Best device for AC current measurement

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by withloveshyam, May 8, 2010.

  1. withloveshyam

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 20, 2010
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    Hi
    I want to measure the AC current flowing through the mains wire of home electrical appliance like Tv, refrigerator and pass the output values to a microcontroller.

    I have shortlisted these 2 equipments for that purpose.
    Kindly let me know which one is better?

    Or if any other device is much more better than these kindly let me know

    1) http://www.phidgets.com/products.php?category=8&product_id=3503

    2) http://www.gmw.com/magnetic_sensors/sentron/csa/documents/AN_119BKIT-Spec-v3.pdf

    thanks...
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  2. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    5,201
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    They are both pretty much the same technology, but I would go with the iSnail.

    It has a built in ADC that converts the voltage into a 0-5vDC which is immediatly acceptible to a microcontroller. The AN_119BKIT swings from a negative voltage to a positive -2 to +2.5 so you will have a harder time dealing with it as a sensor with micro controllers and such.

    Most uCs cannot read negative voltages.

    For me, the iSnail would be the way to go.
     
  3. withloveshyam

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 20, 2010
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    thanks very much for the reply!

    I ll go with that..

    now i am concerned about splitting the live and neutral wire.

    Is there any splitter available in the market that separates them..

    I have seen this kind of splitter
    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/it...nstruments-_-Electrical Power Testing-_-2ATB3

    But the isnail will not fit into that. I mean the diameter of the hole in the sensor is not big enough to pass the spliiter arms through it.

    Can u give me some advice on safely splitting the wires and testing it.

    Thanks..
     
  4. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Safety is of the utmost concern. I am glad you brought it up and are looking for a safe solution.

    If I were you. I would make an extension adapter, using single wires.

    Get a male and a female extension cord plug ends, and connect them via 10 gauge wires.

    Look here for instructions:
    http://electrical.about.com/od/diyprojectsmadeeasy/ss/replacecordplug_3.htm

    But instead of using all three conductors in 1 bundle. Get 3 separate wires and connect them the same.

    You can use zip ties to keep them together except for the end where you will pull one of the wires out of the plug, through the iSnail, then wire it into the plug.

    You can make this adapter 1 foot long and keep the iSnail attached. Then when you want to use it, simply unplug the device your testing and plug it into the adapter then into the wall.
     
  5. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Spammers will copy down your email off the post and send you millions of ads.

    If you need help, you can use the forum. It is a good way to help everyone learn. ;)
     
  6. studiot

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 9, 2007
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  7. withloveshyam

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 20, 2010
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    Thanks...
    But i need to measure the current and pass the value to a microcontroller. So that i need a device from which the output can be taken and given to a microcontroller.
     
  8. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    If you're in the US, get a Kill-a-Watt meter. I bought mine a few years ago on the web for $20; I don't know what they go for now. I've got fancier measuring equipment for when I need it, but I always turn to the Kill-a-Watt. It's dirt-simple to use and I've checked its accuracy. If they're still around $20-$25 street price, you simply can't find a better deal or a more useful tool for measuring power consumption, current levels, and power factor.
     
  9. withloveshyam

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 20, 2010
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    ya but i need to pass the output to the microcontroller..which cant be done using a kill a watt..
     
  10. retched

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  11. withloveshyam

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 20, 2010
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    Oh god..That was my entire project :)
    But i need to do the microcontroller coding for my project by myself. So let me do it in the normal way by measuring power, transmitting the power value to microcontroller...

    Anyways that was a useful link.
    thanks.
     
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