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Clamp ammeter on 12/3 cable

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Kevin_Tisdall:
Id like to start having some idea of how much power my system is pulling from the usual spread of 2-3 20 amp nema outlets.   

Will a typical low-end fluke or klein tool lowes-purchased clamp on meter do that?  Or do you need to clamp on to just a hot wire such as from a distro?

Looking to spend $100 or less. 

--kevin

Brian Jojade:
Clamp on meters need to go around just the hot wire. You won’t be able to clamp around the 12/3 as a whole.

Yo can make a short extension of individual conductors to put inline, o buy a prebuilt meter that does that.

doug johnson2:
There are lots of fairly cheap panel mount voltage/amperage meters on Amazon.  Build a short extension cord with one in a box, in-line.

Jeff Lelko:

--- Quote from: Kevin_Tisdall on February 18, 2023, 03:12:03 PM ---Will a typical low-end fluke or klein tool lowes-purchased clamp on meter do that?  Or do you need to clamp on to just a hot wire such as from a distro?

--- End quote ---

The short answer within the context of sound equipment is generally no.  In the world of lighting where current draw is much more consistent you can get an accurate measurement without anything special, however with sound equipment - particularly amplifiers - the momentary transients are much too brief for the average ammeter to get a good reading.

As already mentioned though - regardless of what you're trying to measure, a clamp-on ammeter won't work on 12/3 or any other multiconductor wire.  The right work-around will depend on your particular application but I'd first sort out what specifically you're trying to measure first.  Hope this helps!   

Tim McCulloch:
You seek a "Kill-a-Watt."  Some are direct-reading Ammeters and others are a 'break out loop' you can clamp around.

Jeff is spot on about fast current changes that your meter is unlikely to display but you'll still get a idea of how much current is used.

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