Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

A Good Meter For Solar System Testing

Collapse
This is a sticky topic.
X
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • A Good Meter For Solar System Testing

    For your solar power equipment you need a good meter than can measure both voltage and current safely. Voltage is no problem using probes, but current poses a problem, especially safely and accurately.

    Measuring current in th eole days required breaking the circuit, and putting a meter in series to measure the current. It takes skill and knowledge to do that. However in the past decade clamp on current meters using the Hall Effect have came onto the market. Clamp-On meters are simple to use to measure current. All you do is open up the JAWS of the meter and CLAMP it On around the conductor you want to measure the current. No need to touch any live circuits or risk opening a circuit. Pretty much HANDS OFF.

    Problem in the past Hall Effect Meters have been very expensive around $200 or more. But today you can get decent one for around $50 to $60 that includes a volt meter, resistance, capacitance, frequency, and temperature.

    Such a meter is invaluable for a solar system testing. Ok I have have found a METER that is inexpensive, and right on target for solar systems because it has a DC Amp scale of 40 and 400 amps. That is right in the SWEET SPOT. It will also measure AC and DC voltages, and even with a temp probe tell you when your steak or roast is the perfect temperature on the grill.

    OK here is the Meat. Look for an EXTECH MA220. If you shop around you can get them new for $50 plus shipping.

    FWIW I am not a SPAMMER and have no interest in the product. I use FLUKE.
    MSEE, PE

  • #2
    Wow! Thanks for your post man, I really find it very interesting and informative.. But why would you post and make it sound so god yet you are not interested?

    Comment


    • #3
      Sunking is trying to help people - sharing the knowledge as best one can.

      Too many of the sites concerning solar and wind are full of green types that jump at anything some fool movie star praises as being great and green.

      Never mind that the movie star or TV personality has not idea at all of what is being talked about. Jay Leno and Ed Begley come to mind. Some of the stuff they push borders on silly.

      Better to have a touch with reality when starting off on a project and expenditures.

      Russ
      [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

      Comment


      • #4
        DC Clamp on Meter

        Another clamp on meter with 40A and 400A DC scales is the TENMA 72-7226. I
        managed to get one on sale for $40 from MCM, but regular isn't a lot more. Very
        good for a quick panel test, effect of moving shadows, etc for my several
        paralleled panels. Bruce Roe

        Comment


        • #5
          I guess it goes without saying, but avoid shirt-pocket or ten-dollar special multimeters. Just because they are digital doesn't mean they are accurate.

          I started cheap, and when I took my at-rest SOC voltage measurement, I thought I was doing fine at 12.2 volts for a rough 50% DOD. I upgraded to a Fluke, and found that I was really at 12.0 volts. Not good. A ten-dollar meter is a nice way to kill expensive batteries.

          Comment


          • #6
            DC Clamp on Meter

            Originally posted by bcroe View Post
            Another clamp on meter with 40A and 400A DC scales
            is the TENMA 72-7226. I managed to get one on sale for $40 from MCM, but
            regular isn't a lot more. Very good for a quick panel test, effect of moving
            shadows, etc for my several paralleled panels. Bruce Roe
            Looks like I actually got a 72-7224. Its on sale again thru 9 Nov, 20% off the
            usual $50 from the same source using code EMC313. Bruce Roe

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by iamshane View Post
              Wow! Thanks for your post man, I really find it very interesting and informative.. But why would you post and make it sound so god yet you are not interested?
              Learn to read. I have a FLUKE meter. Fluke is top of the line professional equipment and it cost around $900 for what I got. Extech are good meters for a DIY budgets at $50 to $100 price range. Which is the greater number? $900 or $100?
              MSEE, PE

              Comment


              • #8
                Sunking, i like how you think, more stuff less fluff...
                Don't burn stuff up, never quit experimenting!

                Comment


                • #9
                  cool test equipment?

                  I like these. Use them nearly every day. Ok, so they aren't mine but they are pretty sweet.

