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  • dangerous?

    Bought a outlet circuit tester,
    http://www.amazon.com/Sperry-Instrum.../dp/B001JIDCCA
    , few days ago and tested some of the outlets last night. I was supprised by the result. All three lines were "hot" line on almost all outlets in my 1950 house which we bought three yrs ago.

    I just tested my office outlets using the same tester, only one line is hot and other two show no light which is what i expected.

    But when I use the circuit tester,
    http://www.toolup.com/greenlee/gt-10...ferl5qod4vck2a, almost all outlets at home show correct.

    anybody can explain me why it is like that? what i should do? is it dangerous? I have a 5 yrs kid at home.

    thanks,

  • #2
    Re: dangerous?

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The tester you have is a non-contact voltage tester and tests voltage by induction. It is designed to be used as a quick check for live voltage and confirmed with the use of a voltmeter. You're getting voltage indications by proximity in the neutral and ground slots of three prong receptacles. I don't think anything is wrong with your receptacles and you could confirm this with a traditional voltage tester. Stick the prongs into the hot slot (the smaller slot) and the neutral next to it and confirm 120 volts. Do this between the hot slot and the ground slot (the round one) and confirm 120 volts. Then, probe the ground and the neutral and confirm 0 volts. That tester you have is not a very good one. I have a Fluke non-contact voltage tester I use for quick checks for live voltage but I never bet my life on it.

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    • #3
      Re: dangerous?

      Thank you for your information. I will use the meter with the tester in the future.

      can I say the receptacles in my home is not good? or the way how the receptacle is connected is not good? Because I have different result in my office with the same tester.

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      • #4
        Re: dangerous?

        the Greenly tester in the picture is a little different in that is a polarity tester, and has little lights that light up to show if it is wired correctly,

        if the hot pole of the receptacle is hooked to the hot wire, (normally black) and the neutral is the neutral (white)
        and the ground is the ground, (bare or green),

        and it is just a quick indicator if the receptacle is wired in polarity correctly,

        if that unit says it is wrong then yes you may have some thing reversed or not properly hooked up,
        Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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        • #5
          Re: dangerous?

          Originally posted by housecarer View Post
          Thank you for your information. I will use the meter with the tester in the future.

          can I say the receptacles in my home is not good? or the way how the receptacle is connected is not good? Because I have different result in my office with the same tester.
          With the first tester you can't say anything except that there is power "nearby", that is what it is designed for, so that if there is an energized line you have some indication. It isn't perfect (why a previous poster said they wouldn't be their life on it), but it is not surprising that close to your outlet in any pin it would light up.

          The neutral conductor has electricity flowing through it under normal operation if there is anything else on that circuit (e.g., a light bulb in that room).

          The second tester is the kind you should be using, and it should have a clear indication of what "correct" is for that tester on it.

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          • #6
            Re: dangerous?

            Try to find a simple receptacle wiring tester like in the picture below. Most good hardware stores should have them. If you have any GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) receptacles you may as well get one that can check them too. These are made by several companies and my bet is there's a big factory over in China cranking all of them out anymore. I would see what you can find. They have colored lights (3 of them) and a chart showing if everything is good or if not what is wrong. Please do read the instructions before use. This little device is handy and much safer to use than a VOM multimeter if you aren't up on how to use one of them.

            If you have any doubts or your gut says something is wrong, please call in a good licensed electrician to check over everything. The $$$ will be very well spent on your safety.
            Attached Files

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            • #7
              Re: dangerous?

              Woussko

              I believe that is the same function as the Greenlee shown in his second link: http://www.toolup.com/greenlee/gt-10...ferl5qod4vck2a

              Housecarer,

              As previously stated, the first instrument will show voltage in a line IF you are close to it with the nose of the instrument... and, the batteries are fresh, and, you've got a good contact between the side spring of the instrument and it's internal contact point. I have the same instrument and it's not at all reliable, in my experience anyway.

              As mentioned, the second instrument is much better, more reliable, and will indicate if the receptacle is properly wired or NOT.

              I agree with Killavolt and the others, make sure you know exactly what you are doing and that the instruments you are using are reliable. Personally, I never rely on just one instrument.

              With a young child in the house, I suggest you get protectors for all the reachable outlets and remember they're rather curious and if they're watching you do any of this, they can may want to investigate when you're not looking.

              CWS

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              • #8
                Re: dangerous?

                CWS

                The Greenlee one is similar but I don't see that it can be used for checking GFCI receptacles or regular receptacles protected by a GFCI circuit breaker. For about what a large soda costs at a fast food place you may as well add the GFCI tester to the handy little device.

                I'm not trying to put anyone down but rather just be sure to have this feature as you may well want/need it sometime.


                With all of my howling, I really think it's best to get in a good electrician to check everything and be sure it is safe. The special tamper resistant plugs and/or new tamper resistant receptacles may well pay off, but anymore children know how to defeat them.

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                • #9
                  Re: dangerous?

                  Agreed

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