Etekcity MSR-C600 Review | Elegance & Versatility All In One
Safety = 95/100
Design = 70/100
Functionality = 90/100
The Etekcity MSR-C600 has got both the CAT III and CAT IV ratings, a simple yet elegant design and handles all the important tasks a clamp meter should
Unlike in the past when technicians could use clamp meters to only measure alternating current, there is so much more that you can be able to do with the clamp meter nowadays. Just as it is the case in the standard multimeters, getting an outstanding clamp meter is no walk in the park.
Considering that there’s quite a lot of misleading information on the internet, we’ve selected the best among the best for you- the Etekcity MSR-C600. Besides just delivering an outstanding performance and having one of the best build qualities you can get on a clamp meter, it will definitely give you quite the kick for your buck.
Before we get started, I’d like to shed some light on what the difference between this multimeter and the standard multimeter is. Think of the clamp meter as a current measuring equipment with some voltage measuring properties and the standard multimeter as a voltage measuring equipment with some current measuring capabilities.
Enough with the introduction already, let’s delve into the main agenda right away, shall we?
Etekcity MSR-C600- an in-depth Review
I’d like to kick off our review with the first impression on this clamp meter or rather what you’ll be able to deduce from it as you first lay your eyes upon it.
Considering it's a clamp meter, you'll be having the claws of the meter at the topmost part. These do open up with the aid of the clamp button which is on the left side of the Etekcity MSR-C600. Pushing the clamp button opens up the clamp hence allowing you to take your desired measurements.
Right below the clamp and on the left side of the clamp button is the dial. around the dial are the various measuring stations. These are labeled in white and are a total of 6 stations excluding the off button. Clearly, you can be able to do quite a lot with this much on a clamp meter.
Moving on, right below the dial are three push buttons. The one on the extreme left is labeled ‘SELECT’, the one in the middle is labeled ‘MAX' and the one on the extreme right is the ‘HOLD' button.
Below the push buttons is the LCD display which is fairly large for a clamp meter and moving on further down below the LCD display are the banana input plugs. There are two of these and they’re clearly labeled to ensure that you get the correct readings and reduce the odds of either damaging the clamp meter or hurting yourself.
I’d say that the overall look of the Etekcity MSR-C600 is not only attractive but it will be quite comfortable to work with all the same. Being a clamp meter, it will fit comfortably in your palm and at the same time won’t be too heavy to handle.
The whole package you’ll be getting includes the Etekcity MSR-C600 digital clamp meter, a pair of the ordinary test leads, two AAA batteries, a single carrying bag and a user manual.
So far, so good, let’s move on and see whether or not this is a suitable enough clamp meter for DIY, shall we?
The display quality.
Normally, I’d like to start with the area where we’ll all be having our eyes upon while using the clamp meter- the display.
For the Etekcity MSR-C600, I’d say that the display is fairly large for a clamp meter. It’s obviously not as large as you would get on the standard digital multimeters but it will definitely be enough for you to make out the readings displayed with utmost clarity.
As for the resolution, this is a 2000-count clamp meter. Though this is not the best resolution you'll be getting out there, it should be enough to handle most of the things you throw at it. For example, you can be able to use it conveniently while troubleshooting both your automotive and household appliances.
Even though the resolution on the display is not that high, it will be good to use at different angles since you'll hardly notice a change in contrast. In addition to this, it will also be suitable to use even in sunlight.
Yet another thing to point out on the display is that it’s got a refresh rate of up to 3 times per second. This gives you the advantage of getting a quicker response from this clamp meter which would not be the case for the others in its class.
The symbols of different measurement functions can be clearly seen on the display as well which makes this one of the best DIY clamp meters out there
Despite the display being fairly good, it does not have a backlight feature added to it and you sadly cannot be able to use it in low light conditions.
Yet another interesting feature about this digital multimeter is that it has got the auto-ranging function. Whether you are a first time user or an expert-level technician, this feature will come in handy all the same. Though it’s a feature that is hard to miss on both the multimeters and the clamp meters, it’s still worth taking a look at.
