So what exactly does an electrical tester do?
A staple for any DIYer, an electrical (or voltage) tester is a tool used to inspect and monitor electric components. For example, if you are about to begin work on an installation, you’ll need to use an electrical tester to be sure there is no voltage present that may pose a safety hazard. They can also be used for trouble shooting. Although there are many different types of electrical testers with an assortment of features, they are typically used during maintenance work or during electric installations. Common types of testers include: non-contact testers, two-wire volt testers, and outlet testers.
Two-Wire Volt Tester
This device is fairly simple and is used to detect currents passing through a circuit. A two-wire volt tester has two leads, one of which is connected to a ground reference. The other is used to test for current in a wire. After the lead is placed on the hot wire, a light will typically be activated on the voltage tester to indicate that voltage has been detected.
Among the simplest to use is the outlet tester. These devices typically have a set of lights, each corresponding to different information. They are simply plugged into the outlet, and a light will be activated depending on the voltage. The results can be read using a key that is provided with the device.
Non-contact testers do not actually touch live wires, hence the name. These testing devices are placed very close to the switch or outlet that is being tested, and results are then generated based on how much voltage was detected. Although this is a very brief overview of electrical testers, there are many different types available to suit your home improvement project.