Is a Thermal Multimeter Right for Your Business?

Is a Thermal Multimeter Right for Your Business?

Most electrical contractors are aware of the benefits of having a multimeter in their tool box – they’re invaluable in accurately detecting electrical problems while saving valuable time. Not long ago, analog multimeters were eclipsed by the enormous improvements offered by digital multimeters (DMMs). Certain models can measure decibels, microamps and rotations per minute, while others include waterproof castings and even offer graphing capabilities.

As advanced as digital multimeters are, though, some models required using a separate thermal detector to find the true RMS value. Not any longer. Fluke, manufacturer of most the most efficient and popular DMMs on the market, has developed the first thermal multimeter. The Fluke 279 FC TRMS Thermal Multimeter is the first tool to unite the complete features of a true RMS digital multimeter with a thermal camera in one device in order to speed up electrical diagnostics and troubleshooting.

About the Fluke 279 FC

The new, wireless thermal multimeter provides users with 15 electrical measurement functions such as resistance, ac/dc voltage, capacitance, continuity, frequency, min/max recording and diode testing capabilities. An optional iFlex® current clamp can be wrapped around wires and conductors, even in small areas or those hard to reach. The clamp is capable of increasing measurements of ac current up to 2500 A. The unit also features a full-color, 3.5-inch LCD screen that provides clear, crisp images.

The double-insulated unit features an extended rubber holster for extra protection and is sturdy enough to withstand a drop of nearly 10 feet. It also includes a rechargeable lithium ion battery that will provide more than 10 hours or normal daily use. The cost for this unit is about $900.


The unit includes a system of peripheral tools accessed by a Fluke Connect® app or Fluke Connect Assets software, which is a cloud-based solution. Both systems gather and record measurements that will provide an all-inclusive view of the status of critical equipment. An electrician can also record and distribute the electrical measurements and accompanying thermal images in real time – either via a tablet, smartphone or by uploading the data to the cloud.

The capabilities of the app or software include being able to prepare and share reports and updates from the job site via email. Another boost to field productivity includes being able to hold real time collaboration and discussions with clients and colleagues via ShareLive™ video calls.

Benefits of a Thermal Multimeter

Electrical equipment typically overheats before it fails, although the issue isn’t normally evident until critical repair work is needed. Fortunately, the development of a thermal multimeter allows electrical contractors to instantly visualize those hot spots so you can catch them in time. Here are a few of the benefits of using a thermal multimeter.

• Quickly scan breaker panels, electrical cabinets, connections, fuses and switchgear for signs of developing problems you might otherwise miss.

• Use a safer, more accurate method of measuring the temperature of energized components without having to open electrical enclosures and expose yourself to potential arc flash injuries.

• Being able to instantly transmit results to crew members, project managers and clients via your smartphone or tablet.

Is Thermal Imaging Right for You?

As an electrical contractor, you know the value of having the right tool on hand for the job. A thermal imaging multimeter is a first-line tool for checking hot spots of high-voltage transformers and equipment and detecting overheated wires, fuses, connectors, insulators, switches and splices.

Using a tool that integrates thermal imaging with the benefits of a DMM can reveal these and more electrical issues quickly and from a safe distance. By combining the best features of these two critical tools, a thermal multimeter increases both safety and productivity.

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