Current data loggers are used in all types of applications including solar and wind power generation, electric vehicles, equipment monitoring, generator monitoring and power studies. When choosing a data logger to record current there are three important questions that help identify the product or products that will meet your needs:
- Do you need to measure AC current or DC current?
- What is the range of current that needs to be measured?
- Do you need to measure any other signals in combination with the current such as voltage, temperature, etc?
AC or DC Current Measurements?
The hardware required for AC is quite different from that used for DC current measurements. AC current measurements are performed by using a current transformer or Rogowski coil sensor placed around the current carrying conductor and an instrument that takes multiple samples during an AC power line cycle, either 50 or 60 Hertz depending on the region. DC current measurements are much simpler. In many cases, a simple resistive current shunt sensor and a simple voltage measurement.
What is the Expected Value of the Current?
Current data loggers can measure all type of currents from microamps (.000001 Amp) to thousands of amps. Broadly, the range of measurements can be split into three groups:
- Milliamp Current Measurements: Within this group, 4-20 mA DC current (sometimes called current loop or process current) is by far the most common. Dedicated loggers such as the Versalog DCC-HR and Lascar EL-USB-4 are designed specifically for 4-20 mA current measurements.
- Current Measurements Between 1 and 100 Amps: In the case of DC current measurements within this range, using a current shunt transducer is recommended to convert the current to a voltage that can then be measured with a standard voltage data logger like the Versalog DCV-2 or TandD MCR-4V. For AC Current measurements in this range, current transformers that go around the current carrying conductor or wired current transducers can be used to connect directly to the conductor since Rogowski coils lose accuracy at lower currents.
- Currents Greater Than 100 Amps: For DC measurements, a Hall Effect current sensor which clamps around the wire is the easiest to use. For AC measurements, either a current transformer or Rogowski coil like those supplied with the Accsense Electrocorder EC-3A can be used to measure currents in the kA range.
Does the Application Require Other Measurements?
Universal input data loggers from dataTaker, Delphin Technology, and Grant Instruments can measure current and a wide variety of other parameters such as temperature, pressure, flow, run time and much more. A transducer can be recommended or provided to convert the desired current into a signal that the logger will accept for a packaged solution.
View the “How to Record Accurate AC and DC Current and Voltage Measurements” Guide to Learn More.
Types of Current Data Loggers
AC Voltage and Current Data Loggers
AC voltage and current data loggers with built-in transducers to support a specific voltage and/or current range.
DC Voltage and Current Data Loggers
Data loggers that are specifically designed for measurement of DC voltage and DC current.
AC Power Data Loggers
AC power data loggers for equipment monitoring, energy conservation studies or testing. We offer units that provide simple V-A measurements and others that record VAR, PF and other parameters.
Not sure what you need?
Download our guide on "Choosing the Right Data Logger for Your Application".
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