Troubleshooting in electrical systems has always needed gaining access to metallic contact points for the test leads. While non-contact AC current measurement has been available in the Fluke T5 Electrical Tester for a few years, voltage detection was only available as a form of non-contact voltage testing.
However, Fluke has now developed Field Sense technology that takes the open fork functionality of the T5 Electrical Tester and for the first time adds AC voltage measurements. Hence, electricians can now take simultaneous voltage and current measurements — not just detection — without test leads.
Safer way to test voltage
Contacting electrical conductors with test leads or alligator clips requires metal-to-metal contact, which carries the potential for arc flash.
FieldSense technology eliminates that step. Because the measurement tool and the voltage source under test are isolated, the person performing the test is safer from potential electrical shock. This is performed by means of galvanic isolation or separation, the principle that isolates functions of an electrical current to prevent current flow. FieldSense takes a measurement of voltage without voltage flowing through the meter. Instead, tools like the T6 sense an electromagnetic field in the open fork to make the measurement. Moreover, since the measurement is performed through the cable’s insulation, the user has reduced exposure to metallic conductors. T6 testers also decrease the potential for errors or making contact with the wrong conductor.
How FieldSense works
While the technology in the T5 detects a magnetic field to derive an ac current measurement, FieldSense Technology detects an electromagnetic field.
First, Fluke engineers developed the open-fork voltage sensing technology, which involves transducing and calculating a known signal to derive measurements for the source voltage. This was done by designing the device to generate a reference signal of known amplitude and frequency. Then, when grounded, the resulting composite waveform is detected by an electronic sensor built into the tester. After amplification, processing, and digital calculations, voltage and frequency measurements are derived.
Fluke engineers then combined the two different physical phenomena—magnetic field sensing and electrical field sensing—into one device. The result is that for the first time in a Fluke meter, voltage and current can be measured and displayed at the same time without metallic contact.
With FieldSense Technology, 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 and less time wearing full 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: 17.8 mm open fork of the T6 is widest in the industry; measure up to 200 A on 4/0 wires (120 mm2), or take readings on 14 AWG wiring.
Founded in 1948, Fluke Corporation is the world leader in compact, professional electronic test tools and software for measuring and condition monitoring. Fluke customers are technicians, engineers, electricians, maintenance managers, and metrologists who install, troubleshoot, and maintain industrial, electrical, and electronic equipment and calibration processes.
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