ModeratorOctober 22, 2019 at 10:15 am
Hello! I’m looking for input, feedback, and your thoughts on a prongless electrical voltage meter. This is the first of its kind I’ve seen, and it looks pretty neat.
Basically, you don’t need test leads to measure voltage, but rather you place whatever you’re testing in between plastic-encased prongs and it’ll measure it through there. No electrical contact needed.
It looks as though it could be a much safer, easier device to use over the traditional voltage meters, so if anyone has had any experience with meters like this one, I’d be interested to hear what you think!
olivero - FloridaMemberOctober 22, 2019 at 10:42 am
My first initial thought is that it won’t work in a lot of kitchen places.
There’s a LOT of at point measuring, connections, terminal points, push connections, etc. This would be useful for a residential electrician, not much for our kind of stuff.
That’s just my opinion based on experience, I use my A meter which is similar but is a clamp but you can hang that anywhere on the wire to see the A draw.
It’d be interested in hearing how it works out for someone, I don’t think it would be that awesome and I think most people would just use the probes if they are working on kitchen stuff where everything is tight together.
ModeratorOctober 23, 2019 at 4:40 pm
Thanks for your feedback! I can definitely see how you wouldn’t be able to use it in certain fields, but would be perfect for others.
fixbear - ADK NYMemberOctober 23, 2019 at 4:48 pm
Absolutely for a pocket fast check. Field sensing has been around for a long time to sense a live wire. Think stud finders with power warning. But no one has been able to read accurate voltages till this one. One just has to know the limitations of the technology.
fixbear - ADK NYMemberOctober 22, 2019 at 12:11 pm
It has it’s limitations. Like only being able to measure only AC voltage over 16 volts Not being able to touch the wire with the tool or your hand. And we often have to pull a wire out of a group or harness, The need to ground the black lead. and with the field sense it is 3.5% accuracy and not true RMS. However with the leads and conventional testing it has excellent accuracy and true RMS. It will measure 1000 volts with field sense vs. most meters limited to 600 V. It will measure AC amps, but not DC. And definitely not suitable for gas control troubleshooting. I am a big fan of Fluke meters. I own 4 out of about the 16 I have bought over the years.
ModeratorOctober 23, 2019 at 4:46 pm
Thanks! This is also great feedback. Seems like it’s great for particular jobs.
AdministratorOctober 24, 2019 at 1:05 pm
My feeling (as someone who got a Fluke 23 for his 13th birthday) is that this is a product searching for a solution – but I could be proven wrong.
I don’t think I’ve ever worked with prongs and felt that it would be great if I could measure without them, especially if it means I need to become the ground (or earth since I am British!).
I will say though, I’ve never worked with anything commercial over 380V or with busbar, so perhaps there really are excellent use cases for “field sense”…
I’m looking forward to reading the review from one of our community members for this meter.
fixbear - ADK NYMemberOctober 24, 2019 at 3:20 pm
My first was a Simpson 260 Damn how I miss that meter. But it wasn’t low impedance. Then a BK that I hated. Had a couple of Sperry pen style before finally having the funds for a Fluke 87 Carried that meter for 19 years. And I still use it occasionally but with a bad screenI also have a Tif and a field scope. I did have to borrow a fluke 998 once to find a problem that the local power company said didn’t exit. And they still haven’t fixed it to this day due to the cost of replacing a sub station with different transformers that caused a 4 degree lag in one phase. They instead paid for me to install a ABB soft start big enough for the kiln plant. Nice how everything smoothed out with a perfect waveform.
ectofix - NashvilleMemberNovember 3, 2019 at 5:18 pm
The way I see it, this so-called prong-less meter is merely a fancy NCV detector. I can’t envision any situation where I could use such a device for anything other than sensing that there’s line voltage present. That device won’t tell you if you’re lacking a neutral. For that matter, if it were used in a 208vac circuit, I’ll bet it will only show just the voltage of one leg – which would be 115v or thereabouts.
Test leads on a conventional meter are the only means to walk through a circuit to prove that a DIFFERENCE in potential exists for a component to function. That is KEY for troubleshooting an electrical circuit – whether it’s HVAC equipment, cooking equipment…or a light bulb. Without a way to confirm that there’s a COMPLETE PATH for a component to PERFORM WORK, you can’t determine whether the problem is that component, a faulty connection, a bad wire, etc.
Also, using test leads to measure a difference in potential lends to another procedure in electrical troubleshooting: Voltage drop testing. To ME, performing voltage drop tests are just as easy as switching to read with the ohmmeter. However, the major advantage to voltage drop testing is that you’re actually looking for a source of resistance (or OPEN) while the circuit is under a load (think PITTED contacts in a switching device). An ohmmeter can’t be used to read circuit performance under those conditions.
I know that some folks contend that you shouldn’t be poking around in a live circuit due to safety concerns. However, you must consider that, often times, the only way you’re going to find a problem is to do your testing under the conditions which the problem arises. A dead circuit and a 9vdc ohmmeter does NOT replicate those conditions.
ANYWAY. So, an NCV detector…or this prong-less voltmeter – aren’t really suited for any actual troubleshooting.
I’ll add one more thing which really doesn’t apply to the question, but I’m on my soapbox now:
- Along with ohmmeter’s OTHER many uses that it’s suited for, it also has its place simply to VERIFY. Without getting into how I use it to do that, I’m merely pointing out a very important step in troubleshooting. Once you think you’ve reached a conclusion in your troubleshooting endeavors, VERIFYING (by whatever means you choose) leads to nearly 100% accuracy in a diagnosis.
- VERIFYING is singularly the MOST IMPORTANT step in troubleshooting to avoid replacing parts unnecessarily.
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