Rapid renewable energy expansion has accelerated the search for ways to reduce risks associated with commissioning and installing photovoltaic (PV) systems. The new Fluke 393 FC meets the demand for highly accurate hand-held devices capable of carrying out safe and reliable measurements in these applications.
The Fluke 393 FC helps to protect against the three main electrical hazards – shock or electrocution from energised conductors, arc faults that spark fires, and arc flash that leads to explosions. Control measures and best practices that can mitigate these risks are different when working with PV to working with any other kind of energy generating resource. That’s why it’s important that multimeters, test leads and fuses are rated for the application being worked on.
Electrical arc faults that spark fires are high power discharges of electricity between two or more conductors, with the discharge causing heat that can lead to the deterioration or even to burning of wiring insulation. PV systems are particularly vulnerable to arc faults caused by disruption in conductor continuity or by unexpected current between two conductors, often the result of a ground fault.
Switching to 1500V
Most major manufacturers of inverters and solar modules are shifting from 1000V systems to 1500V for greater efficiency. For solar installations, overvoltage category CAT III 1500V systems are being more widely used and CAT III and CAT IV equipment is essential for PV systems at high altitudes. The Fluke 393 FC True-RMS Solar Clamp Meter matches the insulation demands of such CAT III environments.
The meter is designed specifically for use by PV installation technicians and maintenance specialists who work in high voltage DC environments. The clamp can measure up to 1500V DC, 1000V AC, DC power and current up to 999.9A DC or AC through the thin jaw which is ideal for the kind of cramped spaces found in combiner boxes or inverters. Other key features of the clamp, which has a three-year warranty and is IP54 rated (making it well suited to work outdoors), include an audio polarity indicator that helps to prevent accidental mis wires by ensuring PV panels are installed correctly.
Safe, reliable and rugged
All test results are logged and reported via the Fluke Connect software that comes with the Fluke 393 FC true-RMS Solar Clamp Meter. Using just a phone, engineers can make and save measurements quickly, with the phone recording for 10 minutes and reporting readings to colleagues. Capable of measuring and recording up to two weeks, this safe, reliable and rugged meter also comes with an 18-inch iFlex flexible current probe for extended AC current measurements up to 2500 amps. Test leads are also rated to CAT III 1500V DC.
Hans-Dieter Schuessele, Application and Technology Expert EMEA, Fluke said, “Safety is essential when commissioning and installing PV systems. The future of power needs tools that are able to keep you safe in harsh environments – risk is not an option and you literally have to trust your meter with your life. That’s why the world’s first CAT III 1500 V true-RMS clamp meter has been designed to deliver enhanced protection for users in challenging CAT III environments. It’s very important that there’s a solid meter with multiple functions capable of operating at that rating – the solar industry desperately needs a solution like the Fluke 393 FC.”
More information about the new clamp meter here.
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