Polarity Testers

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TAZMAN

Member
Hello,
I have a questions about the testers that plug in to a receptacle to check for proper polarity. Does any one know how these testers work? Does it check the hot to the equipment grounding conductor and the grounded conductor to the equipment grounding conductor. The reason I ask is because I have had these testers indicate reverse polarity when the polarity is correct. I have had this happen quiet often when there is not an equipment grounding conductor wired to the receptacle. I have verified proper polarity by going to a grounded water pipe or to a receptacle that has a equipment grounding conductor. I realize that the receptacle still has to be grounded properly. So my question is only about how the tester works and if any one else has experienced the same thing with the tester indicating reversed polarity?
 

480sparky

Senior Member
I've had incorrect readings on these as well. I remember it was on a GFI recep that had been wired correctly, but the tester was telling me the hot and ground were reversed. I wasted two hours finding out that a $12 tester was wrong. :mad:
 

480sparky

Senior Member
It was years ago, so I don't remember what brand it was. I do remember going out and finding a brand that was not supposed to give you a false reading like that, but I couldn't even tell you what brand I have in my puch today.

Getting old sucks. Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most. My memory was the second thing to go.
 

sparky_magoo

Senior Member
I believe they just have three neon lights.

One from hot to nuertral.

One from hot to ground.

One from ground to nuetral.

Mine gave a false reversed polarity reading Thursday. It was an open ground.

I really hate it when a GC foreman issues a punch list stating a polarity reversal at a receptacle, when the ground is open.

I don't mind being told there is a problem, but don't tell me how to effect the repair. Unless you are an electrician.

It's like when someone tells me to replace a faulty AFCI breaker, when there is a nuetral to ground fault on the ckt.
 

TAZMAN

Member
The testers I have are a few years old. One is called a "SNAPIT" and is U.L. listed. The other one is a "COMMERCIAL ELECTRIC" it to is U.L. listed and says made in CHINA.
 

walkerj

Senior Member
I use the commercial electric with gfi tester and never had a problem with them. I do get a new one every six months or so either because i misplaced it or i gave it to a new helper.
I could see it going bad though. Especially bein tossed around the toolbox
 

chris kennedy

Senior Member
walkerj said:
I do get a new one every six months or so either because i misplaced it
I leave them pluged in. It's like a night light for the new HO.

I use a Greenlee GT-10. I think under $20. Hasn't lied to me yet.
 

sparky_magoo

Senior Member
I use an Ideal. It is supposed to have brighter LEDs. I have also used the Commercial Electric. I didn't care for it only because people might think I buy my test equipt. at big box stores.

I didn't care for the Greenlee, because of the way the LEDs are angled away from each other.
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
GFI button is not the required way to test GFI. Button won't trip GFI if there is no equipment ground, the GFI test button creates the 4-6ma imbalance internally around the CT coil and the plug in tester can't do that.
 

RAYMFL

Senior Member
I have had 2 short out in my hand when pressing the GFCI test button. Last one blew the center lens into my palm and ruined the receptacle and plate.
 

JohnJ0906

Senior Member
RAYMFL said:
I have had 2 short out in my hand when pressing the GFCI test button. Last one blew the center lens into my palm and ruined the receptacle and plate.
What brand?

Had you dropped it or damaged it somehow?
 

RAYMFL

Senior Member
Both were Greenlee. The first one just after taking it out of the package and using it for the first time. The second, a replacement for the first, about 6-8 months later. Can't say the second one was never dropped but it was not damaged in any way that was obvious. The day the second one shorted I had been using it throughout an inspection and it lasted to the very last GFCI receptacle.
 
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