We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Current Probe?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A current probe is a device that can measure amperage without breaking a circuit. Current probes can be self contained devices, or they may be designed to work in conjunction with a multimeter. Most current probes consist of a set of clamshell jaws that can be opened in order for a wire to be passed through and then clamped closed. When the jaws are closed, the current probe can use one of a few different methods to indirectly measure any amperage passing through the wire. Most current probes use either a transformer, Hall effect sensor, or iron vane to measure amperage.

Due to the way that electrical circuits work, current can be more complicated to measure than voltage or resistance. Both voltage and resistance can be measured by probing the ends of a component, since voltage remains the same in parallel circuits and resistance is measured directly. Current is uniform in series circuits, so a direct measurement of amperage must involve breaking the circuit. This is not always desirable, or even possible, so current clamps can allow amperage to be measured in an indirect way.

A magnetic field can be generated when electricity flows through a wire, and electricity can be induced when a magnetic field passed through a wire. These principles are used in transformers, and some current probes actually behave like a transformer. This type of current probe contains internal wires that act as a secondary winding, and the wire being measured acts as a primary. An ammeter can then use the current that is induced in the secondary winding to determine the amperage in the wire that is being probed. This type of current probe is only useful when measuring alternating current (AC).

Another type of current probe with a clamp design uses a Hall effect sensor instead of a transformer. These Hall effect probes also use the magnetic field generated by the test circuit to indirectly measure amperage. This is achieved by measuring the voltage difference in an circuit, which is caused by the magnetic field. These current probes are typically very sensitive and able to measure either direct current (DC) or AC.

Iron vane current probes can also measure either AC or DC, and come in a few different configurations. Some iron vane current probes have an integrated meter and clamshell jaws. Other types of iron vane probes also have integrated meters, but lack jaws. These probes are typically held in parallel with the tested wire so that its magnetic field can move the iron vane, which in turn moves the needle on the meter.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.