Think of how much time you'll save by using the auto-ranging function and more so, this will greatly eliminate the odds of you selecting the wrong range and ending up with less accurate readings.
Something else you should know about the auto range is that you can use it in carrying out most of your measurements including AC current. When the auto-ranging feature is enabled, you’ll see the ‘AUTO’ symbol on the display which simply means that the meter will automatically select the range with the best resolution for you to work with.
Power saving mode.
When choosing a digital clamp meter, it is normally advisable that you get as many qualities as you can from your clamp meter other than just being able to deliver accurate measurements.
One of the things that most people overlook is the battery saving feature. More often than not, you may forget and leave your clamp meter powered on only for the battery to be drained much faster than it ought to.
In order to take care of this, the Etekcity MSR-C600 has got an automatic sleep mode included. Considering this is triggered after 15 minutes of leaving the multimeter in an idle state, you’ll get to optimize the battery usage. Before the Etekcity MSR-C600 enters sleep mode, the buzzer will beep for about 15 minutes and you’ll hear one long beep before it finally enters sleep mode.
If you’re not comfortable working with the sleep mode, you could press the ‘HOLD’ button while powering it up to disable this function
If in sleep mode, you can activate the clamp meter to resume your readings by turning the rotary switch or pressing any of the buttons. You should, however, have the following in mind when waking up your device from sleep:
The hold function will be canceled if you activate the clamp meter by pressing the ‘HOLD’ button.
A low battery indicator.
Yet another amazing thing about the Etekcity MSR-C600 is the low battery indicator. Since not everyone likes to work with the auto power off feature, you may once in while disabling it. Doing so does not mean that you'll always remember to turn off your clamp meter which will, in turn, lead to the battery being drained quite fast.
With the low battery indicator included in the Etekcity MSR-C600, you’ll know when to get a new pair. It can be quite dangerous to run on low battery power since you'll risk getting unstable readings from your clamp meter. If you get a false reading, you could end up suffering an electric shock which could be quite hazardous.
Tip: I’d highly recommend that you go ahead and replace your battery as soon as the indicator appears just for the sake of your own safety. Speaking of safety, let’s take a look at how good the Etekcity MSR-C600 holds in our next point.
Besides performance, safety is yet another thing that should not be underestimated whatsoever. Well, that being said, let’s see whether or not the Etekcity MSR-C600 is good enough, shall we?
Starting with the test leads, you’ll be getting a pair of safety insulated test probes that have got a plastic gripping. Besides just having an outstanding grip, the plastic also serves to prevent you from touching the metallic points while taking your measurements which could be quite dangerous.
The clamp meter itself complies with the IEC61010 CAT II 600V and CAT III 300V. The CAT II 600V allows you to use it with most household appliances, portable equipment and has got a smaller transient overvoltage capacity as compared to the CAT III. You should always observe the 600V threshold when using it with CAT II equipment.
The CAT III 300V rating, on the other hand, allows you to work at the distribution level and fixed installations. It's got a smaller transient overvoltage as compared to the CAT IV rating. In addition to the CAT III and CAT IV safety ratings, it’s also got overvoltage protection and double insulation.
Something to take note of…
Even with the outstanding safety rating on the Etekcity MSR-C600, using it other than what is specified above could result in either damaging the clamp meter or even worse you hurting yourself.
Also, before you go ahead and start using it, you should inspect it for any cracks or exposures to the internal components especially the insulation around the corners.Don’t risk using the clamp meter if it’s got any missing insulation. As for the test leads, go ahead and inspect them for any exposed metals and if any, replace them before using your clamp meter.
We’ve seen that this clamp meter does have a lot to offer, haven’t we? Well, how about we have a look at how much it’s going to offer? Before we do this, I’d like to point out that it’s just as good a clamp meter to use for basic home maintenance as it is when troubleshooting automotive or even industrial equipment.
DC and AC voltage measurement.
