Jeff Jones of The Technical Department reviews the Metrel MI3152 Eurotest XC multifunction tester and A1532 EVSE adaptor.
Due to the fact that my (then) MFT was around 10 years old, I was happy to take up the chance to trial the latest Metrel MI3152 Eurotest XC MFT, which I’d been hearing great things about. Furthermore, having recently qualified on my EV course with a couple of EV installs lined up, I was keen to give the A1532 EVSE adaptor a run-out at the same time.
The experience of using the MI3152 Eurotest XC MFT is the same as comparing a 10-year-old mobile phone with the latest smart phone technology today – the differences are huge and there is no fair comparison really. That said, I’ve been pretty blown away by how good this tester actually is. Metrel clearly has a good pedigree in manufacturing test instrument, and an awful lot of research and development has certainly gone into this product.
The first thing that stands out when you get to grips with the tester is the touch screen. I’m surprised more manufacturers haven’t jumped onboard with the touch screen concept, as it works really well when selecting various test functions, and quickly became my preferred method of input. There is, of course, also the option to use the normal buttons if touch screen still isn’t your thing.
The tester is easily linked to the aMESM mobile app and the Metrel ES Manager PC software, which all worked seamlessly. The Bluetooth connection works well as does the hard-wired PC connection. In the past I’ve used other manufacturers sync software and quite frankly it has never delivered, resulting in me manually imputing the data because it is quicker to do so. This defeats the object in the first place.
This Metrel software is different in that it is extremely customisable, which at first can be a bit daunting. It uses database terminology, which I was not initially familiar with, however once you read the manual it all very quickly becomes second nature. Because you can adapt the testing process to your exact needs, this sets it apart from any other software that I’ve used before.
My preferred method was to work from my laptop, setting up the software to record the tests how I’d like them, then download it to the tester. Alternatively, you can do the same from the mobile App or even do it in the tester itself. It also allows you to download test data straight into and create an 18th Edition certificate, alleviating the need for any third-party software. A real time saver!
At our company, the Technical Department, we work to two electrical standards (BS7671 and BS7909 Temporary Power Systems) and we also perform routine testing on temporary distro. The testing process for all three is quite different. This software and App allowed me to customise my testing process for all the different testing applications, which I found incredibly impressive.
The tester package I received also included the A1532 EVSE adaptor. After a couple of EV installations you realise that some EV sockets that you fit only become live when it detects that a car is attached. This can be problematic when performing dead and live tests on the socket end of line. What this EVSE adaptor does is trick the socket into thinking the car is attached so that you can perform all the dead and live tests. It’s a must-have item if you’re going to be installing Type 2 EV socket outlets.
Another really impressive item in my test package were two current clamps – the A1018 Low Range Leakage clamp and A1019 standard current clamp. These clamps allow you to measure current directly into the MI3152 Eurotest XC MFT itself in low range and standard range, but when the two clamps are paired up you can also measure the resistance of an earth conductor. For instance, when connected to an earth rod or plate and performing a Ze test. A really great feature!
Recently I was working on installing a permanent supply with a TT earthing arrangement. We had to accurately measure the impedance to the earth electrodes. By placing both the A1018 and A1019 current clamps together on the earth conductor leading to the electrode you can accurately measure the impedance. I can see this feature being very useful when installing a new EV socket and having to add an earth rod to a PME earthing system.
The Technical Department also performs a lot of work with temporary generators, so using the combined clamps will be useful when installing a suitable earth rod. Because both current clamps connect directly to the tester, I no longer need my separate current clamp meter, which means less gear to carry.
You can also use the current clamp and standard probes to perform power quality analysis on the network, such as harmonic distortion, which is a useful function nowadays if you’re experiencing problems on the network and have ruled everything else out.
Other features that I like about the product are the task light that comes on at the end of the probe – particuarly handy when you’re trying to hit that terminal in poor light and making proper contact. I also like that when the test you’re performing only needs two probes and one probe is redundant, the redundant probe doubles up and slots into the back of the probe you’re using. On previous testers it’s been a pain try to hold two probes on the same terminal for certain tests, wishing you had a third hand.
The auto RCD test function is also great, automatically measuring both sides of the trip curve plus and minus. When we’re testing multiple RCDs on big distro panels this is a huge time saver, but when you add the fact it logs and records the measurements directly into your phone App, tablet or laptop it is quite simply brilliant!
The tester and EVSE adaptor come in a nice padded bag with lots of room for all the necessary probes. There is even a strategically placed zip so you can plug in the probes and use the tester without it having to leave the carry case. This adds a nice bit of extra extra protection when out in the field. Also, with an add on lux meter you can measure and record directly into the tester which is handy when measuring lux levels in an emergency lighting system.
The only thing that let the tester down a little bit is its battery life, but with the lovely bright clear touch screen and the Bluetooth connection you can get a good day’s testing done – just remember to charge up before the next day. The batteries are rechargeable in the tester, so like your mobile phone and recharge it each evening, it will be read to go the next day. .
I cannot recommend the MI3152 Eurotest XC MFT and A1532 EVSE adaptor enough. This combined package is a must-have for anyone considering moving into installing EV charging points. Plus, all the other amazing features that Metrel has added to the tester means that the MI3152is the only test instrument I need to carry when I’m out testing.
For more information about the MI3152 Eurotest XC MFT and A1532 EVSE adaptor, go to: https://www.metrel.co.uk/uk/?