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The Swain Meter Co. A brief history of Swain and Operational Procedures. By Scott Miret 10/7/08. William H. Swain founded the company in 1965.

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the swain meter co

The Swain Meter Co.

A brief history of Swain

and

Operational Procedures

By

Scott Miret 10/7/08

william h swain founded the company in 1965
William H. Swain founded the company in 1965
  • Bill Swain founded the William H. Swain Co. in Sarasota Florida back in 1965. Previous to this Bill was employed in various roles with the US military and NASA – working on guidance systems for rocket and advanced marine navigation tech for that time period.

Bill Pictured second from left

development of the swain meter
Development of the SWAIN METER

Pictured below are some of Swain’s first analog ammeters.

In 1965 Bill Swain developed the first DC Clamp-on Ammeters. These durable and accurate instruments were created to help pipe line operators monitor cathodic protection (CP) current flow on their lines.

Used in a wide variety of industries all over the world, Swain meters measure the magnitude and direction of current on conductors.

From the beginning Swain meters

were used not only as portable DC and AC current measuring devices, but as permanently installed instruments on buried pipelines both on-shore and in sub-sea applications.

The uniqueness of the Swain Meter is the same today as it was 43 years ago when Bill built his first meter. This DC Clamp –on ammeter is Still the only one of its kind in the world today.

the next 40 years
The next 40 years
  • In the mid 1980’s Swain meters were fitted with digital LCDs. The technology remains basically the same while the meter face becomes more streamlined and user-friendly.
swain meter evolves
Swain Meter evolves

Later models of Swain meters in the 90’s and 2000’s still use the bullet-proof and patented technology. These later models have digital LCD’s and further simplified controls.

Swain meters are manufactured in 2 models – The MER Meter (pictured left) has a “manual” Zeroing knob and Range select switch.

swain meter evolves7
Swain Meter evolves

The second meter we call the “AUTO MER”. This features Auto- Zeroing and Automatic

Ranging from 0 – 2.0 Amps, 0 – 20 Amps &

0 – 200 Amp ranges.

Both MER and AUTO MER

Meters have data output

Jacks.

slide8

The technology that drives the Swain Meter has changed little in over 40 years. Yet the switch from Analog to Digital technology has greatly increased the efficiency of the manufacturing and calibration processes.

Old School

New School

swain clips clamps
Swain Clips & Clamps
  • Swain Clips & Clamps are precise and sensitive instruments that form a 360` closed loop around a conductor.
  • Swain Clips and Clamps are also referred to in literature as “Sensors” connect to the MER meter.
  • Swain Sensors are rugged, hand crafted instruments that work in harsh environments
clips clamps come in many sizes
Clips & Clamps come in many sizes

Clips are hand held, spring loaded sensors for quick readings on conductors.

Clips are built from 3/4” in diameter through 6” in diameter.

Clips shown to the right are sizes: Mini-Clip (no longer built), 3/4”, 1.5”, 2.5”, 4” &

6”.

swain clips clamps11
Swain Clips & Clamps

Clamps are sensors made in 2-half circles that go around

Conductors then held together with Nuts to form a circle.

Clamps are built in diameters beginning at 6” through 82”.

Clamp diameters from 60”on up are built in 4 sections.

larger clamps
Larger Clamps

Clamp Construction

42” Clamp

slide13
Larger diameter clamps must be manufactured in 4 pieces. This clamp is being assembled for a field test prior to shipping.

82” MER 2 Clamp

Clamp is constructed in 4 Sections

our largest to date 82
Our largest to date – 82”

This 82” Clamp was sold to Water Care Services in Auckland New Zealand in Summer 07’

Clamps of this size usually require their own AUTO MER meter

80 clamp sold to san diego county water authority
80” Clamp sold to San Diego County Water Authority

Long time Swain enthusiast Brendan Sheehan

slide17
Brian Horanoff, President of The Swain Meter Co. & wife Deb showing off trophy Salmon taken in Lake Michigan.
what is a swain meter
What IS a Swain Meter?
  • Precision built and calibrated instrument, coupled with clips or clamps, used to measure magnitude and direction of current flow.
  • Swain meters are used today in most all countries on the planet.
mer meter with 4 clip
MER Meter with 4” clip

