Choosing the right instrument when measuring AC and DC electric parameters is most important to ensure you are satisfied with the measured results. Once you know what needs to be measured at what accuracy for which development stage, you will be in a better position to make an educated choice of the measurement technology.
In this article, we talk about the differences between a power meter and a power analyzer.
To make the right choice you may ask these questions to identify which instrument will serve your power measurement needs most. Those questions are:
- Which parameters should be measured?
AC and DC electrical parameters only or other physical phenomena as well?
- Which level of accuracy is required?
- What is the operating frequency they need to be measured at?
- Is there one instrument that will meet all my measurement needs?
To understand which instrument will be most suitable let us have a look at two typical scenarios:
Scenario 1: You are the head of a production line of electric devices. During the production process, you are checking parameters like Voltage, Currents and Power to make sure the produced parts are okay. Or you want to do some brief troubleshooting. No deeper analysis is required, just a quick check because at the end of the production line every product will undergo a detailed test. So you are looking for a quick and cost-effective power measurement solution. In this case, a power meter is fully appropriate to do this job.
Scenario 2: You are a test engineer who is testing electric drive trains of cars, trucks or other vehicles. You do not only want to measure, but you also want to store raw data to analyse them further. As well you want to get some real-time analysis to be able to increase the efficiency of the drive train. Such a high-end measuring task requires the usage of a power analyzer.
A Power Meter is the most useful and simple instrument to measure electrical power when no deeper analysis of the measured data is required. It measures the voltage (V) and current (A) and computes the most important power results. Power meters are perfect for technicians and engineers performing stand-by power measurements for example. A power meter is easy to use, accurate and is the preferred instrument for cost-effective power measurement solutions for a wide range of applications, such as Production line testing of electric devices, evaluation of large current equipment, Battery or DC driven device evaluation, quality assurance, duration testing, efficiency measurement for industrial motors, rotating machinery and calibration labs, for installation and maintenance tasks and partly for R&D. It is also used to measure GRID power.
A Power Analyzer is used to measure the flow of power (w) in an electrical system. Innovative power analyzers provide more than just power measurements. They are often required to measure various values of mechanical energy such as torque and speed, which are critical factors for test bench and R&D applications. This provides reliable data for comprehensive investigations into the performance and efficiency of electromechanical systems. Some of the extra calculations and analytical methods performed using advanced power analyzers include efficiency mapping, Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) and harmonic analysis, fundamental power , polar diagrams and symmetrical components, space vectors and dq-currents.