Energy economics goes hand in hand with protecting both users and powered devices. In safe electrical systems, there are no ground faults, significant voltage drops and points of increased resistance. Additionally, only systems made in compliance with generally applicable norms and standards can be freely connected to hybrid power systems, and as such they can fully use the potential of renewable energy sources while maintaining access to power supplied from mains systems. These statements apply both to industrial systems and renewable energy systems in households (single- or multifamily).
The range of professional metres dedicated to take measurements in electrical and power supply systems is presented below. These products are intended to streamline and facilitate work that involves taking advanced tests and measurements, which are necessary to verify if the power supply systems are operating properly. These products are offered by two well-known and respectable brands: Fluke and Beha-Amprobe
EV charging infrastructure
Charging stations for electric cars are relatively new equipment with which maintenance engineers of power supply systems work. Not only are they an important part of road infrastructure (especially today, as there are still very few charging stations) that is exposed to various types of mechanical and environmental damage – but they also operate at dangerous voltages and are capable of delivering currents that may be fatal to humans. Therefore, periodic inspections of the correct operation of such systems must be a priority. As such, it needs to be carried out using dedicated tools, whose manufacturers ensured compatibility with most of the electric vehicle connections on the market.
Tests of electrical systems and EV stations
PROINST100EURFKIT3 is a set which includes the PROINSTALL-100 multifunctional tester and an adapter to perform EV charging tests. The tester itself is designed as a mobile device. Although it offers a range of functions, it is enclosed in a compact, ergonomically shaped case with the display that remains visible even when the device is carried hung around the neck (its weight is approximately 1.5kg). Thanks to that, the operator can use both hands, which makes it easier and faster to take many repetitive measurements, for example, in fuse boxes.
The tester can be used to take measurements in compliance with EN 61557 and DIN VDE 0100.
The tester allows to carry out, among other things,verification of the operation of residual current circuit breakers (including the actuation time, trigger current), voltage and frequency measurements, as well as resistance and loop impedance (without RDC triggering) and system tests – so it is possible to detect not only possible failure points, but also fire hazards (the high resistance present on a single faulty connector can cause a fire).
The device has a number of features to facilitate complex maintenance work with extensive mains systems. These include: a memory of approximately 400 records with the possibility of naming (tagging) circuits and a USB interface for transferring data to a computer. Additionally, when the adapter included in the set is applied, as well as the products described below, the tester can be used in diagnostics of EV charging stations.
Testing of EV chargers
Parameters of simulated charging are set using switches.
EVA-500 and EV-520 series of adapters include products which in connection with tester described above allow for precise testing of electric car charging stations. For this, they use a dedicated EVC-20 cable which is equipped with the Type 2 connector, a popular, three-phase automotive standard commonly used in Europe. Using a separate EVC-13 accessory, they are also compatible with Type 1 sockets (single-phase charging). The sets can be used with ordinary mains connectors, as well as French type (Type E) and Schuko CEE 7/3 connectors – these models’ signatures end with letters F and D, respectively. Connecting an external load allows to verify the proper operation of the charging station meter.
The adapters feature functions that allow to perform a number of tests. Basic diagnostics includes detecting dangerous voltage in relation to ground, as well as failure simulation (no PE or CE protective connection). The device allows to emulate vehicle signals to measure the current capacity of the charging station – the settings are made using physical switches. Terminals of all connectors are placed on the face of the adapter, and they are used to make the connection with the measuring unit (standard 4mm connectors). Separate socket that is short-circuited with the CP channel (Control Pilot) enables monitoring the communication between the car and the charging station. In order to ensure the safety of use in field conditions, the adapter case is IP54-rated, i.e. it is characterised by high dust resistance and interior splash protection. The status of individual connections and possible failures is indicated by clearly labelled LED indicators.
Solar irradiance measurement for photovoltaic systems
Power sources are being modernised not only in the automotive sector but also in the sector of household appliances and industrial devices. Photovoltaic panels are one of the most popular alternatives to the mains power supply. Prior to installation of the solar system and also during its maintenance it will be necessary to carry out performance tests. They will allow to estimate the optimal parameters of the system components, e.g. of an energy bank, as well as verify the proper operation of the cells themselves .
FLK-IRR1-SOL can be used to perform 4 key measurements: solar irradiance, temperature, array orientation and tilt angles. The first function allows you to instantly measure the intensity of sunlight falling on the PV modules at any given time, up to 1400W/m2 (with a resolution of 1W/m2). In order to make accurate calculations and determine whether the system is operating optimally, it is also necessary to measure the temperature of the PV modules. Temperature determines the radiation absorption coefficient and it translates to the resistance of the cell. The meter has two thermal probes: the first one operates by applying the meter to the surface (the front of the cell), the second one is an external element, attached to the back wall of the PV module with a suction cup. Thanks to tilt angle measurement, the PV modules can be mounted in the optimal position, and it can be done with high precision thanks to an angle meter with a manual zeroing function (thanks to it, the surface angle of photovoltaic elements is determined in relation to the roof pitch). FLK-IRR1-SOL is also equipped with a digital earth magnetic field sensor to properly set panels in the southern direction.
Very easy operation speeds up necessary measurements.