The MER meter allows the operator to manually adjust the zero and range switch. The AUTO MER does this for the operator

uses corrosion control
USESCorrosion Control
  • CP system circuit diagnostics
  • Locate shorts
  • Find foreign line interference
  • Rectifier output
  • Anode cables
  • Telluric Current Studies
slide21
USES

POWER GENERATION

  • Battery float charge and load current
  • Grounding system current drain
  • Tower leg interference
  • Guy wire current drain
  • Data-logger studies
slide22
USES

MARINE

  • Dock/Platform anode current
  • Current leakage from propeller
  • Undersea pipelines/anode cables
  • ROV capable
  • Oil rig platform testing
  • Ship anchor current leakage
slide23
USES

AUTOMOTIVE

  • Current leakage in electrical systems
  • Alternator and battery diagnostics
  • Production plant assembly
slide24
USES

Energy Transmission

  • Flange leakage
  • Direct burial for long-term monitoring
  • Interference testing
  • Used during direct assessment of pipe
other uses
Other Uses
  • Copper Electro-winding
  • Nitric Acid drilling
  • INS troubleshooting
  • Dairy farm stray current
  • DC transit stray current
  • “Well Head” current measurements
  • Defense industry
  • Defense Contractors
slide26

Refineries use Swain meters to precisely measure current distribution and to see if insulating flanges are working. Individual cables in rectifiers are measured with accuracy as are banks of pipes and cables in close proximity

using the mer meter
Using the MER Meter

The Swain meter is a precise instrument that measures DC current from 5-milliamps to 200 Amps with a + /- 1% accuracy.

The meter measures with a

1-milliAmp resolution in the 0 – 2 Amp Range

10-milliAmp resolution in the 0-20Amp Range

100-milliAmp resolution in the 0 – 200 Amp Range

The meter will cancel out up to a

10-Amp AC interference - this designed to maintain accuracy with DC measurements

using the mer meter29
Using the MER Meter

Connect the Clip or Clamp to the Swain Meter

Turn the On/Off Switch to the “ON” position

Turn Range Select to 2A

Hold the Clip or Clamp 6 inches away from the conductor, oriented so the plane of the clip/clamp intersects the conductor at a right angle

Hold the Clip/Clamp still

Adjust Zero knob until LCD reads Zero

*(You have successfully canceled the earth field reading)

Place clip/clamp on conductor and observe reading

If current exceeds 2-Amps and “Over Range” message appears on LCD – Turn Range knob to 20A or the 200A position

using the mer meter30
Using the MER Meter

Current direction is indicated by either the presence or the absence of a “Negative”

Sign the left of the numbers on the LCD

The current direction Arrow is etched onto the sides of all clips and clamps.

Take a reading with the clip/clamp in one direction then flip-it 180` and notice the appearance of the Negative sign.

*Current direction is always flowing in the positive clip/clamp orientation

using the auto mer
Using the AUTO MER

The Swain meter is a precise instrument that measures DC current from 5-milliamps to 200 Amps with a + /- 1% accuracy.

The meter measures with a

1-milliAmp resolution in the 0 – 2 Amp Range

10-milliAmp resolution in the 0-20Amp Range

100-milliAmp resolution in the 0 – 200 Amp Range

The meter will cancel out up to a

10-Amp AC interference - this designed to maintain accuracy with DC measurements

using the automer
Using the AutoMER

Connect the Clip or Clamp to the Swain AutoMER meter

Hold the Clip or Clamp 6 inches away from the conductor, oriented so the plane of the clip/clamp intersects the conductor at a right angle

Hold the Clip/Clamp still

Turn the On/Off Switch to the “AUTO” position. Wait several seconds until the “Ready” light comes on

*(You have successfully canceled the earth field reading)

Place clip/clamp on conductor and observe reading

If current exceeds 2-Amps the AutoMer meter automatically changes ranges to the 20A range or 200A range

using the automer in manual mode
Using the AutoMERin Manual Mode

Turn On/Off Switch to “Manual” Mode

Hold clip/clamp steady near conductor

Zero meter using the “Zero” knob

Place clip/clamp onto conductor and take reading

*To manually change ranges, turn On/Off

Switch from “Manual” to “Off” for a split second. Note the LCD decimal point shifts one position to the right . Repeat to change ranges again.

Example of LCD positions:

.000 = 2A Range

0.00 = 20A Range

00.0 = 200A Range

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