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Inductive ammeters are nothing new, but they’re incredibly useful yet fairly rare tools. While electrical diagnostics usually require nothing more than a test light, motors, actuators, and battery connections are best tested with an ammeter — so you know not only if current is present, but how much.

The i1010 is a long-standing offering from Fluke, the best name in the business. The upper end of the measurement range is 1000A, but the bottom end is a relatively tiny 0.5A, leaving the i1010 in the perfect range for current measurements of just about any actuator or automotive current draw. Short of a battleship’s starter motor, you’re never going to run off the top end of this thing’s range. The only drawback is only 2% accuracy — more than enough for most applications, but severely Type-A personalities may wish to continue shopping. The i1010 is plenty expensive, but there’s a similar, less accurate (3.5%) model with a 400A range, the i410, available for much less.

Fluke i1010 [Fluke]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Fluke i410 [Google Products]

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8 Responses to Fluke i1010

  1. Gordon DeWitte says:

    Not sure if it’s an original old Fluke slogan, or just an often repeated line, but you gotta love “If it works, it’s a Fluke.”

  2. David Bryan says:

    This isn’t an instrument to use for low current applications like most actuators, which operate on a lot less than this ammeter”s lowest measurable current of .5 amps. If you want a Fluke clamp meter that’s useful for instrumentation you need a 771, 772, or 773 that measures current in milliamps.

  3. Chris W says:

    I agree with David. This wouldn’t be a good choice for home or auto shop use. If you want accuracy, use a good shunt. You have to open the circuit to insert it, but with a shunt you only need a voltmeter to measure current. They work with AC or DC. I have a 20 A shunt which is ten times more accurate than any clamp-on.

  4. MeasureOnceCutTwice says:

    Be aware of the differences for measuring AC current (Think household power and the like) and DC current (Think car batteries etc.). Inductive clamp on meters measure AC current by sensing the *change* in the current. They won’t work on DC current. Pretty useless for car work.
    There is another type of clamp on meter that typically uses Hall-Effect sensors to measure the actual level of the current, regardless of whether it is changing (AC) or steady (DC). These are usually much more expensive.
    Here’s a trick for measuring low currents more accurately: Loop the wire through the clamp multiple times. Every time the wire passes through the core, it adds more current to be measured. Just divide the reading by the number of times the wire passes through the core (NOT the number of loops around it – one loop = two times through. Two loops = 3 times through).
    For example, if you measure something around 1 amp, if you wrap loops of wire around the clamp so the wire passes through 10 times, you would now read *around* 10 amps. Suppose it says 12 Amps – divide that by the number of wires passing through (10) to get 1.2 Amps – more accurate than before.

  5. Fritz Gorbach says:

    1.Both products listed are actually hall effect sensors, which means they will work on both ac and dc.
    2.Loops of wire – that is a very handy trick. I keep a ten loop coil of thhn #12 wire with spade connectors on both ends in my meter case -mostly I use it for checking operation of low current heaters.
    3.Remember the margin of error in that plus or minus two(or 3.5) percent will be multiplied by the accuracy of the meter you plug in to. Probably fine for home/(most)auto, but in commercial & professional work, where a 5% variance in current between phases, for example, is a cause for serious concern, that’s just not good enough.
    4.Definitely need a milliamp meter for checking controls, sensors, and actuators, but if you can break the circuit, even most cheap meters can do this. Also a question of how much acccuracy you need. And sometimes you just cant break the circuit. I really would like a milliamp meter.
    5.I was thinking of getting one of these current clamps to use with a fluke scopemeter, but I will have to watch more closely and find the most accurate I can.

  6. rg says:

    For much less money, I’ve found that you can get a Chinese made AC/DC clamp multimeter. I think I paid less than $100 for mine, with a case and pretty good leads.

    I use it at work and I’ve compared it to more expensive clamp meters for accuracy, as well as with known AC and DC current flows. My verdict is that the Chinese clamp meters are no less accurate than the Fluke products. The build quality is also decent. Why spend the extra money?

    (Oh, and in anticipation of the inevitable objections that Fluke products are made in USA — guess again.)

  7. David Bryan says:

    It’s been a long time since I last worked as an instrument tech, but we used to put 250 ohm resistors in 4 to 20 milliamp loops to use a voltmeter and measure them as 1 to 5 volts.

  8. JB says:

    Any measurement that an auto tech would make with the i1010 he would be better served making with a VAT or Micro VAT. Starter draw Battery load test you need a VAT.

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