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How to conduct electrical tests

Being able to administer a range of electrical tests is a great way to protect your family and make sure that your appliances are working at the peak of their condition. In this article, we'll show you how to use a range of tests and equipment to find fault and prove the electrical safety of electrical equipment in and around your home.

Basics

Before you get started there are some absolute essentials that need to be observed. The first is that if you are going to take an appliance apart, then you should have it isolated from the mains supply, this way, there is no chance of receiving an electrical shock. The second important consideration is to be able to administer a good visual check. This is the first stage of both equipment safety testing and diagnostics and fault finding. To do a visual test, start by examining the casing. -Are there any cracks or holes?
-Has there been any water or other liquid damage.
-Are all fixings in place; if they are, are they originals? Look for signs of tampering with the case such as screw head witness marks and broken tamper seals. This will give you an indication of the condition of your appliance. Check the insulation and power connector. Are there any splits or cracks in the insulation? Can you see any exposed secondary insulation or even worse, bare wire. If this is the case then you need to replace the cabling immediately. Whilst cables can be repaired and mended with a soldering iron and insulation tape, if you see any of these fixes that you did not personally do, assume they are not safe. Consider replacing the entire cable or at the minimum, check and test the repair.

Using equipment

An electrical tester will use a variety of portable test equipment. Remember to isolate any mains equipment before working on it. Your life is worth more than the few pounds you will save by delivering faulty mains electrical items to a registered repair centre. The easiest way is to use piece of testing equipment which is a portable appliance tester. UK PAT testers are required to attend PAT tests courses before being able to use a PAT tester in the work place. No technical knowledge is required and you do not have to be an electrician. PAT testers simply show a green life if the equipment is safe and a red light if it is not. If you want to get into fixing equipment and maintenance, buy a good quality multimeter and learn how to use it. The most useful function is to gain familiarity with the continuity test mode.

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