HF Quality

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Sorry it isn't woodworking stuff but I thought some might find this pic interesting. I'm comparing the reading of my brand new $17.99 (usually $44.99) Clamp Meter I got this weekend at Harbor Freight with a $274 Fluke True RMS Clamp Meter from work. I'm checking current draw on my home AC unit with them both at once.
http://home.swbell.net/snaphook/Pics/Clamp%20Meters.jpg
That $17.99 gets you a clamp on ammeter as well as VOM, probes and a nylon pouch. The range is the same as the Fluke also.
Bruce
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Interesting! Thanks for the comparison.
-- Regards,
Dean Bielanowski Editor, Online Tool Reviews http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com ------------------------------------------------------------ Latest 5 Reviews: - Woodworking Techniques & Projects - Kreg Right Angle Clamp - Bosch 3912 (GCM12) 12" Compound Miter Saw - Dowelmax Doweling System - Ryobi CDL1802D Pro Series 18v Cordless Drill ------------------------------------------------------------
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Need to watch the sales at Harbor Freight VERY closely. Sale prices vary every month. I bought the exact same model for $9.99. The 7 function DVM sell for as cheap as $2.99, or as high as $12.99 (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber5761) I get their sales flyers frequently and scour them, taking note of the prices of items. They're sneaky, but that meter was still a steal at $18!

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In rec.woodworking

Darn it :-) That is a hell of a deal. But, like you said, it is a bargain at $18.
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Fluke
nylon
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I
prices
If you use 35761-1VGA, you can get it for $9.99 even when it is not on sale
Digger
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In rec.woodworking "Digger" <DW> wrote:

You guys are off track. I'm talking about a CLAMP meter, not a VOM. Here:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumberA080
It is regularly $44.99 and I got it for $17.99. I don't think you'll get it for $9.99
Bruce
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A clamp meter? All of my clamps have their size stamped or cast right into the side. It doesn't really sound like you need a "meter" - maybe a better bet would a set of gage blocks to verify that the number stamped on the side is correct?

Here:
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On Wed, 10 Sep 2003 01:52:56 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com (Bruce) wrote:

This may be a real stupid question to something that is very obvious, but the downside "potential" for me is too great: This type of meter is what one can use to see if a wire is hot before cutting it? I need the most basic tool for that function.
BTW, about random prices at HF -- it seems that one set of numbers is the item and the other is for the catalog, at least when I shop on-line at HF (don't have a brick store near me). At any one time for a single item on their site you can get many different prices depending on if you simply search their site for an item or if you enter numbers from a catalog, and then depending on which catalog.
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In rec.woodworking

Using an amp probe for this is a good way to have a shocking experience. It is possible to have voltage present but no current flowing. In my picture, if the AC wasn't running, and I was upstream of the relay, it would show 0.0 amps but there is 220 volts AC waiting for me to snip it with my side-cutters.
I would tend to probe the wire at a termination if possible. If not, the only safe way I know of is to pierce the insulation with a probe on a volt meter and measure voltage. You will have to have a ground also, so you'll probably be piercing 2 wires. If you sharpen the tips of your probes, it isn't a big deal usually. There are also test lights that do the same thing. Make sure you have the right voltage type and value.
I've seen a small pen type device that you can hold on a wire and it will light up but that must be from induction, just like the amp probe so it wouldn't work unless current was flowing.
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On Wed, 10 Sep 2003 03:31:01 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com (Bruce) wrote:

Well, as I said, the downside was too great if I was wrong. Thanks. There are some romex wires in my basement that I think are orphaned and I'd like to clean things up, so it looks like I have to go back to Plan A -- throw the main disconnect first.
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(Bruce) wrote:

volt
you'll
There
For $10 you can get a voltage sensor that tells you if a wire is hot, just by being near it. There doesn't have to be any current flowing; if you have an open circuit, it can tell the difference between the hot and the neutral. (If there is current, then they are both hot; duh)
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wrote:

Well, that's a bit different than what Bruce posted. What's this thing called? Do you know who makes it? Any webstore address? Thanks.
Bruce -- do you have any thoughts on this?
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In rec.woodworking

Well, this one says it can do it. I'll admit that I didn't know about it before:
http://www.professionalequipment.com/xq/ASP/ProductID.58/id.5/subID.56/qx/default.htm
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On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 00:16:56 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com (Bruce) wrote:

Thanks for the extra effort. If I understand your original posts, it does seem strange that this item claims to detect "AC voltage range 110~600V" w/o any mention of current flowing. It would be easy enough to test if I got one -- run it along a lamp cord with the lamp on and with it off. $8.50 S&H charge. I suppose I can give them a call. If I can get some info, I'll post more.
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wrote:

Wow. Electrician in a gas processing plant. You have many ways to die -- and make the evening news. (Hope that is not too morbid -- just sounds hi-risk.) So, safety must be extra important. Thanks for the info.
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Hah! :-) Yeah, I was sorta jumpy when I first started working around natural gas, but it is something you get used to. I just have to remember that everything around me is under 800psi pressure or higher and burns like hell! We process about 130 million cubic feet of gas per day, so there is LOTS of opportunity to screw up if we are not careful. We have a great bunch of guys that know there business though, so we actually feel pretty safe there.
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On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 00:16:56 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com (Bruce) wrote:

Bruce -- According to the company at that link, who I just called, the device will detect voltage w/o current flowing. Now, the guy I spoke with had to ask someone else, and so who knows. (He said, "Well, some current is always flowing.") But that could be enough for me to at least get the thing -- but verify, then trust.
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In rec.woodworking

Well, current is certainly NOT always flowing. I'm not saying it couldn't work but I don't think it is by induction.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com (Bruce) wrote in wrote:

It does work by measuring the inductive field, but they only work on AC voltage because of the wave form. Since it is always cycling from 0 volts to full voltage at 60hZ, the detector can catch the magnetic field induced from the cycling.
They WON'T work on DC voltage, or at least the one I have won't.
Michael
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