Question about IDEAL Vol-Con Xl Voltage/Continuity Tester

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Usage Repair My tester read the current wrong. Why? How can I fix that?

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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.

for more details, please follow up with questions/comments

Sincerely Loringh

Posted on Oct 14, 2008

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If batteries fail, it may appear that current is dead even if it is not. Note: always test the voltage-tester before using it.

Posted on Aug 27, 2008

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I JUST PUT THE POSITIVE SIDE ON THE PANEL BOX LEG AND IT READS 600 VOLTS. WHY? THE GROUND SIDE OF METER IS NOT HOOKED TO ANYTHING


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.

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Ground Wire is testing as hot


Assuming you are in the United States, the convention with 120 volt ac circuits is that the Black is HOT, the White Neutral, and Green is Ground. Assuming your tester is a neon type light suitable for 120 volt ac circuits, the tester will illuminate when the tester leads touch the black hot and the white neutral, and also when the tester leads touch the black hot and the green ground. the tester should not illuminate when the leads simultaneously touch the white neutral and the green ground. It appears from your description that Your circuit description is operating correctly.. Surprise? ... your tentative assertion "when I touch the black hot wire and the copper ground wire with the tester. This is should not happen, correct?" this assertion (YOURS) is wrong, rather, it would be correct for it to illuminate between the black hot and the green(you say bare copper) ground. It sounds to me, if you need to ask this question, "YOU SHOULD NOT BE FOOLING AROUND WITH LETHAL 120 VOLT HOUSE VOLTAGES AND CURRENTS" I strongly recommend you should hire a licenced electrician. Besides getting electrocuted, you could set fire to the HOUSE, and maybe not when you are looking but when you are asleep, or away from home. PLEASE BE FORWARNED. thank you. Regards --- GooseBay_Camper

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Checking batteries


I assume a "DM-350a" is some kind of a digital multimeter. I Googled and found it might be a "A.W. Sperry DM350A 5 Function 17 Range Digital Multimeter" and looking at the ranges available on that meter, you can't really thest the battery "under load" the only reasonable way to test small batteries. the DC current only goes up to 200 milli amperes. A "C" or "D" size flashlight battery puts out 1 to 4 amps depending on conditions. That's 5 to 20 times the current readable by that meter. The volts on one of those batteries is probably 1.6 volts to 1.3 volts etc. If you live in the United States, I'd say go to Radio Shack and spend $5 to $15 and buy a battery tester like "Enercell Analog 9-Range Battery Checker, $14.99, Model 22-156, catalog # 22-156"
Then you and anyone in your family can read the instructions and test 8 or 9 different type batteries. Battery types: 1.5V button-cells, "AAA"/"N"/"AA"/"C"/"D", 6V, 9V, 12V, 15V and 22.5V..
This is not supposed to be an advertizement, and I have no interest in RadioShack,... but it's supposed to be instructional.

Small price, Good instruction to anyone who can read, and if anyone forgets, they can re-read. Testing a lot of batteries in a sitting goes very fast with these.

Differently, with the sperry, or any voltmeter, you'd have to select a resistor small enough to draw the current, and large enough not to overheat or burn, connect it and measure the loaded voltage drop, compare the voltage and current of the loaded battery, and compare it to that of a new battery, and a battery you might consider too weak for your application.. Voltage equals amps times resistance, and power equals amps squared times resistance... Really, buy a battery tester.
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When connected in parallel it reads the voltage drop across said component.
When connected in series the current flows thru the meter allowing the measurement of the current flowing thru circuit.
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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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