Clamp meters are a very convenient testing instrument that permits current measurements on a live conductor without circuit interruption. When making current measurements with the ordinary multimeter, we need to cut wiring and connect the instrument to the circuit under test as shown in Fig.1.
Using the clamp meter, however, we can measure current by simply clamping on a conductor as illustrated in Fig.2. One of the advantages of this method is that we can even measure a large current without shutting off the circuit being tested.
|Fig 1: Measurment using multimeter|
|Fig 2:Measument using clamp meter|
A DC clamp meter works on the principle of the Hall Effect. The Hall Effect, named after Edwin Hall who discovered it 1879, states that when a conductor carrying current is placed in a magnetic field, a potential is induced across the conductor, transverse to an electric current in the conductor and a magnetic field perpendicular to the current. It is caused as the charge carriers, electrons or holes, experience a force known as the Lorentz force and are pushed to the sides of the conductor.
A clampmeter which works on the Hall effect has a sensor known as the Hall element. The Hall element is subjected to the magnetic field caused by the flow of current to be measured. This causes a small voltage across the Hall element. This voltage is amplified and measured.
coutesy : www.electrotechnik.net