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#7484 - 02/07/02 06:13 PM Testers
tmeg46 Offline

Registered: 01/21/02
Posts: 10
Loc: Naples, Fl, USA.
Would like an opinion on testers. Pros and cons, on the following: 1) non-contact proximity tester. 2) Wiggy 3) A multi purpose (voltage, ohm, amprobe) type, digital or otherwise.
Do electricians, service or construction, use one over the other and which is best. I have my opinions (their like noses, right?) but would just like to hear from others.

Thanks, Tom

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#7485 - 02/07/02 07:41 PM Re: Testers
Bill Addiss Offline

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

>> 1) non-contact proximity tester
My all-time Favorite Tool I wouldn't go to work without it.


#7486 - 02/07/02 07:54 PM Re: Testers
George Corron Offline

Registered: 05/16/01
Posts: 728
Loc: Lorton, Va USA
You realize though, that all those testers have their charms. Wiggies are light, nearly unbreakable (especially if you have one of the old metal ones ) Contact testers are nice, but....seen 'em fail. Analog testers you can see a capacitive "kick" as it leaves a circuit being tested, digital, nice and accurate, you often see the peak voltage (170) before it settles down to 120, now with digital do you want true or average readings, that also makes a difference and there are reasons for wanting both, WELL now that I've thoroughly confused the issue, I'll leave

#7487 - 02/07/02 08:34 PM Re: Testers
Jim M Offline

Registered: 08/10/01
Posts: 453
Loc: Chestertown, MD, USA
I just got a non-contact tester. I don't know what I did without it.

All of these meters have their uses. I have at least one of each along with 2 amp meters, one digital, one analog for cold weather.

#7488 - 02/08/02 04:26 AM Re: Testers
Redsy Offline

Registered: 03/28/01
Posts: 2138
Loc: Bucks County PA
I know many will say that you should not rely on them solely, but sometimes we get complacent. Non-contact testers have a serious, potentially deadly quirk. If a cable(particularly NM, which has a paper filler which retains moisture) has been exposed to moisture, they may not indicate voltage when ther is voltage present. My brother was installing an outdoor receptacle on a tail of NM that someone else had started a few weeks before. The non-contact tester did not beep. When he went to shorten the cable with his cutters, it sparked and tripped the breaker. If the cable had not been too long, he would have stripped it while kneling in damp grass, and probably would have been killed. Non-contact testers are a great device, but don't bet your life on them!
As far as others, Ideal has a Vol-Con Elite tester #61-092, that has a non-contact feature and a non solenoid vibrating feature, which is good for day-to-day use.
I like the fluke 89 IV DMM. It has lots of nice features.

[This message has been edited by Redsy (edited 02-08-2002).]

#7489 - 02/08/02 06:35 AM Re: Testers
buddy Offline

Registered: 09/11/01
Posts: 11
Along the lines of testers, is there a requirement that all testers have to be UL listed? Could you make your own tester and still be "legal"?

#7490 - 02/08/02 04:39 PM Re: Testers

Registered: 12/24/01
Posts: 29
Loc: Omak, WA, USA
I use a non contact tester for 120 stuff in "safe" situations. Where there may be higher voltages or I am outside or could be grounded somehow I use a fluke 23 or 87. I also sometimes use an Ideal voltage/continuity meter. I used to work for Shell oil and they required these or equivalent because of the inherent safety of not being able to have a selector in the wrong position. I have learned the value of that in the few times I have left my Flukes in current setting and hooked across 277v. Very fast way to get your attention.

#7491 - 02/08/02 05:22 PM Re: Testers
electure Offline


Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
I carry both a Fluke T-5 and an old (25 yrs.)Square D "Wiggy" for checking if a circuit is dead. I use them both. Very often the Fluke high-impedance digital will show voltage on a circuit that's turned off, due to capacitance.
Also love my Fluke 36. RMS-AC/DC

#7492 - 02/08/02 05:30 PM Re: Testers
Chris Rudolph Offline

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 160
Loc: Winter Park,Fl USA
I carry both the proximity tester and a digital multimeter as well as an analog clamp on current meter.
One thing that I recommend is to test whatever instrument you use on a known powered up circiut before using it on the unknown.


#7493 - 02/08/02 07:06 PM Re: Testers
CTwireman Offline

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 839
Loc: Connecticut, USA
I use a non-contact all the time. I also use a Vol-con for checking continuity and grounds, and an Amprobe ACD-10 clamp-around DMM when I need accurate voltage and current readings.

The non-contact is nice because it fits in your tool belt or pocket, but its not very rugged.

The Vol-con is almost indestructible, as I've thrown it, dropped it and abused it and it still works.

Of course, always "test your tester" first, especially the non-contact.

So, I would say all 3 tester types are essential to have.

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