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#4303 - 09/16/01 12:32 PM Branch circuit testing
amp-man Offline
Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 144
Loc: Sacto, California US of A
Hi y'all,

Electure's thread on neutral fault testing got me to wondering--anyone else out there use the "Sure Test" branch circuit tester?

The unit looks like a plug-in polarity tester on steroids. It checks polarity, also line voltage, Vdrop at 15 and 20 amps (one model), load-on-line, egc impedance at 15 amps, and GFI time-to-trip at 6 mA.

It was first made by Commercial Industrial Electronics, and now by Ideal Industries. About $350.

I've been using one for a few years and have found it invaluable, especially for old work. Knowing what the Vdrop under load is makes me much more comfortable adding to an existing circuit--I have a good idea of the condition of the circuit back to the panel. The load is imposed for only 8 cycles, so it creates no hazard even if the circuit is in poor condition. A big drop between outlets clues me in to a bad splice or termination.

The egc impedance test picks up bootletg grounds (well, you do get a false positive if the recep is right next ot the panel). And I think it would also show a egc to neutral short.

Load-on-line feature can indicate whether there are shared neutrals--without opening a box. GFI test is a true check of GFI function, not the gross test that the GFI test button or simple GFI outlet tester provides.

There's another tester that does some of the same things, but it doesn't have an LCD readout. And yea, I know it's possible to do most of these tests with a multimeter and other equipment (for instance a large resistance load like a space heater), but the Sure-Test is a safer and quicker way to do it.

I've got no connection to Ideal or anything. Just wanted to see if anyone out there is using the unit or even aware of it.

Cliff

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#4304 - 09/16/01 01:19 PM Re: Branch circuit testing
Redsy Offline
Member

Registered: 03/28/01
Posts: 2138
Loc: Bucks County PA
An Ideal rep was in a few weeks ago and demoed one. Nice tool but at $300.00 +, I'll have to wait a while.

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#4305 - 09/16/01 01:29 PM Re: Branch circuit testing
bordew Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 155
Loc: Vienna,Ohio, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by amp-man:
Hi y'all,

Electure's thread on neutral fault testing got me to wondering--anyone else out there use the "Sure Test" branch circuit tester?

The unit looks like a plug-in polarity tester on steroids. It checks polarity, also line voltage, Vdrop at 15 and 20 amps (one model), load-on-line, egc impedance at 15 amps, and GFI time-to-trip at 6 mA.

It was first made by Commercial Industrial Electronics, and now by Ideal Industries. About $350.

I've been using one for a few years and have found it invaluable, especially for old work. Knowing what the Vdrop under load is makes me much more comfortable adding to an existing circuit--I have a good idea of the condition of the circuit back to the panel. The load is imposed for only 8 cycles, so it creates no hazard even if the circuit is in poor condition. A big drop between outlets clues me in to a bad splice or termination.

The egc impedance test picks up bootletg grounds (well, you do get a false positive if the recep is right next ot the panel). And I think it would also show a egc to neutral short.

Load-on-line feature can indicate whether there are shared neutrals--without opening a box. GFI test is a true check of GFI function, not the gross test that the GFI test button or simple GFI outlet tester provides.

There's another tester that does some of the same things, but it doesn't have an LCD readout. And yea, I know it's possible to do most of these tests with a multimeter and other equipment (for instance a large resistance load like a space heater), but the Sure-Test is a safer and quicker way to do it.

I've got no connection to Ideal or anything. Just wanted to see if anyone out there is using the unit or even aware of it.

Cliff


I got mine about 4.5 years ago and it sorta sat in the corner after reading your evaluation of it I gonna break it out again for a second look, but how did Ideal get into I see them now at my supplier, they are definitely unique, no question.

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#4306 - 09/16/01 06:47 PM Re: Branch circuit testing
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
Cliff,

I got one last year, but really didn't get a chance to learn how to use it. There wasn't much as far as instructions go and it was tripping gfci's when I plugged it in. The last time there were sparks when I plugged it in. I haven't tried it since.

Did anyone ever have that experience with them? (Ideal Brand) I was wondering if it was stuck in test mode somehow so there was a heavy load on it when it was plugged in?

Any Ideas?

Bill

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#4307 - 09/17/01 01:33 PM Re: Branch circuit testing
bordew Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 155
Loc: Vienna,Ohio, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Addiss:
Cliff,

I got one last year, but really didn't get a chance to learn how to use it. There wasn't much as far as instructions go and it was tripping gfci's when I plugged it in. The last time there were sparks when I plugged it in. I haven't tried it since.

Did anyone ever have that experience with them? (Ideal Brand) I was wondering if it was stuck in test mode somehow so there was a heavy load on it when it was plugged in?

Any Ideas?

Bill


Bill;
After reading Cliffs note on it I got it out and reviewed the instructions, I just started a whole-hous rewire, and tired it out and it definitely is a great tool, found a bunch of bad receptacles, some had VDs as high as 12 %, and load on line of 15 amps, I got the origianl Sure-test, and never had the problem you described, perhaps the one you got is defective. I was sorry to hear that they sold out to Ideal, but they should honor the warranty on it ?
I first became aware of them from an EC&M article, which I dug out last night it was July '97, and had to drive an hour to
Akron just to pick one up, I think I paid ovre $350 for it and was disappointed with it until today, and thanks to Cliff I probably never would have looked at it again, but I am glad I did.
-Mark-

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#4308 - 09/17/01 04:57 PM Re: Branch circuit testing
electure Offline

Member

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
I also read the EC&M article. These sound like a real cool tool. I'm with Redsy, though. As much as I'd like to own one, at $350+ it's something that'll just have to wait Maybe someday

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#4309 - 09/17/01 05:12 PM Re: Branch circuit testing
bordew Offline
Member

Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 155
Loc: Vienna,Ohio, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by electure:
I also read the EC&M article. These sound like a real cool tool. I'm with Redsy, though. As much as I'd like to own one, at $350+ it's something that'll just have to wait Maybe someday


I have had it for well a little over 4 years now and your right it is expensive, and I have not yet justified its expense, but that is my fault for not using it, when I first bought it I callled the Manufacturerer(sp, in Buffalo, who invented it, and we talked for quite a while, and I dont know why I have not used it more often, but after today I will make an effort to justify the cost of it. As I said above I just started a whole-house rewire and found a bunch of circuits that need immediate attention, thanks to Cliff for reminding me that this thing can be invaluable.

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#4310 - 09/17/01 05:40 PM Re: Branch circuit testing
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
I just got one last month, still trying to find quiet jobs to check it out. there's more than one redneck who's last words were " Ya'all watch this!"

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