Electrical Test Equipment Every Electrician Should Know

It’s an electricians job to be able to identify what’s going on in an electrical circuit, and sometimes this can be a difficult task. Having a firm knowledge of how to use various pieces of electrical test equipment can be the difference in solving a problem and making a guess. In this episode, I cover all of the pieces of test equipment I believe an electrician should know how to use.

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#1 Basic Multimeter/Tester
This is a pretty obvious piece of equipment for an electrician to have, but you’d be surprised at how many electricians and apprentices out there don’t know how to use one. Well, let’s dive in!

For starters this is not “technically” a multi-meter. Fluke calls it a tester, but most of us in the field still call it a multi-meter, so for the sake of this article I’m going to continue calling it a multi-meter. It has multiple functions, which is why we call it a “multi-meter.” It can read voltage (difference of potential), amperage (current flowing in a conductor), resistance (opposition to current flow in a conductor), and continuity (whether or not you have a complete loop.

Most of the time, this is all an electrician will need to know. This Fluke T5-600 fits in your back pocket, has detachable leads that can be snapped into the tool, or used hands-free, and a backlit LED display. This model is one of the most used testers on the market, and because of its rigidity and reliability will continue to be so for quite some time.

#2 Clamp-on Ammeter
The clamp-on ammeter is similar to a standard tester or multimeter with the addition of a clamp/jaw that reads amperage on large diameter conductors. What the clamp provides is the ability to measure larger size wires for use on feeders and service-entrance conductors. In addition to measuring amperage, this tester also allows you to read voltage, resistance, continuity, and capacitance. This specific model (Fluke CL323) does not allow you to snap the leads to the tool so it can be a bit cumbersome to use when testing voltage – unless you have something nearby that you can clamp on to, allowing the tester to hang in front of you while you use the leads with both hands.

#3 Pocket Voltage Tester
The pocket tester is for quick and convenient AC/DC voltage testing. It’s not a high-dollar, 100-feature tester but it does allow you to test if power is present in a circuit. It fits easily in your pocket, so I personally keep one of these on me everywhere I go. You never know when you’ll need to use it, but when you don’t have all of the rest of your tools on you – carrying this around will give you a little bit of an edge, and possibly save you a trip to the truck.

This tester can test ranges from 0 – 240v AC and 0 – 17v DC making it extremely versatile as most electricians work in both of these ranges, most often. Do not try using this meter on 480-volt systems as it is only rated for up to 240v max.

#4 Tick Tracer
Taking a walk down the average Facebook Group or Electrical Forum, you’ll come to know that the use of a tick-tracer is a rather contentious issue. And for good reason. A lot of people have gotten hurt thinking that the audible beep this tester gives off, should be trusted for accuracy. These tools are not very accurate and have a definite purpose, but a very limited one.

First things first – DO NOT USE THIS AS A REPLACEMENT FOR A MULTIMETER. Always double check with a multimeter before touching a wire. What the tick tracer is used for is testing for the presence of power. If you’re unsure whether or not there is power on a conductor or not, you can use this tick-tracer to tell you that. It doesn’t tell you anything beyond that. Some of these are auto-ranging so they’ll tell you if you have low voltage or line voltage present – but again….ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK WITH A MULTIMETER BEFORE STICKING YOUR HANDS ON A WIRE! his tool is battery powered so make sure you always have an extra set just in case yours are low. If you are going to use this tool, know that it uses capacitive coupling so it’s not sensing true “power” meaning it’s possible for you to get readings that make no sense. Not the most reliable tool in your belt however it is good for quick diagnosis when checked afterward with an actual multi-meter.

#electrical #testequipment #electrician #tools

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50 Comments

  1. Justin Chamberlain on March 10, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    3:20 Rogers electric advertisement..

  2. smartchip on March 10, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    Yeah, same things, different names given, j box aka junction box, etc, in North America, having done the journeyman, they do not test and inspect, megger meter, multi function electrical tester, like a kewtech kt65, etc, in North America, there is respect for a electrician, unlike the UK, which I have been on the tools for over a decade as a spark, a engineer for about the same time,

  3. Zack Holguin on March 10, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    Hahahha! Heck yea! Man, I would just to get yelled at by this dude. Lol. Why, take the yelling u say? Or not. But, it’s bcuz this guy does a great job at schooling us on YouTube.. Fukin great job man. I’m really trying but dam it. You have to no your shit. It’ll payoff.!

