19 Jul The latest in electronic fault finding
Electronic fault finding is the process of running tests on electrical infrastructure (cabling, switches, fuse boxes) and sometimes electronic appliances to determine where an electrical fault is so it can be fixed safely and effectively.
To run these tests, electricians use handheld tools. This is necessary because electrical infrastructure can be hidden away, as is the case with wiring, or it can present no visual or perceptible issue, as is often the case with fuse boxes.
The latest in electronic fault finding is equipment that improves the fault-finding process through increased accuracy and reliability.
These fault-finding tools are getting better and better all of the time, which is why it’s important for electricians to keep an eye on what they are using and upgrade these things from time to time. Not only does this speed up the fault-finding process, it makes for higher quality service and a far quicker diagnosis.
The following tools are frequently used in electronic fault finding:
Cable fault finders
A cable fault finder is used to check faults in hidden or underground cabling. It enables electricians to check metres of cabling (often, in excess of 500m at a time) without having to pull the cabling which creates additional building work.
The benefit of a cable fault finder is it simplifies many common tasks, like measuring the distance of cable start to cable fault. Some fault finders give an audible warning in pitches, enabling electricians to make an early diagnosis.
These devices can range from a few hundred pounds to thousands. The latest models have a touchscreen interface and automatic setup.
Voltage detector pens
Voltage detector pens are a simple form of multimeter. They’re much more compact, being around the same size as a pen.
A good example is the Fluke 1-AC-II which can detect AT IV 1000V AC Voltage. It’s used in the trade and is also popular with homeowners.
These tools are simple but effective – and anyone can use them.
Multimeters measure electrical current, enabling electricians to test voltage and resistance quickly. This is useful for determining if an electrical point is receiving current. If it isn’t, this generally will mean there is a fault somewhere.
The latest multimeters go beyond an analogue dial and cables. The Fluke 179 is good example of a top multimeter used in the trade. It has a digital readout and functions for continuity, capacitance, AC/DC voltage and AC/DC current.
Some companies are also trying to revolutionise the market with smartphone-linked multimeters. A good example is Vion.
Multifunction testers do all the same things as digital multimeters, but they go further. A good example is the 6-in-1 multifunction tester from Kewtech. It enables electricians to run RCD tests, earth fault loop impedance tests, insulation tests and more.
These tools are expensive but electricians who regularly work on particularly complex electrical projects find them invaluable. We at Brightlec do too, which is why we have a few multifunction testing tools in our kit bag.