Multifunction DC panel meters display voltage, current and power

12th July 2018
Anna Flockett

Murata introduces the new DCM20 series of multifunction panel meters from Murata Power Solutions. For DC systems, these meters measure DC voltage and current, calculate power up to 96kW, and display values either manually selected or continuously cycling. The miniature panel-mount product provides an input voltage range of 0.5-72VDC, with 10mV of resolution. The metre also supports current measurement ranges from 5-1200A when used with an external user-supplied resistive shunt. 

Targeted for use in 12, 24 or 48V systems, out-of-the-box accuracy of the product is ±1 % for voltage and ±2 % for current.

Packaged in a rugged, one-piece polycarbonate housing, with dimensions of 2.1x1.43” or 53.3x36.3mm, the DCM20 fits in ‘0U’ and ‘1U’ racks making it suitable for laboratory instrumentation as well as industrial and telecom equipment. Threaded mounting studs and caged terminal blocks for application wiring ensure reliable operation in harsh environments.

Applications for the product include, but are not limited to, real-time monitoring and display of DC power in telecom power distribution systems, battery management/backup systems, laboratory instrumentation and alternative energy and marine installations.

The DCM20 features a large (0.36”/9.2mm) bright red display easily readable at 15ft (5m), with green or blue displays as an option. A front-panel capacitive touch sensor is incorporated for selection of operating mode, avoiding wear-out issues possible with membrane of other mechanical switches. Using the touch sensor control, the user may configure the unit to display voltage, current or power, or set the unit to continually cycle between the three measurements. 

The unit can be self-powered from the measured voltage or powered separately from an external power supply, which can range from 9-72VDC. When self-powered, the input voltage range that can be measured is 9 to 72VDC and when externally powered the lowest measureable input voltage extends down to 0.5V. Current consumption of the DCM20 is generally negligible compared with measured current being typically 6mA at 12V and only 2mA at 72V input.

A DIP switch on the DPM20 allows selection of 16 different full scale current readings from 5-1200A providing compatibility with a wide range of external shunt resistors, available both from Murata and other manufacturers. A fine adjustment potentiometer is also provided to calibrate the unit to compensate for shunt resistor tolerance for improved system measurement accuracy. The external shunt resistor may be placed in either the ‘high’ or the ‘low’ side of the power system, as the DCM20 has a common-mode voltage range of 72V. A jumper is available to set where voltage is actually measured, either remotely or at the shunt resistor. In this way, high or low side current sensing is practical and power measurement can exclude losses in wiring and the shunt resistor itself.

“Our new DCM20 DC panel meter packs a mighty punch with its combination of high performance and economical cost in a miniature size with the benefits of Murata innovation and quality,” said Bill Smith, Director – Product Line Management, Murata Power Solutions.

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