The Etekcity MSR-C600 is a fairly useful amp clamp meter-cum-multimeter for general duties. This is also an auto-ranging device able to measure AC amperage effectively, although it cannot measure DC current. Other test ranges include AC and DC voltage, resistance, continuity and diode tests. The jaw can accommodate conductors up to 28mm.
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- Auto ranging clamp meter
- Measures AC current
- Max conductor size: 26mm
- Measures AC/DC voltage
- Measures resistance
- Diode & continuity checks
- Data hold feature
- Clear LCD display
- Auto shutdown: 15 minutes
- Size: 8.2″ (208mm) x 3″ (76mm) x 1.2″ (30mm)
- Weight: 9.2oz (260g)
- Test leads
- Carry pouch
- User manual (MSR-C600 manual)
- AAA batteries x2
In-depth Review of the MSR-C600
Measuring current is traditionally the province of the professional, since you need to interrupt a circuit in order to have amperage flow through the multimeter. It is quite a tricky and potentially dangerous step, though with a clamp meter, you don’t need to do any of this; simply clamp the jaws over the conductor in question.
The capacity of the current measuring side of the Etekcity MSR-C600 is up to 400A. While this may sound like a huge amount – and it is with respect to a standard digital multimeter – many clamp meters go beyond this. You can measure up to a diameter of 26mm.
A cross between a clamp meter and digital multimeter sees it also measure voltage, resistance and continuity as a traditional multimeter does. Capacity on the voltage side is up to 600V and the auto ranging means you don’t need to switch between individual range values as with a tougher to use manual ranging meter.
This is not a True RMS device, meaning you will only get accurate results when measuring standard AC waveforms, like in mains supply. To measure an inverter output accurately, for example, would require having True RMS.
As to how the Etekcity MSR-C600 fairs in the field, it is best for DIY or light use, such as for testing power consumption in appliances, socket outlets, fuses, light switches and batteries etc.
Note: As this is an AC current measuring device only, it cannot be used for measuring the current draw of a car battery or other DC systems.
|AC voltage||2V / 600V||±(1.2%+5)||1mV-1V|
|DC voltage||200mV / 600V||±(0.8%+1)||0.1mV-1V|
|AC current (50-60Hz)||2A / 400A||±(3.0%+12) @ 2-20A||0.001A-1A|
|Resistance||200Ω / 20MΩ||±(1.0%+2) @ 2-200kΩ||100mΩ-10kΩ|
These accuracy figures are quite respectable and close to some of the bigger multimeter brands, such as Klein and even some of the Flukes. As with other cheaper devices, you would want to keep up to date with calibration, however, to ensure reliability of the readings.
Design and Build
The MSR-C600 has the typical clamp meter look, with a long body, trigger-operated jaws and two input jacks. It doesn’t measure amperage directly so only requires two jack sockets. The dial selector switch runs through the ranges, with AC and DC voltage separate and amperage across two positions.
There are also three buttons: Select (to switch between continuity and diode check), Max (high value), and Hold to freeze the screen. Note: The leads on this device are not used to test amperage.
Etekcity brand okay meters, albeit they tend to be Chinese made and towards the lower end. The build is quite tough, however, but it is best to not use the MSR-C600 within a harsh environment.
Display: This is not a super-accurate device, so you have a display that is quite low on resolution – measuring to 2000 counts. Refresh rate of the display is around three times per second. It is not backlit.
Function and Performance
Continuity checks are quite slow as is auto ranging in general. The diode tester only puts out a nominal 1.5V. While okay for most diodes, when it comes to LEDs (light emitting diodes), not all colors can be illuminated at this voltage. Probe ends are nice and sharp and have okay sensitivity
Despite the low price, the Etekcity MSR-C600 comes with an auto power-off feature. The meter powers down automatically after around 15 minutes, saving the AAA batteries. Normal battery life is about 150 hours.
Safety: Category rating is 600V CAT-II and 300V CAT-III. You can thus use it to measure mains voltage directly at the socket outlet and circuit breakers. This meter is not fused.
Pros and Cons
- Amp clamp + multimeter
- Measures AC current safely
- Also measures voltage, resistance & cont
- Good accuracy
- Excellent value
- Well reviewed
- Cannot measure DC current
- Display not backlit
- Build not super-strong
The review of the OEM’d Etekcity MSR-C600 has an excellent startup amp clamp/multimeter for hobbyists looking to tinker with house electrics and for those just starting out. While not adept in industry, it also makes for a useful backup meter and ships with decent leads and storage case.
Alternative: Uni-T have good options, such as the similarly priced UNI-T UT203, which also measures DC current. If you want to hedge for quality, take a look at the Fluke 323.