Multifunction meters provide digital displays of electrical parameters. A wide range of meters is available from many manufacturers. Multifunction meters have been used since the early 1980's. Their use has increased over time because of the advantages offered by multifunction meters compared with traditional analogue meters. The application for multifunction meters covers a wide range, from low voltage switchboards to HV substations.
Advantages can include:
In the selection of the meter, care should be exercised to identify both the functions and electrical parameters necessary for the particular application. For example, the application may require the total harmonic distortion (THD) and the harmonic voltages/currents to a certain order e.g. to the 25th harmonic.
The configuration of the meter will be done by the user and the method will vary according to the manufacturer. Some meters are configured from the front face of the meter, using a keypad. Others are configured using software provided by the manufacturer. If the meter is connected to a data network, there will be additional configuration to get the meter working as part of the network and the testing to prove the data interface.
An important factor to consider is the location of the meter. It is difficult to place the meters in an outdoor location without additional protection. This is because of the IP rating of the meter whether or not the meter can be easily read in sunlight. An ideal location would be inside an air conditioned switch-room.
Other features to be checked before selecting a meter include: