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Old 02-02-2012, 05:24 PM   #1
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GB GCM-221 Digital Clamp Meter


I am trying to see the amps that are running through some wires. Reason being is because there are 12g and 14g both spliced together and before I have a fire or something I wanted to make sure that the line was carying too much load.

I just went out and purchased this new clamp meter but the booklet is really vague. I figure someone here knows more about this tool then I do. I tried it 2 ways and got 2 very different readings. Either one way is right and the other is wrong OR both are wrong. One way I clamped the clamp on to the spliced hot wires the other I took the red probe and touched that and the black to the box... Can someone tell me how to do a correct reading for this purpose.

Also would like to go to the breaker panel and go to the specific breaker for this J box and see what is being pulled to that breaker to make sure that breaker isnt over loaded. Can someone tell me how to test that with this tool as well?

Thanks much in advance!!
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:26 PM   #2
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:27 PM   #3
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GB GCM-221 Digital Clamp Meter


The hot wire has to be going through the inside of the clamp with it fully closed.

Last edited by rrolleston; 02-02-2012 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:29 PM   #4
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If there are 14 gauge wires protected by a 20 amp breaker it needs to be fixed no matter what or the proper breaker needs to be used.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:30 PM   #5
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The wires have to be going through the inside of the clam with it fully closed.
ONE wire only!!!!
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:35 PM   #6
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ONE wire only!!!!

Yes I edited my post just before you replied. That looks like a decent meter. I still have my Blue Point clamp on amp meter I bought from Snap On about ten years ago. Still works great.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:36 PM   #7
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ok so what I am getting so far is... undo the spliced wires and test one wire only.. not the whole splice...

Then take one wire and put it in the clamp and thats the reading I want? And that would read as it reads? or do I need to do any calculations to figure out the correct reading?

Also, I have been told from two electricians and a guy at the electrical store that ( although not up to code) splicing 12g and 14g and running that off a 20amp is more common these days and is not an issue?

He also said that back in the day when the house was wired they only used 14g and now it is far more common to see 12g and 14g spliced together in the same J box on a 20amp? Have you or anyone seen this and is that true?
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:43 PM   #8
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Also how can I use the meter to test the load on the individual breaker?
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:44 PM   #9
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GB GCM-221 Digital Clamp Meter


Any that splices different gauges like that should be shot. You would need to be clamped around the hot wire of the 14 gauge wire with everything you plan to run on the circuit and see what it is drawing. I prefer to check at the breaker panel more wire to move around and put the clamp around.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:47 PM   #10
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1. NO. Do not undo the splices. Wire everything as it was before you started messing with it. Hook the clamp of the meter around ONE wire at a time with the circuit activated (load turned on) to get the reading for that wire.

2. Get a new electrician.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:47 PM   #11
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Also how can I use the meter to test the load on the individual breaker?
Inside the breaker panel but you must be very careful because everything in there is live. And can be very dangerous.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by davido30093 View Post
1. NO. Do not undo the splices. Wire everything as it was before you started messing with it. Hook the clamp of the meter around ONE wire at a time with the circuit activated (load turned on) to get the reading for that wire.

2. Get a new electrician.

Can;t afford an electrician right now hence attempting to DIY method... and appreciate all your tips here.... so... when I left the wires spliced together and pulled them far enough apart to put the clamp around each wire individually I get a 0 reading. Any thoughts on that? I know they are hot and load is turned on and no other wire is in the clamp ring other then the one I am testing..
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:54 PM   #13
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Inside the breaker panel but you must be very careful because everything in there is live. And can be very dangerous.

I plan to be extra careful.. BUT... when the panel is open and the breakers are exposed what do I do then with the clamp to see what load is being carried on that breaker? AND also... does everything on that breaker need to be turned on and running to get the accurate amp reading being pulled on that breaker?
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:57 PM   #14
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Everything that is on the wire that you are testing must be on for you to know what the full usage is. The meter I have has a direction inside the clamp that says to point that in the direction of the current.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:57 PM   #15
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If there is no load-nothing turned on-the reading should be zero.

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