Let’s say you want to measure the AC current draw of a tool or device. How do you do this without cutting up the cord and wire? With a clamp meter or fork meter of course!
But what do you do if the conductors are all bundled together inside an insulated cord? You use an AC line splitter.
An AC line splitter does exactly what you think – it bridges between a 2-wire or 3-wire power cord and a standard AC outlet, to allow for accurate current measurements with a clamp meter. With a line splitter, the power cord and plug remain intact.
This Extech 480172 line splitter features a 3-prong plug, 3-prong receptacle, and both 1X and 10X clamp positions. The 10X measurement loop should come in handy if your multimeter or clamp meter isn’t sensitive enough to accurately measure small currents with high enough resolution.
The line splitter also features two holes that can be used with a standard meter for voltage measurements.
Input: 120V 50/60 Hz, 15A Max current.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
There are a number of AC line splitters around this price range (via Amazon, as I could not find one locally), and I opted for the Extech as it’s a brand I am familiar and comfortable with. My order is due to arrive later this week. I don’t think this type of accessory warrants a review, but if anyone is interested, let me know and I’ll get right on it.
Sears used to sell one under the Craftsman brand for about $10 – it was their part 34-81066.
Looking this up on google get this interesting result:
Going by the image I could find for reconditioned Craftsman splitters, link, the Craftsman is a relabeled Extech. Extech actually makes several multimeters and test equipment accessories for Craftsman, and they often sell at lower prices than Extech-branded gear.
What I thought funny was the Amazon link where the title and picture of the product are at wide variance.
Of course Sears like other retailers put their house brand names on products that come from one or likely more than one OEM. Many years ago – I saw a table of Sears-Craftsman part numbers and prefixes that purportedly allowed the reader to tell who the OEM was. Emerson at one time produced many of the craftsman stationary tools – but in a well publicized parting of the ways – Sears selected a different O&M and Emerson aligned themselves more closely to the then growing Home Depot. I suspect that with more and more globalization this sort of list has become more difficult to compile – although UPC and EAN barcodes sometime provide clues.
Ah, I see what you mean. Probably a new 3rd party seller getting things mixed up.
It would be interesting to see if there’s any correlation between model number and OEM, but there doesn’t seem to be. The UPC sounds more plausible, but there’s no way to check that for online orders.
I have two of the Craftsman branded ones. The ability to check voltage and current without opening the tool is very handy
A long time ago I kludged up a similar tester using a spare work box, 20A receptacle, a hacked up extension cord, and banana plug leads. It was wired so that both banana plug leads could be plugged into any garden-variety multimeter and give an inline current measurement. There’s no easy way to make such an arrangement ‘safe’ when it isn’t plugged into a meter, however, as one of the banana plug leads will be hot when the cord is plugged in.
This splitter seems much safer, but also requires a current clamp meter to get a reading. Cheapest one of those I’ve seen is $35. Still, the 10x measurement mode would be quite nice to measure idle current draw on electronics.
I recently purchased this Extech line splitter with the purchase of Fluke clamp meter. The Extech was a better price and looks like a solid product. Works well from what I can tell. I’ll be interested in the ToolGuyd review and perspective on this line splitter.
I made myself one with quality NEMA5-15 ends and THHN wire. I do like that this has points for regular probes.
Been wanting one for awhile to check how much an old fridge I have in the shop is costing me per month.
No one local has them so on line seams to be the way to go.
For something like that, a Kill a Watt ($18 via Amazon) might provide you with a more accurate usage estimate over time. Refrigerators’ power loads tend to fluctuate. I would want to see power consumption over time, such as a full day or two, rather than take a couple of instantaneous readings.