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Test 240v outlets?


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Wiggy was a brand name for a Square D tester. They no longer make them but the term applies to just about any two probe voltage continuity tester with a vibrator. It is a tester that will allow you to test voltages up to about 600V without needing to buy a multimeter.

Here are some examples:

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=wig ... &FORM=IGRE

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Yes, test them but I just use my non-contact voltage tester. It is in my pocket since I test ceiling fans and other pendant type fixtures for bonding. I carry a multi meter in my truck but rarely take it out. A good sniffer will tell you lots of information without the need for another tool.

A sniffer to check for bonding? Now that's a great idea! I'll add a sniffer to my shirt pocket.

Marc

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I test them and have found problems. Most of the time the folks moving have taken the 4 slot receptical and stuck the old 3 slot in the box without rewiring it.

I also let the buyer know what type of hookup is behind the dryer on an occupied home. Around here we tend to be about 90% or better 220 electric for the dryer. But occasionally I get a house that will have gas only and then it's good info for the buyer.

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Yes, test them but I just use my non-contact voltage tester. It is in my pocket since I test ceiling fans and other pendant type fixtures for bonding. I carry a multi meter in my truck but rarely take it out. A good sniffer will tell you lots of information without the need for another tool.

Please describe how you do this.

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Yes, test them but I just use my non-contact voltage tester. It is in my pocket since I test ceiling fans and other pendant type fixtures for bonding. I carry a multi meter in my truck but rarely take it out. A good sniffer will tell you lots of information without the need for another tool.

Please describe how you do this.

If it is not grounded it will set the sniffer, aka. wiggy off when the power is on. Also use it on refrigerators to make sure it is on a grounded circuit.

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An unbonded ground wire won't necessarily set the wiggy off. Only if an AC voltage is conducted or induced into it.

Even a bonded ground wire with a neutral current flowing thru it won't set off a wiggy...as I understand that device. A clamp-on would show it.

I've done forgotten which principle Mr. Wiggy uses.

Marc

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I get that, but without a fault there is no way a sniffer can indicate a bond.

I wanted to know what I was missing.

Sorry Tom, I don't follow your line of thought.

I didn't say a sniffer could 'indicate a bond.'

Marc

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I get that, but without a fault there is no way a sniffer can indicate a bond.

I wanted to know what I was missing.

All I know is if you use a sniffer around an ungrounded object it will go off. Even in a home with ungrounded outlets the sniffer will go off an inch or so away from an outlet. I have no idea why or how it works but it does.

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You guys are referring to two different technologies,

Wiggy is now generically used to describe a contact tester with leads the way Romex is used to describe NM cable. A voltage sniffer senses induced current; a wiggy doesn't. I recommended he get a wiggy to back up his other testers.

A wiggy is not a sniffer. It uses conventional contact leads. Induced current won't activate it. You have to touch the leads to the circuit. A true wiggy has a solenoid in it that jumps when there is voltage present so that you don't necessarily have to turn it to look at the neon voltage display. There are other testers out there that do the same thing without the solenoid. This is old tech. Ideal and GB instruments make almost identical devices but I've had bad luck with cheap leads on both of those. True Wiggy's are no longer made but you can still buy them off ebay or amazon.

The sniffers are different. They sense an induction field. They can be set off even when you are nowhere near current. I've been in an attic trying to determine whether there is power on K&T wiring and have had a sniffer go nuts around dead K&T because the K&T was running parallel and close to some newer wiring.

I've even had sniffers alert on old radio antennae in an attic that were completely disconnected from anything else; the cause being a hot circuit running past one side of the radio antenna. I've had folks turn off a breaker to an attic circuit where I was getting a reading from a completely unconnected radio antenna and the sniffer went dead. Flip the breaker back on and the sniffer started complaining again.

The sniffer is handy but it can be fooled and if you are inexperienced it can cause you to make some serious mistakes. I can remember finding a wire coiled up at one side of a crawlspace after a torturous crawl to get to that corner. I checked it with a sniffer and it set the sniffer off. I then crawled back along that wire and had to detour around a huge HVAC trunk blocking my way and work my way back to that cable and then continued to follow it until I found that it was disconnected at the other end. It had crossed over some wiring in the crawl and had picked up that induction field and that was what the sniffer had picked up. I had to crawl all the way back to that coil and then continue with the crawl inspection from where I'd left off and I was pretty tuckered out by the time I got there. - all because of an induction sensor.

There are new tech testers that do both; for instance, Gardner-Bender (GB) has a VoltCheck (GVC1000) instrument that uses test leads for voltage and continuity and it has a button on it that you push for non-contact testing. Click Here.

When it comes right down to it, Jim's recommendation for a multi-meter is the best because it gives you the ability to do so much more than just an induction sensor or wiggy can. MM are cheap. Hell, you can even get them free at Harbor Freight if you bring in the right coupon from your Sunday paper. I've got half a dozen 25' tape measures and three multi-meters sitting in the garage on a shelf that I picked up at HF just by visiting and purchasing a 99-cent item at various 99-cent sales. Yeah, those free MM are cheesy cheap but the technology is way better than it was when you could buy those for $15 at Walmart 30 years ago. Even as cheesy as they are, they're pretty accurate compared to then and they do the job.

Heck, HF is now sellilng 5-function digital clamp-on MM ($10); 6-function digital clamp on MM($12); and 7-function digital clamp-on MM ($14). I'm thinking about picking one up to see how it compares to one of the brand name ones.

All this aside, this whole discussion started when he wanted to know if we check 240-volt receptacles. When I was a kid my dad had this little 2-lead neon tester that he used to use to check wiring. He carried it around in his pocket with his spare change so he'd have it whenever he wanted to determine whether a wire in a house was hot or not. I just googled it - they are still available for less than $5 and you can certainly test a 240-volt receptacle with one. Click Here. It's about as cheap and simple as you can go.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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