View Full Version : OT Clamp-on Multimeter

Mark Duksta
02-26-2005, 5:50 PM
Hello All,

I'm in need of a clamp-on multimeter. Harbor Freight has one for $15. Has anyone had any experience with this multimeter? It item number 42396-1VGA.

Mark D.

Steve Clardy
02-27-2005, 11:41 AM
Not familiar with that one. I have the Amprobe brand, probably a hundred dollar unit now. Bought it long ago. If you just need it for ocassionally use, it would probably work for you. But you get what you pay for. Lol

Carl Eyman
02-27-2005, 12:05 PM
A few years ago I needed one, didn't want to pay the price of a new one; so I went to a pawn shop and bought a GE. It turned out to be out of calibration. It reads about 10% high. I'd check the HF model with a known current - like a 100W light bulb, for instance, and use that info to adjust the readings you get if necessary.

Ken Garlock
02-27-2005, 12:22 PM
Mark, it looks like a good deal IF it performs according to the specs in the manual. It appears that you have to buy test leads separately. Of course, remember the old adage, you get what you pay for.

For $15, you can't go too far wrong. :D

Mark Duksta
02-27-2005, 7:45 PM
I always do this. I start out looking for a new tool, then I work my way up from the El Cheapo to the Cadillac. The expensive one is always so much nicer then the cheap one. I get caught up in all bells and whistels. Right now I'm looking at a Fluke 330. $119 at the borg. I was hoping someone would say the HF meter was one of those hidden HF gems.


Steve Roxberg
02-27-2005, 7:49 PM
Mark I have the HF one and it works as advertised. I haven't tested the calibration but I only use it occasionally so it is fine for my needs.

So what should the reading with a 100 watt bulb be?

Ken Garlock
02-27-2005, 8:00 PM
Mark - If it says Fluke on the front, it is a good instrument. Don't be afraid of it. :)

Steve - the current in amps for a 100 watt bulb is the wattage divided by the line voltage. If the line voltage is 125V, then amps = 100/125 = 0.8 amps. That is provided the bulb is truly using 100 watts....

The above message may not be suitable for cats.
Mewer discretion is advised. :D

John P. Smith
02-28-2005, 1:36 AM
I have the HF meter. It is a replacement for the first one I bought. The first time I used it the jaw spring broke. Well, to be fair, not the VERY first time. It was the first use, but it didn't break until clamping on the second wire! I was still able to use it that time, I just had to manually close the jaws. I returned it, (without my receipt) and they exchanged it, no questions asked. I have used this one several times since with no problem.

Now you guys have me thinking about the accuracy of the thing. I guess I will be checking light bulbs now, just to get an idea of how dependable the readings are. Then I may call upon an electrican acquaintance and compare to his... a Fluke no doubt.

Steven Wilson
02-28-2005, 1:46 AM
I needed one and spent a few weeks checking out the action on Ebay. I eventually found a NIB Fluke 322, which is just what I wanted, for a very good price (don't remember it was a awhile ago). But for $15 if the HF does what you want then go for it.

Randy Meijer
02-28-2005, 2:39 AM
Don't know what you are planning on using the ammeter for; but speculate it might be for checking circuits that are carrying from 10 to 100 amps. If so trying to calibrate the meter using a light bulb drawing 0.8 amps is not the best way to go. It would be much better to calibrate your meter with a current that is "in the range" of what you anticipate measuring.

I have had success finding good deals at pawn shops and on eBay; but you have to be patient and know your products or you could get stung!!

John Renzetti
02-28-2005, 8:23 AM
Hi Mark, The prices for these things seem to be all over the place. The $15 for the HF and the other end is the Fluke 337 at around $300, I think. I needed a clampon that had RMS capability and least expensive was the Fluke 335 at around $160. That Fluke 330 that Steve got for around $100 will do about 95% or more of what you need.
take care,

Matt Meiser
02-28-2005, 8:13 PM
I have the HF unit. I check it against a few different things, comparing the nameplate amperage to the reading I got. I mainly got it to be able to check the load on my generator and it is accurate enough for that.

Steven Wilson
03-01-2005, 10:45 AM
That Fluke 330 that Steve got for around $100 will do about 95% or more of what you need.

John, I picked up the Fluke 322 instead of the 330 not only because it's cheaper but the resolution for loads below 40 A (i.e. Dust Collector) was just what I was looking for (.01A). Motor starting current would have been nice (Fluke 334) but I couldn't see spending double :D

Randy Meijer
03-01-2005, 9:16 PM
Just curious?? Why would you need to measure the draw of a dust collector motor to 0.01 amps??

Steven Wilson
03-02-2005, 12:54 AM
Just curious?? Why would you need to measure the draw of a dust collector motor to 0.01 amps?? I like measuring tools to read 1 place better than I'm interested in. So if I want to read 9.2A then being able to measure 9.26A is good.