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  • penlight tester questions

    I bought a Greenlee GT-11 Voltage Detector few months ago. It confuses me sometime. It is too sensitive, i think. It gives me alarm almost anywhere even on the kitchen counter top if I have my laptop on top of it. For the grounded socket, it seems work well, but for ungrounded socket, it lightes whole area around the socket even I did not touch the socket yet. Does it sound right? How can I tell when it is really dangerous and when it is just some static electrics.

    thanks

  • #2
    Re: penlight tester questions

    I have never trusted those pen testers like that. If I am going to trust my life to a test instrument, it is going to be one that makes contact with the wire, not just one that is supposed to sense voltage.

    I have never had anything but problems with those.

    Jeff

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    • #3
      Re: penlight tester questions

      lmei007,
      The non-contact testers have their place, but don't trust your life to them. I use a TIF Tic Tracer 300 series, and while it's very discerning on powered up circuits, they (even high priced ones) can be confused by stray EMFs. In addition, you might get errant tics on things like backfeed off a neutral which can still give you a really bad burn, if not set you on your a$$ unwittingly. Like Sparky Piette said double check your work with a full contact voltage detector before you touch any wires to work on them. We want you around here posting for a long long time. If you're going to be doing some electrical work around your house, you have a choice of some very low-priced contact voltage indicators to work with. Any halfway decent volt-ohm meter, a Wiggy, even the neon testers or plug in voltage testors for checking an outlet or for checking up on a GFCI. A meter isn't that much and a Wiggy can be had for about $20. I keep all four with me and will use a specific one depending on how quickly I want to check something but all of them will give you the answers you need. And with any testor, whether it is non-contact or not, check it on a known live circuit before you use it to test the circuit you're about to work on. Batteries die, leads pull out, etc. and you could get a non-indicating read making you think something's dead when it's not. Non-contacts are best used when you're making a quick and dirty check on whether something is live or not so follow it up with a contact testor like Piette said. Take care.
      Jim Don

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      • #4
        Re: penlight tester questions

        For what this may be worth here's some info on the famous WIGGY Voltage tester.
        (Ace Tool listing)http://www.acetoolonline.com/Product...rce=googlebase
        Attached Files

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        • #5
          Re: penlight tester questions

          the wiggy is the cats meow. penlight testers. i have two of them. i use them to know if the circuit is hot. if it's hot then i use the wiggy. in other words it tells me where not to put my hands.

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          • #6
            Re: penlight tester questions

            I'm a big fan of the pen testers. I call them "hot sticks". Where I wouldn't trust my life on one it is a good indicator. Also if you get one with a sound option you can leave it at the hot wire and go the panel and you'll know it's off when the sound stops. The pitch of those things goes a long way!

            I use a Fluke VoltAlert http://us.fluke.com/usen/products/Fl...keUnitedStates
            I also have the Greenlee but I much prefer the Fluke. The Greenlee will sense voltage from 50-1000v the Fluke is 90-1000v. So the Fluke isn't as sensitive and you can really hone in on which wire is the hot wire. Plus you can turn off the audible indicator if you want to. The Greenlee you can't choose, it's on.

            The Greenlee works ok, but the Fluke is better IMO.

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            • #7
              Re: penlight tester questions

              I have the Fluke Volt Alert 1AC A II and found out how to turn off the beeper by accident. I believe you have to hold down the on-off switch for 3 seconds to disable the beep. Darned if I can remember if the directions were on the package though. I couldn't find it on Fluke's website either, only that it could be turned off if you wanted to. I like my old Flukes better - the ones you didn't have to turn on. I made the mistake of forgetting to turn the new one on a few times after I first got 'em. Gilbequick, thanks for letting us know about that option.

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              • #8
                Re: penlight tester questions

                I guess im weird but I love my hot stick that is almost all I use in troubleshooting in swttch boxes

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                • #9
                  Re: penlight tester questions

                  I also have one of those Greenlee GT11 testers.

                  They have their place...A limited place!

                  The thing is so sensitive even static electricity will make it beep and light, or you can even get the thing to blink and beep if you rub your hand across it quickly!!!!

                  [for those of you thinking about that last statement..get out of the gutter right now]

                  Another quick test is to run the GT11 across the top of a desk lamp by the light bulb
                  it should beep! then turn the light on and off ..the GT11 should follow accordingly.
                  But this does not tell you if the lamp is wired correctly! Often lamps are reverse wired and
                  are very dangerous! Also older lamps don't typically have a polarized plug! This is when you break out the voltmeter/multimeter and make measurements!

                  I strongly suggest you use the GT11 to give you a gross indication, that "UH-OH"
                  there is power here and it's HOT! indication. Then go get a real AC voltmeter and verify
                  what is hot and what is not!

                  The critical thing here is your personal safety!

                  Listen to the what the others here are telling you.

                  Cactus Man

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: penlight tester questions

                    Originally posted by cactusman View Post
                    I also have one of those Greenlee GT11 testers.

                    They have their place...A limited place!
                    QFT Amen brother, I've seen to many guys get shocked thinking the current was off.

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