Best money spent...

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  #1  
Old 01-25-10, 11:44 AM
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Best money spent...

Just another quick thank you to all the mods here, as I have had to do a bunch of work on our "new" old house and have been able to get answers quick and reliably.

More importantly I can't emphasize enough the need for the right tools. This house is wired screwy and there are all sorts of things that were not done to "code". White wires carrying a load without any tape or marking as such (I have updated that for next owner and more importantly me..) and circiuts marked wrong in the box. The wake up call was when I was doing GFI in bathroom...didnt see that they had them and turned off what cbreaker I "thought" was the one...well it wasn't and I felt a little tingle...turns out there was a GFI on the outlet and maybe saved me....

I droped everything and went out and bought a $14 electrcal sniffer, best investment ever!!! I had the other circuit tester but that can be timely trying to put in pronges etc.. and get incurate readings.. One push of button and I know if it is energized or not. In my mind this tool is invaluable for doing anything with electricty and anyone on this forum thinking of doing anything other than screw in alightbulb should get one!!!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-25-10, 12:00 PM
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Well...if you are talking about a "non-contact tester"...or "pen tester".

To some people..they have a place and usage...and to others they wouldn't touch 'em with a 20ft pole....lol.

They won't normally give false negatives...but can give false positives depending on usage.
 
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Old 01-25-10, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post

They won't normally give false negatives.


well....


dead or near dead batteries can definately be an issue here, even possibly intermittently.


always check your testers function on a known live circuit when using them.
 
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Old 01-25-10, 12:12 PM
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non-contact or pen was what I meant so that you know if there is current anywhere in the box before kicking around. The contact one will tell you if a particular wire or recep is energized but not if something else in the box is. Testing every wire in a box is timely whereas a quick push of a buttoin and you know to stay out or not.

Would much rather have a false positve than false negative (zap) anyday lol !!!!
 
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Old 01-25-10, 12:28 PM
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False positives can eat up a lot of your time and turn a simple job into a complicated job. If you really wanted a good test instrument I would recommended an amprobe with built in analog voltage meter. But that is just me.
 
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Old 01-25-10, 12:32 PM
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Geez nap...of course I meant if its fuctioning correctly and tested against a known good first...lol. I still remember that much of my Navy stuff. Kinda anal sometimes. Always zero the meter and test the required function...
 
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Old 01-25-10, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
Geez nap...of course I meant if its fuctioning correctly and tested against a known good first...lol. I still remember that much of my Navy stuff. Kinda anal sometimes. Always zero the meter and test the required function...
I know.

It was meant more as a warning of the possibility from somebody who knows!
 
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Old 01-25-10, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by nap View Post
well....

dead or near dead batteries can definately be an issue here, even possibly intermittently.

always check your testers function on a known live circuit when using them.
Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
Geez nap...of course I meant if its fuctioning correctly and tested against a known good first...lol. I still remember that much of my Navy stuff. Kinda anal sometimes. Always zero the meter and test the required function...
Well I thought Naps mention of caution was warranted myself.


I know that the very cool strippers with the buit in sniffer I use will give a quick beep when turned on. If I don't hear it or it sounds weak or slow, I know somethings up.
 
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Old 01-25-10, 04:30 PM
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Never said it wasn't a good post...just messin with him a bit. It's been slow...lol.
 
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Old 01-25-10, 04:57 PM
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And perhaps we owe a bit of an apology to Sandyharry for trampling a bit on his enthusiasm for a new tool. Every one here I'm sure knows that feeling of finding a new tool that is slicker then sliced bread.
 
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Old 01-25-10, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
And perhaps we owe a bit of an apology to Sandyharry for trampling a bit on his enthusiasm for a new tool. Every one here I'm sure knows that feeling of finding a new tool that is slicker then sliced bread.

well, if that is what you want to hear:

1st, it is actually in our union contract to have a non-contact tester because the union believes it is a good idea to have one.

next, the last job I worked on (new hospital) it was required we carry one with us at all times

thirdly, I personally advocate their use. I have learned to use mine well enough that I can usually trouble shoot a bad ballast in a fluorescent light fixture with it.

finally, I really advocate having and using one anytime you are dealing with elelctricity.


and mick, GG45 and I have been around here for awhile and seem to get along well. I didn't take it offensively in the least but it's nice to know I have support,:PE: after all, he doesn't go by GG45 because he is 45 years old.

dang, I really wish I could find a use for this emoticon. I think it is just about the funniest thing I have ever seen
 

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Old 01-26-10, 06:39 PM
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Anyway............sandyharry, I agree with you 100%! I always whip out my "beeper" tester to check if a circuit is hot. I wish everybody carried them so they stop asking me "is this hot?" when they get on a job.

Just for the record, when I start doing any trouble shooting, I do get out the meter.
 
  #13  
Old 01-26-10, 07:36 PM
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I fried my meter or else I agree with you... as i didn't check the circuit and I had it set for low voltage (no cap) and "pop"...dangit....Of to Harbor Freight for another...
 
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Old 01-26-10, 07:48 PM
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I don't know about the HF tools, but the Ideal Vol-con tester should not be that much. IIRC one of the Ideals was around $40 at the big boxes.

PS Sandyharry, hope you didn't get washed away yesterday working on the pier.
 
  #15  
Old 01-27-10, 01:00 AM
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Non-contact probes are definitely a great tool especially for aspiring electricians getting started with doing some work in their own house. As has been stated on this forum, it's very hard for one of these to give a false NEGATIVE (unless the batteries are dead or the device is faulty!) but they CAN give false POSITIVES.

They work by simply sensing EMI caused by AC waves in wiring. The sensitivity of the sensor is a key part of designing one of these. Too sensitive and it'll pick up EMI from nearby active circuits or even from other devices like radio transmitters; too weak and you'll never sense a real current.

This means you can never assume that the tester is ACCURATELY testing a positive. If it rings on a wire you think is dead, use the voltmeter to make sure before you start thinking your service panel is labeled wrong or faulty. You could be picking up EMI from a nearby live wire, or even potentially residual EMI coming up a neutral wire.

(To get what I mean, switch off a circuit or two at your service panel, then try using your non-contact tester on the branch circuit wires leaving the service panel. You'll almost certainly get a positive - from the nearby live circuits you didn't deactivate.)

I will personally use BOTH a non-contact tester AND a voltmeter before working on a circuit - it's great peace-of-mind to know that two testers both registered the circuit as offline.

Best advice of course is always, ALWAYS test your sensing equipment prior to depending on it. Stick your non-contact sensor near a known live wire to make sure it's working. Stick your voltmeter's probes in a known live receptacle to ensure it's reading live voltages properly. Same goes for neon-light-based testers and basically ANYTHING that's designed to detect a live electrical circuit. The time it takes to test the circuit is WELL worth it (for anyone who's ever gotten a shock, you'll know why. )

fm
 
  #16  
Old 01-27-10, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
PS Sandyharry, hope you didn't get washed away yesterday working on the pier.
Ha!! It was the highest I have ever seen it this year, reminds me that I need to make sure I have the j boxes high on poles...

but....Have not done pier yet, waiting for water to warm up. Also still battling in my mind whether I do the A) 2 pole gfci breaker ($90)and single marine duplex ($30) or b) the 2 pole non gfci ($40) and 2 gfci outlets ($30) or C) 2 pole no gfci and 125/250twistloc L16/20R and use the gfci that is on my lift motors for code...

at the same time replacing all the old gfci outlets outside that are bad and rusty or non gfci as I know the kids will be touching them wet and wife plugging blenders in to them.....too much time on my hands, cant wait for weather to warm up
 
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