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Are test screwdrivers safe.


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I knew that the test neon screwdrivers could easily be dangerous

 

 

 

IMG_4647.PNG.e59da51c358427421112f6d237cdd47e.PNGbut didn't know exactly why and how dangerous they could be

 

IMG_4648.PNG.e6da2ea9dab4409594837e85f081c5b2.PNG

 

this is is a nice explanation that shows that, even with no damage or water in the driver, they can breakdown at quite modest voltage .

 

So you should inspect and dissemble to check them regularly.

 

If you want a much safer test screwdriver then the one below though rated to 1kv was perfectly OK at 50kv and only failed at 100kv so it is a lot better IMG_4649.PNG.cacfcf3b6cded9486213dbf62885a814.PNG

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AGXQNLq19FQ

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I've never had one fail in XX years, but anything which connects your body to the live side of the mains carries a hazard.

 

My nervous disposition always gingerly dabs the top with my finger. 

 

Banging 8kV on a 220V unit is hardly fair is it?

 

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19 minutes ago, Crossy said:

I've never had one fail in XX years, but anything which connects your body to the live side of the mains carries a hazard.

 

My nervous disposition always gingerly dabs the top with my finger. 

 

Banging 8kV on a 220V unit is hardly fair is it?

 

No not fair but fun isn't it,  but the explanation of how water or other damage could get full mains voltage and current flowing (quite possibly from one hand to the other) through your body so potentially killing you is fair.

 

The experienced tinkerers and electrical installers keep one hand in their pockets for additional protection when testing. 

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4 hours ago, Crossy said:

 

Banging 8kV on a 220V unit is hardly fair is it?

If you have 8kV in your home installation you will notice before sticking the tester in :biggrin:

 

4 hours ago, Crossy said:

Like all tools these things need to be looked after and respected. 

And before testing for "negative" always check for positive on a live line.

Most dangerous they are when the "neon" is dead.

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Back before China got into it and any multi-meter was going to set you back big $$$, I can see going with the one-trick screwdriver thingy.  With a Multimeter being less than $15, I don't know why anyone messes with the one trick tools instead of buying a multi-meter that has so many more uses.  Looking back, I test ohms (for continuity) a lit more often than I test voltage.  I'd pop for a $25 or $30 Victor or Uni-T multimeter, but I have had good luck with some of the Chinatown 250 baht specials in a pinch. 

 

I did buy a few non-contact voltage testers to try them out, since I figure there are dodgy circuits where I don't want to stick anything anywhere near them.

 

On an aside, I've been testing my line voltage with a Uni-T UT71D recording multi-meter ($150 +/-) and it's showing some pretty interesting variations.  I lost all my BKK plots, but here's the plot I did in China yesterday.  A Victor 86D is a lot cheaper USB unit, but I never got it talking to the computer (yet).  Keep in mind the voltage scale is pretty expanded...

 

Can't do this with a screwdriver thingy...

 

 

 

Voltage.jpg

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1 hour ago, impulse said:

With a Multimeter being less than $15, I don't know why anyone messes with the one trick tools instead of buying a multi-meter that has so many more uses. 

One reason is that the one trick tool usually does its job well, can not be set wrongly and are often easy to check.

 

Multimeters, specially the cheap ones do fail and they all can be set to the wrong scale.

 

The cheap meters are cheap for a reason, safety measures cost money so they are often discarded. 

 

Fluke, Martindale etc. meters that probably cost 5 to10 times more are still sold because they don't compromise.

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You can't cut a tree with a Swiss Army Knife.

 

A multimeter of course does more than a screwdriver thingy.

But knowing whether this copper hanging over your head is live or not is a bit cumbersome with a multimeter.

 

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If I remember right mine was 20 baht. Never ever a problem. Although if I do check electric I do always wear rubber Flipflops and use my right index finger and stand on my right leg! Just in case [emoji298]️

 

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8 hours ago, sometimewoodworker said:

The experienced tinkerers and electrical installers keep one hand in their pockets for additional protection when testing. 

Oh yes, one of the fundamental safety rules when I was learning the difference between AC and DC.

 

Another tip picked up in my brief but colourful career as Radio Rentals 'TV man' was when lying down behind the large Baird 712 console set changing the bias resistors on the timebase board, ALWAYS keep moving your feet or engage the customer in conversation lest they think you've been electrocuted and dial 999.

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13 hours ago, KhunBENQ said:

 

A multimeter of course does more than a screwdriver thingy.

But knowing whether this copper hanging over your head is live or not is a bit cumbersome with a multimeter.

 

Not to mention impossible with a multimeter. if you only have one copper thing there.

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1 hour ago, sometimewoodworker said:

Not to mention impossible with a multimeter. if you only have one copper thing there.

This is one of the big advantages of the neon and its "one wire" friends. Of course you could get hold of the second wire of your meter (on AC volts you won't die).

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1 hour ago, NilSS said:

For quick and safe verification of a circuit status, I have one of these in my pocket at all times. It also doubles as a handy little pocket torch. . .

https://www.fluke.com/en-th/product/accessories/lights/fluke-lvd2

 

You can buy them in Thailand from https://www.es.co.th

Nice. Sadly at 1,700 Baht most will be buying the 40 Baht neon.

 

I have a little Stanley LCD tester, no batteries and it's not truly non-contact but it works without me touching anything metallic. 

 

Invariably the neon is in my pocket (it's also a screwdriver) so it gets used ?

 

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