AC Current Monitoring – Industrial IoT Solutions and Benefits

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Today’s IoT (Internet of Things) supreme integrated technology offers unprecedented capabilities for real-time monitoring, data analytics, and predictive maintenance which revolutionizes traditional industrial practices. Among the myriad of IoT solutions, 3-Channel Wireless AC Current Sensors stand out as an innovation in industrial monitoring and automation. These sensors enable precise and remote monitoring of AC currents, offering unparalleled insights into machinery performance and electrical behavior.

The aim of this article is to delve into the potential impact and applications of 3-Channel Wireless AC Current Sensors in industrial settings. By exploring their capabilities and real-world use cases, we aim to highlight the transformative role this innovative technology plays in optimizing industrial operations and driving efficiency gains.

Understanding 3-Channel Wireless AC Current Monitoring Technology

This article aims to build a foundation of technical knowledge about NCD’s 3-Channel Wireless AC Current Sensor, providing a comprehensive understanding of its underlying principles, key features, and operational capabilities. Below is an overview of how our current monitor works. 

Technology Overview

At the core of 3-Channel Wireless AC Current Sensors lies a system designed to accurately measure and transmit AC currents wirelessly, for example for the purpose of monitoring 3-Phase Motors in industrial machinery. This technology leverages advanced sensing mechanisms and wireless communication protocols to deliver real-time insights into electrical currents within industrial environments, a combination of features that is a must for a true IIoT ready device.

Key Features

The 3-channel sensor combines the following capabilities in order to provide a well-balanced functionality that is suitable for a wide-range of use-cases.

  • Three-Channel Monitoring: The sensor is designed to accommodate three split-core current sensors (clamps), each dedicated to monitoring a phase of the three-phase electrical system. These current sensors are capable of accurately measuring AC currents ranging from 0 to 100A RMS, providing precise data for each phase.
  • Industrial-Grade Wireless Connectivity: One of the standout features of this technology is its robust industrial-grade wireless connectivity. Employing reliable communication protocols, based on DigiMesh®, the sensor ensures seamless data transmission over extended ranges, even in challenging industrial environments characterized by interference and obstacles. As it utilizes a Meshed network topology it is very reliable and QoS is guaranteed (no downtime due to the self-healing nature of the network and its lack of a single point of failure).In addition to the reliability it also provides a high grade of security as it is configured to utilize AES128bit encryption, out of the box (customizable to 256bit).
  • Auto Time Delay Data Sampling: The sensor incorporates an intelligent auto time delay data sampling mechanism, optimizing data acquisition efficiency while minimizing power consumption. This feature allows for precise and timely monitoring of AC currents at user-defined intervals, ensuring comprehensive coverage of critical operational parameters.
  • Change Detection Capabilities: Equipped with change detection capabilities, the sensor can identify fluctuations in current levels beyond predefined thresholds. This proactive approach to monitoring enables early detection of abnormalities or anomalies in machinery behavior, facilitating prompt intervention and preventive maintenance actions.

By precisely capturing current fluctuations within this range, the sensor provides valuable insights into equipment performance, energy consumption patterns, and overall operational efficiency.

Applications in Industrial Settings: Current Monitoring with Three-Phase Electricity

In industrial environments where 3-phase electricity is prevalent (especially in settings dominated by rotational machinery), the 3-Channel Wireless AC Current Sensor emerges as an indispensable tool for comprehensive monitoring and analysis. With each channel dedicated to monitoring a phase of the three-phase electrical system, this sensor offers unparalleled insights into potential current fluctuations, phase shifts, etc. Let’s explore the benefits, use cases, and significance of this capability in industrial applications.

Current Monitoring

Benefits of Three-Phase Electricity Monitoring with NCD's Current Sensor

  • Complete Coverage: By dedicating a channel to each phase of the three-phase electrical system, the sensor provides comprehensive coverage of the entire power distribution network. This ensures that no phase goes unmonitored, allowing for precise detection of abnormalities or fluctuations in current levels.
  • Accuracy and Precision: With individual channels dedicated to each phase, the sensor delivers accurate and precise measurements of current draw on each phase. This enables businesses to identify phase imbalances, harmonic distortions, and other power quality issues that may impact equipment performance and efficiency. An issue might not be distinguishable if a single phase is monitored, however if there are discrepancies between one or more phases, this could indicate an issue.
  • Real-Time Analysis: The ability to monitor three-phase electricity in real-time allows businesses to promptly identify and address potential issues before they escalate. Whether it’s detecting phase unbalance, voltage fluctuations, or excessive current draw, real-time analysis facilitates proactive maintenance and intervention, minimizing downtime and optimizing operational efficiency.

