Fluke a3004 FC Wireless 4-20 mA DC Clamp Meter - Electrician Talk - Professional Electrical Contractors Forum
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Old 04-11-2019, 09:52 PM   #1
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Default Fluke a3004 FC Wireless 4-20 mA DC Clamp Meter

Anyone have any experience with the Fluke a3004 FC Wireless 4-20 mA DC Clamp Meter?

I have been shopping around for a 4-20 mA clamp meter for troubleshooting control signals. I have used the Fluke 771 mA Clamp meter a few times but thought the logging function of the a3004 might be useful.

The 771 has a slightly larger range from 0 to 20.99 mA VS the a3004 FC's 0.05 to 20.99 mA and not sure if the 0.05 at the low end would make a difference.
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Old 04-12-2019, 12:37 AM   #2
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I do control system troubleshooting, I have a 773 and a 289 w/ an IR3000 FC module. I was in a similar situation a while back, chose this solution and here are my thoughts after deploying it in the field for a good while...

(1) Having a logging function is nice, but while that is a strength of the 289 as a standalone meter, I don't see that as a strength for Fluke Connect, reason being, if you want to monitor something, do you really want to leave this thing and your phone connected over bluetooth for however long? I'd find it annoying having to leave my phone eating up its battery with the app running to avoid the operating system from doing something funky for power saving.

If you planned to use the laptop module, that may be a different story, but I see the benefit of the Fluke Connect feature is being able to hook something up and go mess with controls and get live updates in your hand. I suppose it would also work for short term logging in the same capacity if the controls are further away--you could leave your Fluke Connect running on a device near to the transmitting meter, walk away and fiddle with stuff, come back and see results... a standard logging meter could do this as well, although I will say the live graph on the Fluke Connect app is more intuitive than having to stop the recording session to see the trend graph on the 289. The strength of the dedicated logging DMM is that it can record for hours and hours while you go about your day.

(2) 4-20 clamp meters are good for quickly checking reading on multiple loops since you dont have to disconnect each one... but if you're trying to log something, it's not a huge deal to unplug once to get it set up. Due to the high resolution on the mA scale, clamp meters are also subject to noise and need to be zero'd, if I was troubleshooting something that required logging of any kind it'd be fairly critical and I'd want the reliability of an inline measurement.

That's not to say I wouldn't recommend FC modules... however, I'd only consider that route if I was planning to get a range of modules and use them to replace a multifunction DMM with your phone as a display. For single purpose, its up to you to say whether you deal with that situation often enough, but I prefer a standard logging meter with the option to pop on a Fluke Connect transmitter.

You already have the 771 for quickly checking multiple loops. It seems rather niche that you'd need both the ability to log any given loop and the convenience of checking multiple loops. Consider your use case... if you need long duration logging, consider a purpose-built logging meter, if you want FC style logging, check out the 3000 FC which has no logging but has the bluetooth capability built in, which could turn your FC receiver into a remote viewer and short term logging device.

edit: I should also mention that I rarely use my 773, which probably sounds crazy because it's very useful, but that's because I'm in maintenance and not installation, so I don't often do commissioning. If that was the case, the FC mA clamp might be a decent middle ground since you're switching loops often and don't need long term logging. Question there would be whether a person was planning to do that long enough to justify paying for one out of your own pocket.
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Last edited by Rora; 04-12-2019 at 12:58 AM.
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Old 04-12-2019, 12:23 PM   #3
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Thanks for the detailed reply!

I should clarify that I don't currently own a 771, I was lent one by a co-worker who left for another job, so this would be my only 4-20 mA meter. I have an old phone that I could probably repurpose for logging if needed.

I have been working a mix of new construction, measurement and now mostly maintenance and I find that I miss having access to the 771, and the old co-worker at times. I am currently doing maintenance in an older facility with few wire labels and even fewer drawings so I was using the mA clamp meter to not only do quick checks on live processes but also map out wiring when a transmitter fails hi/low.
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:53 AM   #4
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If you've got a demonstrated use for it (and plan to stay in similar type of work) that's the best indicator of whether it will be valuable to you. Only thing I'd say is to try to plan out your tool system sooner rather than later--after you have a solid idea of what you use and before you start buying stuff. In this case you'd be capable of logging mA readings... what are you using for standard DMM measurements, and could you see logging being useful for those readings?

My initial reaction is that $500+ is a lot to get remote+logging for a single function, considering the Fluke 3000FC is half the price and transmits all the standard DMM readings (but no mA DC clamp obviously). If you wanted remote+logging on all DMM values, you could conceivably use a clamp attachment similar to what's included with the a3004FC, but the issue is that that few clamps read mA DC accurately (DC clamps require hall-effect sensors) and are always relatively expensive, which is why you're paying so much for a single solution mA clamp whether it's the 77x range or something like this. Predictibly I can't seem to find Fluke selling the mA clamp that plugs into the transmitter, if it would even function that way. Actually the only high quality clamp attachment I've found for mA DC is the Chauvin Arnoux K2 (or K1) which runs about $600... if other forum members may know of another one, I'd be curious to know myself.

Anyways, something to consider before dropping a lot of money on this stuff, best of luck!
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