As it is expected of a clamp meter, the Etekcity MSR-C600 is able to handle DC and AC voltage measurement quite well.
In both cases, you’ll need to observe the CAT II and the CAT III safety ratings. Inboth cases, the voltage ranges are 2.000V, 20.00V, 200.0V and 600V. yet another safety precaution you should take is to ensure that both the red and the black probe are plugged in correctly.
You should also cross-check to ensure the rotary switch is in the right position when measuring either AC or DC current.
Measuring AC current
As stated earlier on, this the main reason as to why clamp multimeters were constructed in the first place. It is therefore important that your clamp meter be able to do this perfectly.
You’ll be using the jaws of your clamp meter to do this and it important that you unplug the test leads before you go ahead and take your measurements. At the same time, you should observe the voltage between the circuit and the ground in which case it shouldn’t exceed 600V.
The current ranges are 2.000A, 20.00A, 200.0A and 400A. go ahead and switch the rotary to either of these positions.Open up the transformer jaws and then center the conductor in the center of the jaws to avoid a deviated current and then take the reading as displayed on the LCD.
You'll be using the test leads to doing this and when doing so, you should discharge all the high voltage capacitors as well as the power supply to the circuit.
Testing for continuity is quite simple. Once the rotary switch is in the continuity mode, simply touch the probe tips on both ends of the circuit and wait for the beep. Provided the resistance of the circuit under test is below 50 ohms, the buzzer will sound. It may not sound if it’s between 50 and 120 ohms and does not sound at all if the resistance is above 120 ohms.
This should be done after disconnecting any power to the circuit and discharging all capacitors as well. For a good silicon junction, the voltage drop should be between 0.5V and 0.8V if forward biased. In reverse bias, the voltage drop will vary and if ‘OL’ is displayed, the circuit is either open or the polarity is wrong.
By having the black probe in the COM terminal and the red one in the resistance terminal, go ahead and have the rotary switch on the Ohm symbol then connect the leads across the object under measurement.
The resistance ranges are 200.0 ohms, 2.000-kilo ohms, 20.00-kilo ohms, 200-kilo ohms, 2.000 ohms and 20.00 Mega ohms.
For the high resistance measurements i.e. greater than 1 Mega Ohm, it’s normal to take several seconds for to obtain your reading. The OL symbol, on the other hand, indicates an open circuit or the value is higher than 20.00 Mega Ohms.
Additional features and functional buttons
We’re almost done reviewing the Etekcity MSR-C600 and so far, I’d say that this is a clamp meter that’s definitely worth every penny. Now, how about we take a look at what the function buttons do?
There’s only 3 of these: the ‘HOLD’, ‘MAX’ and the ‘SELECT’ button and not each one of these can be used on every rotary position.
Starting with the hold button, you’ll be using this to enter the ‘HOLD’ mode. Upon pressing this button, you’ll see the ‘H’ symbol appear on the display and your current readings will freeze until you press it again. There is also a beep indicator that lets you know you’re in hold mode.
For the MAX button, you’ll start recording and updating your maximum values once you press it. Just like the ‘HOLD’ button, this too has a symbol- there will be MAXdisplayed upon pressing it.
Last, we’ve got the ‘SELECT’ button. With the rotary position at the diode and continuity measurement position, you can press this button to switch between either diode measurement and continuity measurement. Upon doing so, the symbol on the display will change from that of a diode to that of continuity or vice versa
Conclusion- our final take on the Etekcity MSR-C600
Summing up our review, I think we can both agree that there’s more to this clamp meter than meets the eye and it is definitely worth every penny.
With the Etekcity MSR-C600, you can not only be able to troubleshoot your household appliances but you can also be able to do some industrial tasks as well as handle automotive problems with it. The build quality is also safe enough for you to use and the wide range of applications is obviously a bargain.
Considering you’ll be getting a handy carrying pouch coming along with the Etekcity MSR-C600, portability won’t be an issue whatsoever. It’s definitely reliable as it is well-performing.
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