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Re: Usage How To
To measure the voltage at an electrical outlet requires the use of a multimeter. Always test your test equipment for proper operation before use. Set the multimeter to AC voltage. The markings may appear as VAC, AC V, or a V beneath a wavy line. Choose the AC voltage closest to the voltage you will measure. Standard current in home and businesses in the USA is in the range of 110 to 120 volts. Some circuits used for equipment such as dryers, air conditioners, electric stoves, ovens and other large equipment may use voltage in the range of 220 to 240 volts. These heavy-duty circuits can be identified by their non-standard outlet plugs. While grasping the insulated portion of the probes (never touch the metal conductor during testing) place one probe into each of the two terminals. The multimeter will display the voltage. Carefully remove the probes, being careful not to touch the metal part of the probes to anything or each other. The voltage should typically test in the range of 108 to 121 volts for most circuits. If voltage is higher or lower, professional electrical service may be required.
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Voltage testers and volt meters are two different things. A meter will provide a an indication of the exact voltage and type AC or DC. A tester on the other hand simply provides an indication of presence of power with little to no indication of how much or type.
AC power is what is provided by most power companies in the world. DC is a type of power provided by batteries and DC power supplies. If your tester or meter has provisions to check for AC and DC, you should check for BOTH. If AC power is present and you are have set your meter to test for DC power, your meter will indicate 0 volts. You can see this can be a dangerous condition. Most simple testers will not care if AC or DC power is being tested and the types that use neon lamps will usually glow differently for AC and DC power.
When setting up for testing voltage, you must test across the power source (or in "parallel") or load (such as a light bulb), as opposed to "in series" with the power source. Across would be from the + to - post of a battery, into the slots of an outlet, etc. "In series" is when the tester would be completing a circuit - such as testing across an open switch.
First, check the meter's operation by testing a known good power source by following the next steps. Set the meter for the type power to be tested. Choose AC if unsure. Next, set the meter for the highest voltage range supported. Make sure this range is higher than the expected voltage, otherwise damage to the meter may result. Connect the probes to the power source. Read the meter. If the meter moved only slightly, adjust the range of the meter to the next lower value. You can keep adjusting downward as needed to get the most precise reading possible - but do not set the range to a value less than the voltage present. A 0-300 volt scale is the lowest to measure a 240 volt outlet - switching to a 0 - 150 volt scale will damage the meter. The 0 - 150 volt scale would be fine for measuring 120 volt outlets.
If the meter did not move, change the type from AC to DC. and repeat. If it still does not work, the meter is not working correctly (if testing a know good source) or there is no power present (if the meter worked on a known good power source).
The dc setting is for checking like the battery voltage in your car the ac is for checking the power inside your house to see if you have 110 at the outlet. DC setting can be used for testing flashlight batteries pen light batteries etc.
The "neutral" wire in home wiring is always the "white" wire. The hot line is always the "black" wire or in the case of a multiple conductor, can be just about any color but white or green.
Green is circuit ground, the nasty 3rd pin on the plugs we use, but a very important safety feature.
When you have an "open neutral" reading it means that the "white" wire has come loose some place in your wiring. A broken or loose wire is referred to as an "open" in electrical terms.
I assume you are plugging an outlet tester in and get this indication. It may just be in the outlet you are testing or someplace else between the outlet and the circuit breaker.
It only takes a very tiny amount of current to measure voltage. There's always a little tiny current leakage going on, even without contact. Your tester is just telling you the voltage difference between it's own two terminals, even without the other terminal actually touching something, and that difference is 600 volts. Many years ago, my dad showed me a trick using one of those little voltage indicator lights that has little bulb that I think is a neon bulb. If you plug the leads into an outlet, the bulb glows brightly. But if you hold one lead in your hand and stick the other lead into the outlet, the bulb will glow very faintly if the lead is contacting the hot wire. It doesn't glow if you contact the neutral instead. This was very useful to identify hot wires in a box in days before those non-contact voltage detectors that beep.
For voltage test,set on AC and Voltage,and select a number scale higher than 115.Stick one probe in the large slot and the other probe in the other large slot.You do not need to check the smaller slot in the bottom/middle.If a negative sign shows up,it's okay.You just have the probes switched,it will not harm your meter.
I would start by determining if these 6 outlets are on the same circuit. Also I am usually not too confident in the non contact voltage tester you are using. They tend to give false positives if they contact anything or even if you move them fast. I would invest in an inexpensive multimeter whcih will allow you to test actual voltage across the poles and ground and also check for continuity between poles/ground (WITH CIRCUIT OFF ONLY).
the current reading on a tester is independent of the battery in the tester. The battery is there to provide a tiny amount of current so you can read the resistance on a circuit in ohms.
What probably happened is that the useage selector switch was in the wrong position when a measurement was made for voltage of other and being in the current position created a short and the current measurement circuit was burned out.
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