Using Electrical Testers

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated August 4, 2010)

Typically speaking there are five common types of electrical testers that are used around the home. Without knowing how to properly use an electrical tester though, not only won't you get the results that you are looking for, you could also possibly have an accident. Using electrical testers isn't that hard or difficult as long as you follow a few simple guidelines. Here are some general guidelines that you can use to help ensure that you are using your tools in the proper manner. Just remember that before you use any type of electrical tool, you should always make yourself familiar with the owner's manual.

  • Receptacle analyzer. A receptacle analyzer is a device that you use to tell whether a receptacle is safe or not. Basically what you do is plug the device in like you would normally to an electrical outlet, and look for some lights to begin glowing. If the outlet is working then between one and three lights will glow. Each of these lights will indicate whether or not the outlet is working, grounded, and polarized.
  • Voltage tester. Simply put, a voltage tester will indicate whether or not there is any power in the lines you are testing. Before you begin randomly testing any lines, make sure that the tester is working properly. Do this by "testing" a line that you know to have power going through it first. If the light doesn't come on when testing an active line, then the tester doesn't work; if it does, then feel free to use it on other lines.
  • Voltage detector. This device is actually pretty cool to use since you don't need to touch the probe to a bare wire or terminal. Rather you can hold it near t an insulated wire, press the button, and see if there is any power running through the line. If there is, then the light will come on.
  • Continuity tester. A continuity tester will tell you whether a device is defective, rather than the lines in your home. Attach the clips from the tester to ne terminal of a device, and the probe to the other terminal. If the device switch works the way that it should, then the light on the tester will glow. If you are testing the wiring of a device, simply touch both ends of the wire; no problems with the wire will be indicated by the light glowing.
  • Multitester. Multitesters are more complicated to use, since they are able to do most all of the actions that each of these other testers can. Usually all you need to do is apply the probes to a wire, terminal, or electrical outlet and you should get a reading. Take a look at the guide book that comes with many multitesters to see what the results will mean.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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