Safety question regarding neon testers.


Old 06-19-04, 01:27 PM
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Exclamation Safety question regarding neon testers.

Years ago, an electrician showed me how to test for a hot wire using a neon tester; hold one lead of the tester between your fingers, touch the other lead to the wire in question. The bulb glows faintly if the wire is hot. I have done this hundreds of times with 120 v circuits, and never felt so much as a tingle from it, and this has never failed me (as long as the tester is the simple, single bulb type). Is this dangerous, and I've been pushing my luck all this time? an opinion, please...
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Old 06-19-04, 04:34 PM
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I had this taught to me as well, a long time ago. And I never had a problem. Has something to do with the body resistance. BUT, the method he showed me was to clip the black lead to the metal clip on the tester (the one that clips to your shirt pocket) and then, use the thumb of the SAME hand as is holding the tester to the metal clip, and then touch the red lead to the hot wire. This way, I'm using only one hand. Could be a shock problem, maybe, if you held one lead in one hand and the other lead in the other. I suspect this isn't the ideal/safest method, though. I, too, am Interested in hearing the replies.
Old 06-20-04, 01:22 AM
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If you ever looked inside one of those neon testors you will find a neon bulb. A neon bulb has just two small elements separated by a very small distance and is surrounded by neon gas. I suppose those two elements COULD become shorted inside the bulb. In that case you would be connecting yourself directly to the 110vac power line through a resistor. Some shock hazzard is present, I suppose, but the resistor would limit the current. I have a couple of the neon testors around, but I rarely use them as I think there are much better testors on the market.

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