inputs your could always get them to measure volts provided you know the value of the resistor on the input card (our factory is 250 ohms which is standard, so 1-5v).


Outputs will be a bit trickier unless you know the impedance of the device you are measuring the loop on... for testing purposes (not saying this is ideal or accurate) you could measure the volts at a given output to calculate the impedance then work out the expected voltages on a 5 point test using ohms law.


I almost weekly get an electrician in my office saying an analogue output isn't working because they are measuring 24v at the device...
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Old September 15th, 2021, 08:46 AM   #7
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For the record, our HR folks have been hiring "construction" electricians as plant maintenance electricians, they struggle with a multimeter, they struggle with everything. they do not know or understand basic electrical principles. but they are cheap and available. I have given up trying to explain what we need. If you need conduit or cables pulled, they are great, other than that, not so much.
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Old September 15th, 2021, 08:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willxfmr View Post
I really like the Fluke, but your right, it is a bit spendy. The real question is how can "electricians" struggle with using a standard DMM to check a mA signal?

Bubba.
I've had to show several electricians how to do this, I'm guessing it's because they were mostly industrial electricians who don't really ever have to break a loop to measure current because they have the bigger clamp meters.

I had also found the Milwaukee meters a couple months ago, but also quickly came to realize that they had apparently been discontinued. It's too bad because they looked pretty nice, and I can't help but wonder how much they cost. If they were $300 or under they probably would have been a great replacement for the Fluke meters, which if danw is right it makes sense that Fluke shut it down for a patent violation.
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Old September 15th, 2021, 09:04 AM   #9
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Found the Yokogawa CL420 on Amazon for ~$650.
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Old September 15th, 2021, 09:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Moore View Post
For the record, our HR folks have been hiring "construction" electricians as plant maintenance electricians, they struggle with a multimeter, they struggle with everything. they do not know or understand basic electrical principles. but they are cheap and available. I have given up trying to explain what we need. If you need conduit or cables pulled, they are great, other than that, not so much.
We have the same problem, it got so bad that we had to quit asking for licensed electricians because we kept getting residential and commercial electricians with no industrial experience.

Also, not really what you asked for but we use the Fluke 773 and it is awesome. The clamp is so easy I can show our mechanical guys how to use it to troubleshoot a lot of process equipment. We bought ours second hand off eBay and saved a ton of money.
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Old September 15th, 2021, 10:47 AM   #11
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I had the spring in the clamp fly across the room, out of the Fluke 773. And the clamp doesn't measure any longer.

It would be an easy unplug, plug in a new clamp; but when I dug into it you need a 100mA source to calibrate the process meter.
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Old September 15th, 2021, 10:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Moore View Post
For the record, our HR folks have been hiring "construction" electricians as plant maintenance electricians, they struggle with a multimeter, they struggle with everything. they do not know or understand basic electrical principles. but they are cheap and available. I have given up trying to explain what we need. If you need conduit or cables pulled, they are great, other than that, not so much.
I was a pipe and wire guy for 20 years before making the transition to maintenance, so I understand the struggle. Hopefully your training budget is bigger than your tool budget, and you can get some of these guys up to speed.

It has gotten bad enough where I work that the last "electrician" that got hired had no license, no schooling, and no training. What he did have is a really good line of BS about how he had self trained himself to be an expert in all areas of the electrical craft. Take a guess how well that worked out? Yeah, not even that good.

Bubba.
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Last edited by willxfmr; September 15th, 2021 at 10:16 PM.
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Old September 16th, 2021, 06:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brandonspeaks72 View Post
Also, not really what you asked for but we use the Fluke 773 and it is awesome.
I used to sell (not authorized) Fluke, I had a few 772's and 773's they were great tools, the 771's were OK but did not have all the features as the others. If you buy from ebay buy from a US seller and one that takes returns and you can save some money that way.
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Old September 16th, 2021, 08:20 AM   #14
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Well.....looks like Fluke it the only way to go.
We are going to buy two, one for night shift, one for day shift, see how long they stay on site.
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Old September 16th, 2021, 10:36 AM   #15
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One other thought I had was that Phoenix Contact does make feed through terminal blocks with built in disconnects and the ability to put in test points for meter probes on both sides of the switch.

If you had one if those in the loop, you could put the meter in mA mode, put the leads in the test points and then open the switch to measure the loop current...
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