  4. izzy garbo on March 10, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Stay away from greenlee meggers. We had 3 of them in tool carts and I had false readings with all of them but never with my Fluke combination VOM ( Multimeter ) / megger. Always double the test voltage plus a hundred volts for meggering. So use 1,000 volts DC when meggering a 480 volt motor. Be carefull because the 1,000 volts will charge up the motor windings and store power for awhile. Wish I had a dollar everytime I got shocked on a motor this way when rushing thru troubleshooting motors.

  5. scott sauritch on March 10, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    Cl800 clamp has the notch for lead it’s great! I’m gonna get 360 though cuz I need more compact w/ notches for leads..

  6. wb5mgr on March 10, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    Klein now makes a combo GFCI/AFCI tester all in one.

    Klein Tools RT310 AFCI and GFCI Outlet and Device Tester for North American AC Electrical Outlet Receptacles https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PMDRHXB/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_u4jlFbN656XH2

  7. wb5mgr on March 10, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    I think a great tool for every tech to have is a Non-Contact Thermometer… for $30 you can spot bad connections and all sorts of things that are going to cause problems. No it’s not a FLIR thermal camera… That’s something your company would probably own… although those have dropped a lot in price and they now have one that can go on a smart phone for like $300, but a non-contact thermometer is so cheap why not have one in the van.

    Etekcity Lasergrip 1080 Non-Contact Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun -58℉~1022℉ (-50℃~550℃), Yellow and Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DMI632G/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_EkklFbPQZK101

  8. JGoElites on March 10, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    Fuck tickers, you drop it once the motherfucker beeps every time you touch ANYTHING, literally anything!

  9. squawkparrot spitting feathers on March 10, 2021 at 10:26 pm

    Hi great video. From the UK. For what we would call Earth and you would call Ground leakage I use, for detecting tipping, a Martindale CM69 clamp meter. True RMS and CAT 4 at 300 volts.

  10. wb5mgr on March 10, 2021 at 10:27 pm

    Pro Tip: some of the fluke meters offer a removable magnet that can be attached to the meter to hang it from panelboards and such. If you are cheap like me or your meter won’t mount that accessory… just buy a small neodymium magnet from amazon or eBay and super glue it on the back of the meter.

  11. chattfiremike on March 10, 2021 at 10:28 pm

    You are the apprentices best friend!! Thanks Dustin!

  12. izzy garbo on March 10, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    For you young sparkies NEVER purchase or use cheap multimeters. Know of a cheap old sparky that used the 500 volt scale to measure a 480 volt circuit on a weekend when ultilty voltage is always high. Ultility voltage was over 500 volts and meter blew up in his hand. NEVER purchase or use test or safety equipment made in lack of quality control lying cheating scum bag china.

  13. victor dante on March 10, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    You’re a beast bro

  14. RP Smith on March 10, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    10:47 – When using a toner to trace a Romex cable, connect one of the toner’s alligator clips to ground and the other clip to the black the wire of the cable you are trying to follow. Also, in order for this to work properly, temporary disconnect the white neutral wire while tracing the cable.

  15. Vito Guerrero on March 10, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    My Fluke multimeter has a Megger as well, the one thing I love to use with it is the magnet, I’m constantly in panels so the ability to do everything with a gator clip and my probe at eye level makes troubleshooting that much easier.

  16. Johnny Arsenault on March 10, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    You can use a tone generator hooked up to a fish-wire when in thick insulation to determine where the tip is (non conduit) 👍

  17. tompattymaya on March 10, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    Please try to reduce or halt the jerk hand movements. Hold the equipment steady so we can see it!! Trying to be funny is distracting, and not effective.

  18. Jay Bills on March 10, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    Great video

  19. flippingdrummer on March 10, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    The tick tester is great in my experience at home as just as a fast way to check that you shut off the right breaker before doing work.

  20. Johnny Arsenault on March 10, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    Phase meters are another group!

  21. TMills 572 on March 10, 2021 at 10:37 pm

    You are awesome. Just picked up my apprentice license. Now time to earn my journeyman. I really enjoy the pace of your videos. You drop a lot of info and don’t waste time. If I’m not reading my NEC2020 I’m watching your vids.

  22. Bobby Jones on March 10, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    That tick tracer saved me, line was off but there was a hot wire in the box.

  23. Jr Hr on March 10, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    This is the only channel im subscribed to .

