Why I Chose A Fluke Multimeter With A Clamp
When I originally got my Fluke, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I knew I had pretty much no idea about electricity other than it runs stuff and it comes from the breaker box which somehow ties into power lines.
Problem is, as I set up my garage for my hobbies I kept popping breakers. Turn something new on and bam! There goes the power. I spent some time trying to get things going, but eventually I just turned to my electrician friend and asked him what to do.
Well, actually my electrician friend lives halfway across country now and wasn’t going to stop in. He recommended I pick up a Fluke multimeter with clamp and get back to him after taking some readings. It's quite widely know that fluke make some of the best multimeters: www.themultimeterguide.com
I Googled a bit, still having no real idea what I was doing and I decided to pick up the Fluke 325.
I’d like to say this was from an educated purchase, but actually I just saw someone selling one on Craigslist for cheap. After dealing with the shifty guy I brought the gadget home.
Keep in mind, I really had no idea what I was doing at this point. I mean, I kind of understood the whole 110v thing and I grasped the whole idea of amperage in rare lucid moments but I was far from an expert.
Troubleshooting with the Fluke 325
I bugged my friend to figure out what I needed to know about using the meter and took it out to the garage to see what I could figure out.First I popped open my breaker box and checked to see what the breaker was rated at. Turns out that amperage over the tolerance of a breaker is what causes it to pop.
After some experimentation, and getting yelled at by my wife who was cooking dinner when the power went off in the kitchen, I figured out that the breaker for the garage was rated at 15A.
The thing about a Fluke multimeter with clamp is that it can measure the amperage without having to touch anything. It does this by induction. I don’t really understand how, it’s all wizardry to me, but what it did do was allow me to quickly find out how much amperage everything in the garage was taking.
I was running right at the border of 15A the whole time. Once I added everything up, with the TV and game systems on and some of the other stuff I’ve set up out there I was running about 14A.
This means that anytime I tried running anything extra while my stuff was in use, I was overloading the breaker. Using the power of science I had determined that… well, I was still an electrical idiot, but now I knew what had to be done.
I had an electrician install a larger breaker for the circuit, it cost a pretty penny but thanks to the Fluke I was able to diagnose it myself and make sure that I can enjoy my man cave in peace.