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Discussion Starter #1
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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Discussion Starter #2
There are no replies so can I assume it does not mean anything? This is the first time I have seen this happen, and it ONLY occurs in the upstairs of this particular house.
 

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There are no replies so can I assume it does not mean anything? This is the first time I have seen this happen, and it ONLY occurs in the upstairs of this particular house.
Totally normal behavior.
 

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You can make one beep by rubbing up and down your sleeve.
 
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Master Electrician
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mine goes off randomly in my pants pocket while i walk at work :laughing:
 

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Master Electrician
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both :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have used this wand for a long time in many houses and it ONLY happens in this house in the upstairs room.
 

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Non contact testers are prone to go off for no reason at all. Use a plug in tester for outlets, a wiggy for other testing. Non contact are not useless...they tell you there is power....somewhere.:laughing:
 

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"Useless" might be a little harsh. If anything they are overly sensitive...which means if you can't get it to beep, chances are the nearest voltage is 1/2 mile away. Yet, voltage (or lack of) should be verified with something more precise if the work involves handling potentially energized components.
 

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Master Electrician
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they are particularly "not usefull" for testing unbalanced loads on neutrals. probably why most shocks come off the neutral.
 

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andrew79 said:
they are particularly "not usefull" for testing unbalanced loads on neutrals. probably why most shocks come off the neutral.
I thought the neutral conductor was used "after" the load?
 

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Just for S&G, you might want to check that particular outlet for a hot ground, or energized metal box. I've seen exactly what you're talking about in a house that had some outlets wired with a bootleg ground and reversed polarity. On the normal outlets, I'd have to get the probe at least *near* the hot slot on the receptacle to get a beep. On the outlets with electrified grounds, the beeper would go off anywhere near the receptacle.

Always verify strange readings with a voltmeter, using an extension cord plugged into a known good outlet as a reference point if necessary.
 
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