Klein CL800

nickdearing88 Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭
Hi everyone. I just got a Klein CL800 (my first clamp meter), as recommended by a member here in another post. I read through the manual then checked some current readings for both AC and DC lines. It doesn't seem to be registering any current.

First I tried AC on my laptop charger from the wall outlet to the rectifier, then I switched to DC and checked from the rectifier to the laptop. Tiny changes the measurement, 0.01, 0.02, no where near accurate. It auto-ranges but I also tried switching through the manual range settings with the same results.

Next I tried larger loads AC (toaster 1000w) and DC (solar panels 6.2A per my charge controller at the time) -- no results.

I know it sounds stupid but could I be missing something. The meter seems to function normally.
Current system: 8-100w Renogy panels mono/poly, 2 strings of 4 panels in series - 24v 100Ah AGM Battleborn LiFePO4 batteries - Morningstar MPPT40 CC - 1500W Samlex PSW inverter


  • Raj174
    Raj174 Solar Expert Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2017 #2
    The clamp has to be around a single conductor. If it was, then I would suspect a meter problem.

    4480W PV, MNE175DR-TR, MN Classic 150, Outback Radian GS4048A, Mate3, 51.2V 360AH nominal LiFePO4, Kohler Pro 5.2E genset.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,476 admin
    As Raj says--You have to separate the power lines so you can clamp on each one separately.

    If you clamp on both the "Hot" and "Return" lines, their magnetic fields will cancel each other out.

    If you will be measuring 120 VAC (or other standard) loads, you can make a short "extension cord", where you separate the wires so you can clamp each one individually.


    Another place to experiment (in DC current mode) is with your car's battery and alternator leads. You can turn on the lights (measure the current in the battery lead), start the engine and see the charging current into the battery (and from the alternator if you can get to its wiring).

    DC current clamp meters need "zeroing" (clamp not on any wiring), then clip onto the wire to measure current. They use a "Hall Effect" transistor to measure the magnetic field--Hall Effect transistors drift over time (minutes or so) and need to be re-zeroed occasionally to measure DC current flow "exactly".

    AC only current clamps can use a simple (and non-drifting) current transformer to pickup the magnetic field (changing magnetic field from AC current flow).

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nickdearing88
    nickdearing88 Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭
    Well, I'm glad I asked. How silly of me, that makes perfect sense. No wonder why it was reading zero. Every place I tested happened to be around both positive/negative leads. I guess I was too tired to have that cross my mind last night!

    I just re-tested only on the "hot" leads and it worked perfectly. Thanks for the easy answers.
    Current system: 8-100w Renogy panels mono/poly, 2 strings of 4 panels in series - 24v 100Ah AGM Battleborn LiFePO4 batteries - Morningstar MPPT40 CC - 1500W Samlex PSW inverter
  • Horsefly
    Horsefly Registered Users Posts: 472 ✭✭✭✭
    An AC line splitter can be pretty handy in this regard. Here's one I bought for use with that same meter: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000YHN9W Plug it into the wall, plug a 120VAC load into it, and put the clamp meter through the 1x loop. You can then measure the current without separating the wires on the cord for the load.
    Off-grid cabin: 6 x Canadian Solar CSK-280M PV panels, Schneider XW-MPPT60-150 Charge Controller, Schneider CSW4024 Inverter/Charger, Schneider SCP, 8S (25.6V), 230Ah Eve LiFePO4 battery in a custom insulated and heated case.