The market is filled with devices that are designed to give you a fast and easy indication of the electrical condition in numerous socket-outlet circuits. However, all these devices, have the function to do some of the basic diagnostics that can be found is socket-outlet circuits, and simpler versions can be connected on to them, to find certain other faults, which can be very dangerous at the time.
In addition, no socket tester, an advanced or professional device, can give you the certainty that a socket tester is safe to handle. Before you decide to buy one for yourself, just learn how many types of socket testers are out there and how they will affect your work.
Socket tester types
There are three types of socket tester: Simple, advanced and professional. Simple devices, their primary function is to detect various faults. Still, they cannot display or make any calculation of the effectiveness of the fault loop impedance or label some other dangerous faults. Advanced and professional devices are created with the purpose to detect a bigger spectrum of faults, and can calculate and show the effectiveness of the protective earthing. These next-level devices display either the range of earth fault loop in numbers or the value of loop impedance. The process of interpreting the numerical values requires knowledge of the highest value of the earth fault loop that is allowed for the protective device to provide automatic detachment. Whether the value will reach its highest point depends on the type and rating of the protective device.
Simple testers are devices that are usually identical in size and look like a 13 A plug and usually cost less than $40 each. They are beneficial devices because they will in most cases, show whether a socket tester is in working condition and is able to detect faults, containing, in most situation, everted live and earth connections, which can have very dire consequences. However, simple test devices can always detect the absence of an earth, they are inadequate to measure the earth impedance at the socket tester and might in some cases, imply that it in good condition where the earthing is out of place. Manufactures not always provide the needed knowledge on their manuals or safety tips, and can very easily mislead the user into believing that his socket tester is working in normal condition, where in fact it is not.
Advanced tester usually cost between $80 and $140. These electrical devices are on a higher level than the simple ones because they use extra components and tech to calculate and indicate the fault loop impedance. They are provided with normal check functions that the simple devices posses, including reversed line and neutral line. An advanced socket tester displays bigger range of numerical values of Earth fault loop values. Every value you get, it depends on the particular range of values and type of protective rating that is connected on to provide controlled disconnection of supply in even of an earth fault.
Professional socket-tester typically cost around $100 plus. These devices meet the highest requirements of testing that the AUS regulations have. They generally take the form of an earth fault loop test device that is used in conjunction with a lead equipped with a plug to suit the socket-outlet that is to be tested. This equipment shows the numerical value of the earth fault loop impedance rather than a spectrum of numerical values into which the measurement falls.