There are plenty of ways to connect to a wire and measure what is going through it that involve breaking the insulation around the wire (such as positap connectors).

It is my understanding that a wire with current flowing through it creates a magnetic field around the wire. Could this effect be used to measure the amount of current flowing through a wire without breaking them? If so, can it be done with a small enough component to make it comparable to positap connectors?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it can be done. It's not as accurate. \$\endgroup\$ – immibis Nov 23 '17 at 23:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, you can measure the amount of current using a clamp meter, usually the currents need to be relatively high, its mostly used in industrial applications where you need to measure high currents without breaking the cable. \$\endgroup\$ – S.s. Nov 23 '17 at 23:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hall-effect sensors are pretty common, there are probes for oscilloscopes and for DMMs. The clamp is less than 10mm long in many cases. \$\endgroup\$ – Ale..chenski Nov 23 '17 at 23:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ i.e. How does a current clamp work? electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/341156/… \$\endgroup\$ – Sunnyskyguy EE75 Nov 23 '17 at 23:24

Current clamps are a mature product category. They are best suited to measuring AC or transient signals.

  • \$\begingroup\$ And there are instrumentation DC current clamps that measure down to microamps DC. Generally used for non invasive testing on current loops. \$\endgroup\$ – R Drast Nov 27 '17 at 8:56

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