How To Test Circuits

Hi friends in this article I will share with you a book about How To Test Circuits

There are a variety of tests you can perform on your outlet receptacles and several different tools you can use to do it. For example, a multitester is a broad-purpose tool used by electricians, and it can be used to perform a variety of tests. But for most homeowners, a very simple little tool called a neon circuit tester can test outlets for grounding, and also perform several other diagnostic tests. Best of all, it costs just a few dollars.

Among the most important tests is determining if your outlets are properly grounded. The home grounding system is an important safety feature, designed to help channel electricity “to ground” in the case of a short circuit. A properly grounded electrical system is much less likely to cause fires or shocks if a short circuit should occur. 

Testing receptacles are also helpful if you do your own electrical repairs. It will help you determine if the power is off before you work on wiring, and will also verify that you’ve done repair work correctly. 

Depending on the age of your house, your receptacles will be one of two types. Either they will be two-slot polarized outlets or three-slot grounded receptacles. This article will show how to use the neon circuit tester to test your receptacles for power, reversed wiring, and grounding. 

What You’ll Need

If you have an older home, you may have outlet receptacles that have only two vertical slots for accepting plug prongs—not the three-slot outlets found in newer homes. 

If you look closely at one of these two slot receptacles, you may notice that one slot is wider than the other. This is known as a polarized receptacle, and if it is wired correctly, the hot circuit wire will be connected to the narrower slot, with the neutral circuit wire connected to the longer slot. 

  1. Test for PowerTo test for power on a polarized receptacle, place one probe of the neon circuit tester in the smaller slot and the other probe into the larger slot. If the tester lights, you have established that the receptacle is powered up and you can continue testing.
  2. Test for GroundOnce you verify that you have power, remove the probe from the longer slot and touch it to the screw in the center of the cover plate. If the tester lights up or registers, the outlet is grounded and wired correctly, and your job is done. If not, continue to the next test.

Test for Reversed Wiring

Place one probe of the tester into the long (neutral) slot and the black lead on the center screw of the cover plate. If the tester lights, you have established that the receptacle is wired incorrectly. The hot and neutral wires are reversed and should be switched to make a correct connection. This will normally be a matter of switching the screw terminal connections on the receptacle.

Test for Absent Ground

Now try placing one probe of the tester on the screw in the middle of the cover plate and place the other probe into each of the other slots (small and large slots) one at a time to see if the tester lights. If it doesn’t light for either slot, the receptacle isn’t grounded. This is a situation that may require the attention of a professional electrician to troubleshoot and correct the problem. 


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