                  Agilent MXA spec an

                  http://www.home.agilent.com/en/pd-78...ng&cmpid=28233

                  Rohde & Schwarz SMU200a

                  http://www.rohde-schwarz.com/en/prod...3493-7555.html

                  Best spec an in the history of mankind is the HP8566b. Found one on ebay for only $2900. Better than the $35k MXA

                  http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-8566B-Spe...item3ccdb5ac0f

                  But these suck; techtronix ths730 handheld o'scope.

                  http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI...ectorid=229466

                  Ok, so I am a test equip geek. Sue me. I'll shut up now.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Kno wall that equipment, but RF test equipment is useful for solar power, and Hewlett Packard no longer makes test equipment. HP sold all that to Agilent.
                    MSEE, PE

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I know it's no good for solar but I like them. And yep, HP broke into two divisions, Agilent for the 'professional' stuff. You know, what the gov't buys. They spend oodles on this stuff but we can't get a decent DVM. This also made me think of when I was a kid. Made the mistake of using a PSM6 (analog meter) to check a 300v power supply test point...with it set to read amps. All the magic smoke escaped from the box and I got to fix it. At least I didn't have to pay for it. All you tax payers did.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rhawkman View Post
                        I know it's no good for solar but I like them. And yep, HP broke into two divisions, Agilent for the 'professional' stuff.
                        Well actually Agilent and Rhode & Schwartz are used a lot with Telephone Companies and Cellular Telephone companies. I am from the Telecom sector, and my company does a lot of electrical and RF work for Verizon and ATT to name a couple, and we have both Agilent and Rhode & Schwartz test equipment. I know what you mean about expensive as one of the Agilent Spectrum Analyzers cost as much as some new cars.
                        MSEE, PE

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The SMU200 is way overkill for what we do, but probably more applicable to what you are talking about, cell stuff. The only good thing about it is the way you can program modulations into it. Ok, thats not the only thing, but in some ways for us it's like using a saturn V to get on your roof. They took away our real o'scope and gave us a headless network one. I hate that thing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Instruments

                            Originally posted by rhawkman View Post
                            I like these. Use them nearly every day. Ok, so they aren't mine but they are pretty sweet.

                            Agilent MXA spec an

                            Rohde & Schwarz SMU200a

                            Best spec an in the history of mankind is the HP8566b. Found one on ebay for only $2900. Better than the $35k MXA

                            [url]http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-8566B-Spectrum-Analyzer-100-Hz-to-22-GHz

                            But these suck; techtronix ths730 handheld o'scope.

                            Ok, so I am a test equip geek. Sue me. I'll shut up now.
                            I can't afford the newer HP8566b spectrum analyzer. But an older
                            HP8565A 40 GHz spectrum is sitting on my home bench. Very good
                            to see how much interference an inverter, MPP, or other switching
                            controller is going to cause to my ham or other communications. A
                            matching 1 GHz digital frequency synthesizer sits next to it.

                            As for the THS730, it has a very unique feature. The 2 probe grounds
                            are floating, they don't have to be connected to the same potential.
                            Very handy to check the input & output of an isolated power supply.
                            That is what I got it for. Of course it is a handy storage scope,
                            which I can run off my 12V car battery.

                            As for a voltmeter, it doesn't cost a fortune to get a few decimal
                            places accuracy, easily good enough for this kind of work. The
                            low level Fluke on my bench will resolve down to a micro volt.
                            Bruce Roe

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The 8566 newer? It's ancient. However, when they replaced ours with first a Rohde & Schwarz FSM30 we made them leave our old 8566. A couple years ago that was replaced with the MXA but they put our 8566 into the engineering drawings now and it has a dedicated antenna while it sits on top of our safe. I love its one button ability to do peak search and max hold and stored settings with 2 button pushes. The MXA does more but I hate having to go thru menus.

                              The 8566 is so good that when we got them in the 80's the USAF PMEL guys would steal ours so they could calibrate their calibration equipment.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X