by Brianna Crandall — January 3, 2018 — Troubleshooting electrical systems has traditionally required gaining access to metallic contact points so the test leads can make contact, points out Fluke Corporation, a provider of professional electronic test tools and software for measuring and condition monitoring. And while pen-style non-contact voltage testers have been available for some time, these tools only detect voltage, they do not give the user a measured value.
Fluke has now developed FieldSense technology that takes the open-fork, current-measuring functionality of its existing T5 Electrical Testers and adds AC voltage measurements. So now, electricians can use Fluke tools to take simultaneous voltage and current measurements — not just detection — just by sliding the open fork over a conductor, without test leads, says the company.
The new T6 true-rms Electrical Testers, the first tools to use FieldSense technology, are now available at local distributors and retailers for use by technicians, engineers, electricians, maintenance managers, and metrologists who install, troubleshoot, and maintain industrial, electrical, and electronic equipment and calibration processes.
Safer way to test voltage
Contacting electrical conductors with test leads requires metal-to-metal contact, which carries the potential for arc flash or electrical shock. FieldSense technology eliminates that step.
How FieldSense works
While the technology in the T5 detects an AC magnetic field to derive an AC current measurement, FieldSense Technology detects the AC electric field.
The T6 creates a reference signal, which is carried to earth ground through capacitive coupling. When the open fork of the tester is placed over a live conductor, the AC electric field interacts with the reference signal. The resulting composite waveform is detected by an electronic sensor built into the tester. After amplification, digital signal processing, and calculations, voltage and frequency measurements are derived.
Fluke engineers then combined the two different physical phenomena — AC magnetic field sensing and AC electric field sensing — into one device. The result is Fluke’s first tool that gives users a way to simultaneously measure voltage and current without metallic contact.
With FieldSense Technology, maintenance professionals and electricians can:
- Be safer: Measure voltage to 1000 V AC through the open fork, without test leads. Workers spend less time in front of open distribution panels wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Be faster: No need to pull panel covers or remove wire nuts to find a conductor. Measurements can be made anywhere along the wire run.
- Be more efficient: Simultaneously measure AC voltage and current.
- Be everywhere: The 17.8 mm open fork can measure up to 200 A on 4/0 wires (120 mm2).