Use Cases for Three-Phase Electricity and Current Monitoring

  • Motor Control and Protection: In industrial settings, three-phase motors are ubiquitous, powering essential machinery and equipment. Monitoring the current draw on each phase of these motors enables businesses to ensure proper motor operation, detect motor faults or imbalances, and implement protective measures to prevent motor damage or failure. This is especially useful when used in conjunction with one of the NCD Vibration Monitoring Sensors as a correlative analysis can be performed (usually increased power draw and vibrations go hand in hand).
  • Power Distribution Monitoring: Three-phase electricity is commonly used for power distribution in industrial facilities. By monitoring each phase individually, businesses can assess the health of their power distribution network, identify phase imbalances or overloads, and optimize power distribution for maximum efficiency and reliability. This approach allows for prevention of machine faults at a fundamental level, which in some cases is advantageous to direct machine monitoring.
  • Energy Management and Efficiency: Understanding the consumption patterns of three-phase electrical loads is essential for effective energy management. With the ability to monitor each phase separately, businesses can identify energy-intensive processes, optimize load distribution, and implement energy-saving measures to reduce overall energy consumption and costs.

Significance in Industrial Applications

In industrial environments where reliability, efficiency, and safety are paramount, the ability to monitor three-phase electricity with precision and accuracy is of utmost importance. The 3-Channel Wireless AC Current Sensor offers a unique solution tailored to the specific needs of three-phase power systems, providing businesses with the tools they need to ensure optimal performance, minimize downtime, and maximize productivity.

By harnessing the power of three-phase electricity monitoring, businesses can gain valuable insights into their power distribution network, optimize equipment performance, and implement proactive maintenance strategies to mitigate risks and enhance operational efficiency. In conclusion, the 3-Channel Wireless AC Current Sensor serves as a cornerstone technology in industrial applications, empowering businesses to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive landscape.

How Does it Work?

The 3-Channel Wireless AC Current Sensor is a very capable device that operates effectively in most 3-phase monitoring scenarios by utilizing its key features and capabilities mentioned previously: Three-Channel Monitoring, Wireless Connectivity, Auto Time Delay Data Sampling, and Change Detection Capabilities. (make those clickable and when clicked, the article scrolls back above)

In the scenario of monitoring three-phase electricity, the sensor operates by installing the split-core current sensors around the conductors of each phase. These sensors measure the AC currents flowing through the conductors. The main unit (box) processes the readings from each channel, detecting changes or abnormalities in current levels across the three phases.

Through its wireless connectivity, the sensor communicates the collected data to a central monitoring system (via a modem or a gateway), where it can be analyzed in real-time. This allows businesses to monitor the health of their 3-phase electrical system, identify potential issues such as phase imbalances or overloads, and take proactive measures to ensure optimal performance and reliability.

Overall, the 3-Channel Wireless AC Current Sensor provides a comprehensive solution for monitoring three-phase electricity in industrial settings, offering accuracy, reliability, and flexibility to meet the diverse needs of modern industrial applications.

Deployment, Integration, and Data Utilization with a Current Sensor

Deployment Considerations and Best Practices

Deploying the 3-Channel Wireless AC Current Sensor in industrial environments requires careful planning and execution to ensure optimal performance and reliability. In this section, we’ll discuss key considerations and best practices for successful deployment of the sensor, covering aspects such as placement, configuration, and maintenance.

Optimal Deployment Recommendations

  • Strategic Placement: The placement of the sensor is crucial for accurate monitoring of three-phase electricity. Ideally, the sensor should be installed at a central location within the industrial facility, close to the main electrical panel or distribution board where the three-phase power lines converge.
    • Each split-core current sensor included with the 3-Channel Wireless AC Current Sensor would be positioned around the conductors of each phase within the electrical panel. This placement ensures direct measurement of the current flowing through each phase, providing comprehensive monitoring coverage.
    • Additionally, consideration should be given to factors such as accessibility for maintenance, proximity to wireless communication infrastructure, and environmental conditions to ensure optimal sensor performance and longevity. Take note that it is often the case that the main box is better positioned away from the measurement point (thus the long wire of the split-core sensors) as this reduces interference and signal blockage due to metal part of the equipment under measurement.
  • Environmental Factors: Consider environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and electromagnetic interference when selecting deployment locations for the sensor. Choose mounting locations that offer adequate protection from harsh environmental conditions and minimize exposure to potential sources of interference, such as heavy machinery or electromagnetic fields. The sensor is IP65 rated, so it is designed for harsh environments, however it is not indestructible, so do not abuse it.
  • Wireless Connectivity: Ensure sufficient wireless coverage and signal strength for reliable data transmission between the sensor and the modem/gateway. Avoid obstructions and signal dead zones that may affect connectivity and utilize a repeater if range is insufficient.

