What Do We Understand by a Current Clamp?
A current clamp refers to an electrical instrument that works to measure and estimate the number of amperes. It does so for the ones that pass through any conducting material or substance. The device gets constructed in a manner such that it has jaws. They allow the current clamp to get attached or held to a conductor when it gets brought close to it.
This feature of the electrical instrument permits it to compute and take measurements and values without making any sort or kind of physical contact with the current-carrying or conducting rod, coil, or wire. In addition to that, it works and operates without the need for disconnection. It generally gets required to insert the current clamp through the probe.
A current clamp also goes by the name of a current meter or a current probe. It finds application in the quantification and calculation of the magnitude of alternating current (AC). The parameter passes through a conducting substance. The instrument can also get used to assess and gauge the waveform and current phase. It becomes possible when the current clamp gets combined and utilized with other devices specialized for these functions.
A few unique types and kinds of current clamps can also compute the direct current (DC) that flows and passes through a conductor. Such measurements primarily entail the Hall Effect and vane values.
What are the Different and Distinct Types and Kinds of Current Clamps?
Current clamps can get divided and classified into various kinds depending on their construction, structure, and application. Each of them comes with and provides unique features and applications required in specific sectors and fields.
The different and distinct types of current clamps consist of the following:
- Current Transformers
A current transformer is an exceedingly common form of a current clamp. Its construction comprises a split ring made of substances such as ferrites or soft iron. In addition to that, it has a wire coil. It remains wound around either one or both halves to create a winding of the current transformer. The conductor forms the other winding. The electrical instrument can clamp around to this.
A current transformer works to get the measurements of the pulse waveforms and the magnitude of the alternating current. During the computation of the value, the coil acts as the secondary winding. On the other hand, the conductor becomes the primary winding. The reverse can also work in some cases. It generally gets used to infuse and instill current into the conductor. In such instances, the roles of the coil and the conductor as the primary and secondary winding inverses. This type of reversed construction finds application in the testing of the susceptibility of electromagnetic compatibility. It is feasible only during the introduction or injection of an interference current.
- Iron Vane
An iron vane can measure the magnitude of both direct and alternating currents. It comes with a continually moving iron vane that gets influenced by the core’s magnetic flux. Such current clamps compute the Root Mean Square’s (RMS’s) true value for a non-sinusoidal waveform generated due to alternating current.
An iron vane clamp finds application in an analog clamp meter or a moving pointer. It remains attached to the device’s display mechanism. Nevertheless, due to the extreme physical size, specific restrictions and constraints get imposed on it. Let us take an example. The power transmission frequencies cannot exceed more than 100 Hz.
- Hall Effect
A Hall Effect version of the current clamp gets used in assessing the alternating and direct current. However, unlike the iron vane ones, they are comparatively more sensitive. These devices can take the range of the values to a greater extent of the frequencies, such as kilohertz.
In earlier days, a Hall Effect current clamp got used with oscilloscopes. With the modern technological advent and the development of high-end and computerized multimeters, this type gradually became devices that found application in everyday life.
- Rogowski Coil
A Rogowski coil is a coreless transformer or current sensor that finds application in clamp meters and power monitoring systems. It has flexible ways in which it can get used and has better linearity. It can get owed to the lack or absence of core. It does not require the device to be in contact with any electrical or magnetic field.
What are the Beneficial Aspects of Using a Current Clamp in Everyday Applications?
A current clamp has and provides numerous advantages when used in daily life. It serves better in terms of usage and performance. It is in a comparative scale to most other devices of a similar nature and type.
A current clamp can get used in almost all environments, situations, surroundings, and circumstances. It can work even in areas of high noise and electrical disturbances.
A current clamp can measure and compute the current flowing in a live and active conducting material or substance. It can do so without requiring the power supply to get off. It helps significantly in places where continual access to energy is necessary. Due to its ergonomic design and handle, a current clamp can fit seamlessly in the hand even when the user wears some protective gear.
A current clamp has a compact size. It allows the device to fit in constricted and small spaces. Nevertheless, it can give high accuracy results and readings. The compact nature also makes the device lightweight. It permits it to get carried and stored without undemanding means and methods. It does not put any pressure on strain on the hand during use.
The electrical instrument offers a broad quantification and calculation range and scope. It helps to save a considerable amount of energy, effort, time, and money. In everyday applications, a current clamp can act as a substitute for a multimeter at any time. It stands true, especially in cases where the circuit or connection has a few faults and is not safe in some aspects. It helps make the measurement and quantification process harmless.