Fluke Connect tools are very handy connectable tools that can share measurement data between various test and measurement tools and your smartphone. It’s an evolving system, and I believe Fluke has been heading in the right direction.
Earlier today I received an email introducing Fluke Condition Monitoring tools, which looks to be a side branch from the Tool Connect system.
The tools look to do much of the same things, but are more designed as left-in-place sensors.
This makes a lot of sense, from both functionality and cost standpoints. While there isn’t much technical or sales data available, I’m going to guess that the new sensors, which don’t look to have any built-in displays, will cost less than comparable multimeters.
Plus, you can use Fluke tech and sensors that you already own – such as iFlex current clamps, other current clamp leads, and probes.
This diagram shows the intent differences between Fluke Connect and Fluke Condition Monitoring tools.
Whereas Fluke Connect tools can communicate with your smartphone, it looks like a gateway is needed to connect the monitoring sensors to the “Fluke Cloud.”
Here’s what you can measure:
- AC and DC voltage
- AC and DC current
Measurements can be taken and recorded as frequently as once per second, for “over a month at a time.”
You can receive real-time alerts via text messages or emails when readings go beyond pre-set parameters.
For example, let’s say you have a motor that optimally runs at 85°. Having temperature, voltage, and current sensors, or a combination of sensors, can give you a picture of what’s going on.
Fluke Connect tools are useful for diagnosing problems as they arise, and for gathering routine measurements to establish a baseline, but it seems like the monitoring sensors could tell you when a problem occurs. To my understanding, it can also provide you with a short history of measurements, which might help to paint a clearer story.
This is how I’m understanding the system, forgive me if I’m wrong. I’m pairing together limited information with how I understand the current Fluke Connect system works.
You could potentially use Fluke Connect tools in a similar manner, to log measurements over time, but I don’t think that’s how they’re meant to be used.
Fluke also says:
Best of all, it installs in a matter of minutes so you can place the sensors, diagnose an issue, and move on to the next piece of equipment.
That part confuses me, as the purpose of pre-set parameters and alarms is more congruent with leave-in sensors, and not test-and-go sensors. Diagnose-and-move-on seems to be better suited for the Fluke Connect tools.
This part of their product discussion makes more sense to me:
Each wireless sensor sends measurements every second, giving you a history of equipment performance before, during and after an event, allowing you to make preventive maintenance decisions.
That’s exactly what I imagined Fluke Condition Monitoring was meant for when I first opened the announcement email.
Several sensors are launching with the new line, all being aimed towards industrial applications.
As an aside, wouldn’t it be interesting if Fluke followed Flir, one of their competitors, and entered the consumer equipment market? There is a lot of potential there, for various sensors around the home. I’d love to see Fluke water, temperature, voltage, and current sensors that could be placed around the home and set to ping my smartphone if conditions went outside normal limits.
Fluke Condition Monitoring Products:
- AC voltage sensor, 3510 FC
- DC voltage sensor, 3511 FC
- AC current iFLex sensor, 3520 FC
- DC 2000A current sensor, 3521 FC
- K-Type temperature sensor, 3530 FC
- Gateway, 3501 FC
The gateway can stream data from up to 10 Fluke 3500-series sensors to the Fluke Cloud, via a wired or wireless network connection. It can store up to 3 months of measurement data, for disconnected applications.
The gateway also has a WiFi interface and can communicate with Android and iOS devices via the Fluke Connect app.
It has a Li-ion battery backup, in case of power disruptions.
More Info(via Fluke)
Fluke tends to make great products but I wish other companies would compete with them in the high-end DC & low frequency test & measurement market. They have a monopoly now and their prices reflect that. It’s like TI still charging $100 for a ti-89 graphing calculator that hasn’t changed since the 90s just because they can.
Agilent and Flir post some competition at the higher end of things, and there other brands that compete with their lower and mid-range tools.
Danaher Corp has bought up all of Fluke’s competition in the higher-tend T&E market, and Agilent (Keysight)’s products that compete in the same market are based on still superior 80’s/90’s sampling technology. There really hasn’t been any innovation in this space since the 90s and I believe that is probably due to lack of competition. Sure, they’ve added bells & whistles (wifi, connectivity), and digitization has allowed them to convey more information about the measurements the device makes, but the core technology hasn’t changed much.
Interesting idea but I don’t so much like information going to someone else’s cloud. Our IT crew wouldn’t allow that here, but otherwise it’s not a bad idea.
I’d prefer to buy just the sensors that send data over a standard format already known – and then distribute that as I need/desire.
but I can see how for some people this is a far easier thing to live with. cost is steep though.