  24. nathan russell on March 10, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    Passionate about the trade. That’s what makes him so great.

  25. Jason Morris on March 10, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    If you want to test series circuit components a 20pce trace board using type5 coil springs as connectors can enable easy voltage drop/ohm test maybe pop in a few LED’s here and there with a variable power source.

  26. PBS #007 on March 10, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    love all your videos , detailed, clear which makes it easy to follow, please keep them coming and thanks for spending your time making these videos.

  27. John Lansing on March 10, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Thank you for helping people in the trade.

  28. Tony Young on March 10, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    Earth loop impedance test, RCD test ?

  29. S7tronic on March 10, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    I use that Fluke toner, brilliant tool. One of the best features is if you short your two wires at the field end, it will change tone-up to 5 or 6 different ones; brilliant for verifying poorly marked circuits. It also has an RJ11/45 plug ideal for data points.

  30. Black Thumb Tinkerer on March 10, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    What would you use to measure the resistance between ground points and ground rods? Would you use a megger?

  31. Lee Slusser on March 10, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    You’re a natural teacher, Dustin. I loyally watch e.u.

  32. Matthew Robison on March 10, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    If you would always double check with an actual meter, why use the hot stick at all?

  33. يوسف السيد on March 10, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    Keep it up ^_^ .

  34. David Hager on March 10, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    I just bought a cat5/6 end crimp tool and I need to get myself a tester so I’ll know for sure that my wires are good..

  35. Angel Rivera on March 10, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    Damn u got me good buying all these deals lol

  36. gsierra13es on March 10, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    Justin what model is that pocket meter?cant see it clear love in videos man keep it up.

  37. Joe Joe on March 10, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    That fluke t5 is the electrician go to tester. I don’t know a electrician that dose not have one.

  38. Dmytro Dekusar on March 10, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    I think i will start my new career in 2-3 years when i move to Texas, want to become electrician, i know some stuff about electricity but looking forward to become real deal electrician, i like to work with wires and have good feeling when you turn the barker and everything is working, lest time i connect 3 extra barkers in my apartment to life panel, its all about knowledge and safety even in life old panel. I hope i will do good. You are great person, thanks for all this info, all do i know a lot of it but there always a lot to learn every day.

  39. Edward White on March 10, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    Your not supposed to have a 600 volt tester anymore they make that fluke same thing but 1000 volts I don’t know about the other one

  40. Rico702Vegas on March 10, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    TIP: Gorilla tape (or epoxy) a neodymium magnet onto the back of the amp clamp & you won’t have to buy 2 multimeters. You can magnetically put it on the main panel door or even on a nail in the stud, those magnets are crazy strong. Now you have both hands free, problem solved.

  41. LAZASAS on March 10, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    Use some Sugru and hack the Clamp on Ammeter by creating the lead/probe holders.

  42. Lost Productions on March 10, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    Taught me a lot in this video! Loved it.

  43. William Haines on March 10, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    I like. The non contact test but I perfer the volt con over a multi meter of cource the clamp on for the amp meter ..

  44. Redhead Metalhead on March 10, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    This is why I refer to the touchless voltage testers (tick tracers) as suicide sticks. Never take the presence (or lack of) beeping/light/vibration as law. I use mine exactly as mentioned in the video. It is definitely a helpful tool, but not a crutch, and definitely not a full on diagnostic tool.
    Good stuff! I’ve been in this trade a while, but I always learn something from your videos.

  45. Zack Holguin on March 10, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    I would PAY!!

  46. Matt Bridgeman on March 10, 2021 at 11:09 pm

    What about a phase rotation meter?

  47. Impedancenetwork on March 10, 2021 at 11:11 pm

    DO NOT buy any Kein test equipment. They make tools not test equipment. Don’t do it. If you want the absolute best test equipment, then buy FLUKE. I used Fluke in the military and for 30 years after getting out of the military. You will never regret buying a fluke, especially after you drop your meter from a 6 foot ladder.

  48. duenge on March 10, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    As a Fire Marshal, I carried a ticker. I would often find wires running every which way, uncovered boxes, etc…..Made my life a bit easier…

  49. BagOfSouls on March 10, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    I know this is year old video man but as someone who is looking into this career since I got bored of aerospace/engineering I appreciate it man.

  50. Jason Smith on March 10, 2021 at 11:13 pm

    Can you send link for them boots you have on 🙂
    Wise man . Love your channel

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