Configuration and Calibration Guidance

  • Current Sensor Calibration: Follow NCD’s guidelines for calibrating the current sensors to ensure accurate measurement of AC currents. Utilize the sensor’s wireless configuration capabilities to calibrate current sensor settings remotely, minimizing downtime and simplifying calibration procedures. Read the Product Manual for more details.
  • Change Detection Features: Enable or disable change detection features based on specific monitoring requirements and operational preferences. Adjust detection thresholds and parameters as needed to tailor the sensor’s behavior to the unique characteristics of the industrial environment and equipment being monitored.

Tips for Maximizing Battery Life and Ensuring Reliable Data Transmission

  • Battery Management: Optimize battery life by configuring the sensor’s power-saving features, such as sleep modes and transmission intervals, to minimize power consumption while ensuring timely data acquisition and transmission. Adjust sleep duration and transmission frequency based on operational needs and desired battery life expectations. Make sure you have good network coverage and reduce output RF power, if possible, to reduce battery drain.
  • Regular Maintenance: Perform regular maintenance checks and inspections to ensure the sensor unit and current sensors are functioning properly. Inspect for signs of wear or damage, and replace batteries or components as needed to maintain optimal performance and reliability over time.

Data Gathering and Utilization

Data Processing and Analysis

Once the sensor is installed and operational, the gathered data needs to be processed and analyzed to extract actionable insights. This involves configuring the sensor to transmit data at regular intervals or in response to predefined triggers such as changes in current levels or abnormal behaviors.

The transmitted data is received by a central monitoring system or gateway, where it is processed, stored, and analyzed in real-time. Utilizing software tools and algorithms, the data can be analyzed for trends, anomalies, and patterns indicative of potential issues or opportunities for optimization.

This sensor as well as the rest of the NCD Industrial IoT device line is platform agnostic and can be utilized with any 3rd party application capable to process the data. We offer a full set of API (refer to the product manual). A popular IIoT data processing tool is Node-RED which comes pre-installed on NCD Edge Gateways and is ideal for parsing and forwarding the data to an analytics platform. Take a look at our tutorials, pre-configured flows and libraries for more information at the link.

Utilization of Gathered Data

The gathered data serves multiple purposes in an industrial setting, including:

  • Predictive Maintenance: By analyzing historical data and identifying trends, businesses can implement predictive maintenance strategies to anticipate equipment failures and schedule maintenance activities proactively. This helps minimize downtime, reduce repair costs, and extend the lifespan of critical assets.
  • Energy Management: Monitoring current consumption across three-phase power lines enables businesses to identify energy-intensive processes, optimize load distribution, and implement energy-saving measures. This leads to reduced energy costs, improved efficiency, and sustainability.
  • Performance Optimization: Analyzing current data helps identify inefficiencies or abnormalities in machinery operation, allowing for optimization of equipment performance and process efficiency. This can lead to increased productivity, improved product quality, and enhanced overall operational effectiveness.

Integrating the 3-Channel Wireless AC Current Sensor into an industrial monitoring system involves strategic placement, effective data processing, and utilization of gathered data for predictive maintenance, energy management, and performance optimization. By leveraging the capabilities of the sensor and the insights derived from gathered data, businesses can enhance operational efficiency, reduce costs, and gain a competitive edge in today’s dynamic industrial landscape.


In conclusion, the exploration of the 3-channel wireless AC current sensing technology has illuminated its significance and transformative potential in industrial IoT applications. Throughout this article, we’ve delved into various aspects of this innovative solution, highlighting its key features, applications, integration capabilities, deployment considerations, and real-world success stories.

Recap of Key Points

  • The 3-channel wireless AC current sensing technology offers industrial-grade wireless connectivity, auto time delay data sampling, and change detection capabilities, making it a powerful tool for real-time monitoring and analysis of electrical currents in industrial environments.
  • Its compatibility with various IoT platforms and development environments, along with example software for integration, ensures seamless deployment and integration into existing industrial automation systems.
  • Strategic deployment considerations, configuration guidance, and best practices are essential for maximizing the benefits of this technology, including optimizing battery life, ensuring reliable data transmission, and achieving accurate current monitoring.

Emphasis on Transformative Potential

The 3-channel wireless AC current sensing technology represents a significant advancement in industrial IoT, offering unparalleled capabilities for monitoring, analysis, and optimization of electrical systems. Its ability to provide real-time insights into three-phase electricity consumption, coupled with its compatibility and ease of integration, positions it as a game-changer in industrial monitoring and automation.

A Call to Action for the Industry of Current Monitoring

As industrial professionals strive to stay ahead in today’s dynamic landscape, exploring and adopting innovative solutions like the 3-channel wireless AC current sensing technology is paramount. By embracing this technology, businesses can unlock new opportunities for operational excellence, efficiency gains, and competitive advantage. We encourage industrial professionals to explore the possibilities of this innovative solution and experience firsthand the transformative impact it can have on their operations.