Voltage Detector

If you are looking for a fast and effective way to check whether there is any live voltage on ac circuits, outlets or switches then you will need a voltage detector. They have been known by many different names which include pens, sticks and voltage wands. They can be used to check for and detect voltage through insulation or on exposed conducting parts. The majority of voltage detectors are compact enough to slip into any of your pockets.

The majority of voltage detectors are intended for non contact detection. You are able to check electrical circuits in any residential or commercial property as well as large industrial buildings. They are without doubt a critical element in safety by simply allowing you to tell whether or not a circuit is live prior to you performing a task or any work on it. However to ensure your complete safety, there are a number of guidelines that you should follow first:

Before you even think about relying on it, you should always check that the voltage detector is in full working order. The easiest way to achieve this is to test a circuit that you know is 100% live and ensure that you get the correct response from the device. You will actually find that some updated models actually have a built in self test function. You should then ensure that the actual detector you are using is appropriately rated to use in your current work environment. Not all detectors are as sensitive as each other and some may be fine for use in an industrial situation, but not in a residential environment. You may find that certain detectors will gauge and read a very small amount of voltage, whilst others produce no reading at all.

Some voltage detectors have limitations depending on the capacitance between the device and the ground. An example of this is if you are standing on a wooden ladder the reading may be very different than if you had your feet firmly placed on a concrete floor. It is recommended that you always find an installation ground that you are directly in contact with when using the detector.

There are various forms of voltage detector however the simplest version will typically contain a neon light or light bulb and a resistor. The front of the device will have 2 metal probes to be placed into or around the sides of whatever it is you are testing. Most detectors will work on AC or DC. One of the most popular types of detector that you will often see used by electricians and available at most hardware stores is the detector that has been built into a screwdriver. The screwdriver will have a transparent plastic handle and will use a LED or neon bulb alongside a low ohm resistor. You simply place the screwdriver into the electrical outlet or electrode that you wish to test. You should find that once a small amount of electrical charge flows through it, the light will glow. There is also another kind of detector that is mainly used to detect wiring problems and difficulties. You can simply plug this into an outlet and the three LED lights will glow once any form of voltage has been detected.

One of the most common uses for a residential voltage detector (and most annoying) is to check the Christmas lights. You may typically find that the individual bulbs on a set of Christmas lights have had their wires come loose or disconnected. Unfortunately if you have ever experienced this, you will be more than aware that all the lights in that series will go out. Without the use of a voltage detector you would have to check each bulb individually and that could take hours. However with a detector you can place it near the bulb socket wires at either end and easily identify the “hot” wire that has come loose. It is best to then check from one end to the middle of the string until you have identified whereabouts the loose wire may be. Eventually you can narrow this down to the exact area that requires fixing.

There are, of course, many uses for voltage detectors in most commercial or industrial settings. Whether you are checking refrigeration units, lighting, video and audio equipment or even in the car, this is one device that you most likely cannot do without.

This Voltage Detector Review is Written/Updated on Jan 19th, 2011 and filed under Home Improvement. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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