The Fluke meter, a portable compact size tool, combines these four features to facilitate various works with photovoltaic systems. It is important to note that with one set of four AA batteries, the working time of the device is up to approx. 50 hours (around 9000 measurements).
Tests of electrical systems
The TME catalogue also includes devices with a very wide range of functions which can be used to examine the fundamental parameters of mains systems. Their capabilities go beyond renewable energy systems and can be used to test the elements of a power supply system and to monitor the work of industrial machinery.
Earth/ground clamp meter
Get additional functions with the Fluke Connect app. The FLK-1630-2FC tester can be used for taking measurements that are necessary to carry out the AC current inspections – for both mains systems and renewable energy systems. The device is equipped with built-in clamps with a current transformer. They enable taking quick and safe measurements of the currents flowing in individual wires leaving their insulation intact. It also enables the diagnosis of the systems by detecting the leakage current (both in buildings and in high-voltage poles, TV&radio broadcast transmitter stations and GSM transmitters). Because this device is capable of inducing voltage using the coil incorporated in the clamps, it can also measure the earth/ground resistance (which determines i.e. the proper functioning of residual-current devices). Moreover, this sort of measurement is one of the main tests taken during the inspection of lightning protection systems.
Functions of these products includes a configurable alarm triggered when the resistance exceeds the set values. It accelerates the diagnosis of complex systems, either industrial ones or those set in big residential buildings. In order to additionally facilitate such comprehensive works, the user may also record the measurements in the built-in memory or take advantage of its combability with the Fluke Connect system. FLK-1630-2FC communicates with the app installed on either a tablet or a mobile phone, thanks to which the GPS location or even a photo can be added to the record with the registered value. It is also possible to share such information with other members of the team by using the Fluke Connect Cloud feature. It is important to note that today these technologies are supported by the majority of professional devices from Fluke.
Earth ground tests of electrical systems
The FLK-1625-2KIT, apart from a meter and a dedicated case, comprises four electrodes and one set of three long reeled cables (two 25m cables and one 50m cable). These elements are meant for the earth/ground resistance measuring and earth/ground tests (3- and 4-pole measurement method) using the electrodes inserted into the ground. The product also includes two pairs of clamps designed for taking measurements without electrodes, a quick earth/ground loop test. This doesn’t require disconnecting the earth electrode, can be performed inside buildings, on high-voltage poles and in areas with no direct ground access. In other words, all the elements that are necessary to perform advanced testing of protection circuit and elements of lightning protection system are included in the kit.
Measurement kit is placed in a hard-shell but lightweight case.
Because the device is designed for comprehensive field work (in compliance with IEC 61557), it is characterised by not only high IP rating and thermal tolerance (operating temperatures from -10° to 50°C) but also double insulation (according to IEC 61010) and a number of additional features such as a memory for 1500 records and interference frequency and voltage measurement (up to 50V and 400Hz).
Insulation resistance measurement
Taking measurements in difficult conditions is possible thanks to the backlit screen.
Lightweight, compact FLK-1507 insulation resistance meter is primarily recommended for electrical engineering works in industrial and commercial facilities. The tests are performed using voltages of 50V, 100V, 250V, 500V or 1000V, while the measurements have a range from 0.01MΩ to 10GΩ. The FLK-1507 model features the functions of polarisation index and dielectric absorption calculation for diagnostics of electric motors. The test is additionally facilitated by the possibility of taking multiple measurements and by a TP165X remote probe included in the set, which can be used in tight spaces (e.g. stator housing). In case a voltage of more than 30V gets detected in the connected circuit, the tester has been secured and it ensures CAT IV (600V) protection. Understandably, apart from the advanced testing of industrial devices, the meter can also be used for the testing of electrical systems and other power supply circuits.
Multifunctional multimeter with insulation test
Electricians and electrical engineers who work in field will undoubtedly appreciate the enormous potential of the FLK-1587FC multimeter – a device that is compact, easy to use, and features a number of functions that exceed the characteristics of other related products. This model has a high-contrast, backlit LCD display. Basic tests that can be performed with this device are the measurements of resistance, AC and DC voltage (along with the real root mean square, called True RMS, and the measurement of DC in millivolts), direct/alternating current intensity (even in milliamperes), resistance, capacitance, temperature (K-type thermocouple included), frequency (from 10mHz to about 100kHz). Obviously, when using the multimeter you can also conduct diode and continuity testing (acoustic signal triggered at <25Ω). The device also records the minimum and maximum values registered during the measurements, has a low-pass filter (VFD) for accurate motor drive measurements and a system for automatic discharge of capacitive voltage. The most distinctive feature of the FLK-1587FC multimeter, however, is the capacity to perform voltage insulation testing (50…1000V) in the range from 0.01MΩ to 2GΩ.
Full set of accessories for the FLK-1587FC, including the software.
The multimeter described here provides a wide range of functions required for the performance of the majority of electrical engineering works. It is important to note that, when combined with the Fluke Connect app, its features are extended to include the compensation of temperature, storing the measurements, graph data presentation and remote work. Moreover, the set also includes a hard-shelled case and a set of probes, including the FLK-TP165X probe, test leads and alligator clips. Both the device and its accessories comply with the EN61010 standard for CAT IV 600V and CAT III 1000V.