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Old 07-08-2012, 11:28 PM   #1
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Non-contact voltage tester


Lots of comments about this tool which fit two categories:

1. They are finicky and overly sensitive;
or
2. Do not trust them.

I'm curious if anyone here has ever experienced a tester which did NOT indicate voltage when it should have?

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Old 07-08-2012, 11:52 PM   #2
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Non-contact voltage tester


Anyone using any type of voltage tester should first test it on a known live circuit so you know it's working. I've used tick testers made by Ideal, Klein and other manufacturers. I always test them on a known live circuit first. I have yet to see one fail just after it passed the known live test.

You have to know how to use them. You can't wave them past a bunch of wires and learn anything when they indicate voltage. You have to separate out the wires first. You have to insert them in the hot slot of a receptacle. Etc. You have to be very precise with its use or you could get a ghost reading.

They are handy to quickly find out if there's voltage present. If you want to know exactly what's live or not, further testing with more precise instruments is required.

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Old 07-09-2012, 08:55 AM   #3
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Non-contact voltage tester


I learned if you have a voltage indication of a circuit you suspect is off,touch your finger on probe tip as you test wire.
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:41 AM   #4
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Non-contact voltage tester


I had a Greenlee which had a nasty habit of turning itself off during use. So it would indicate no voltage on a live wire. It was almost brand new when it hit the garbage can.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:39 PM   #5
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Non-contact voltage tester


I've got a GreenLee GT-12...available at Lowe's...it works fine. I use mine all the time...and so far...it always detects voltage in a hot circuit.

Just make sure that you test it on a known good circuit as suggested by the manufacture.

Mine has a red LED that blinks when it's on...so...that's a good thing.

It chirps and beeps when it detects AC voltage...

Last edited by Ed911; 07-10-2012 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:49 PM   #6
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Non-contact voltage tester


There's no substitute for a good old vol-con solenoid tester. The issue with a tickle isn't that it doesn't sense voltage. if its used right it will keep you safe like Julie said. The issue is the false reading you can get. Thinking somethings on when its not can really mess up your day. The part I don't like is that it doesn't pick up hot shared neutrals. Only way to cover your butt on that is a real tester.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:20 AM   #7
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Non-contact voltage tester


They have their place, but they do have their limitations too.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:11 AM   #8
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Non-contact voltage tester


I got a mid-priced one for about $15 at lowes and it works good. It's useful as another tool in verifying a circuit isn't hot. Although I always check it multiple ways such as verifying the outlet is dead, circuit breaker is off, etc.
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:35 PM   #9
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Non-contact voltage tester


As I say, they have their uses. But I would never trust my life to one. A good meter is the only verification I trust. And I've turned off many circuit breakers in my career, only to find out it's the wrong one. Be careful out there.
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:36 PM   #10
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Non-contact voltage tester


I frequently use a non-contact voltage tester wand to quickly tell me if an outlet has power. Usually I have to slide it in a slot to get a reading. On one of my rental properties I used it on some upstairs outlets, and it started beeping and the light came on when I was about 1 inch away from the outlets. In the downstairs outlets I have to slide it in as usual to get a reading. Does this mean anything?

I used a volt meter, and the upstairs outlets read 114 to 115.

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