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Electric Circuit Testers and How They Work

Contractors, electricians, DIY handymen, and hobbyists make use of various electric circuit testers to assess different functions and parameters including voltage, resistance, continuity, and current. They come in various shapes and sizes. Here at Metrotest, we offer a wide range of electrical testers that can be used to assess electrical panels, wires, transformers, circuit breakers, and other electrical components. 

Need one for your project but not sure which one you should get? Learn more about the different electric circuit testers you can find in the shop and how you can use them in the short guide below.  

Insulation Testers

Wiring insulation ages over time, affecting its ability to protect against electrical faults. As a result, it’s a must to take the necessary steps to correct or mitigate insulation issues. One of the devices used to determine possible insulation concerns is the insulation tester. It measures resistance in motor windings and wires to determine whether there’s damaged or leaky insulation. By doing so, you can prevent issues like blown circuits and arc faults. Detecting current leakage can also protect against fatal electrical shocks or fires.

High Voltage Insulation Testers

Need to measure the insulation resistance of a high voltage device? Instead of using an ordinary tester, it’s better to use a high voltage insulation tester. This type of tester can be used on equipment that uses anywhere from 2500 volts or more. You can choose from a variety of high voltage insulation tester models, depending on the specific features you need such as data transfer and data logging. 

Power Quality Analysers

It’s virtually impossible to find flawless power quality because of equipment malfunction, excess consumption of power, service interruptions, and several other factors. Unfortunately, poor power quality can result in loss of production and damage to equipment. To minimise such risks, it’s ideal to analyze power quality on a regular basis. Utilise devices such as power quality analysers to gauge the load’s capacity to function given a certain range of electric power. The tester would show various parameters including AC power, frequency, AC voltage, peak demand, and electrical demand. 

Loop Testers

Another way to protect equipment from damages is through the use of loop testers. Essentially, a loop tester determines whether devices such as circuit breakers and fuses can protect against electrical fault. The goal is to ensure that the circuit disconnects quickly during power interruptions to eliminate the risks of overheating and fire. You can shop for a wide range of loop tester at Metrotest. For example, you can opt to buy standalone models or multi-function types. 

Cable Location Equipment

Sometimes, it’s difficult to find live and non-live wires and plumbing work in a property. Fortunately, you have the option to use specialised equipment such as a cable and pipe locator. It eliminates guesswork on the site. Regardless if the wires or pipes are buried on the ground or concealed behind a wall, wire and cable location equipment can help you get the job done right. 

Clamps and Digital Multimeters

Need to measure current? A clamp meter is the perfect tool for the job. It features jaws that clamp around a wire to gauge the magnetic field produced when current flows and a digital multimeter to measure parameters such as capacitance, voltage, resistance, and continuity buzzer. You can select from a wide range of clamp meters and digital multimeters. Choose one according to the functionalities available and the tester’s quality.

RCD testers

Most electrical accidents and fatalities can be prevented by devices such as residual current devices or RCD. These protective devices switch off power to a circuit to prevent electric shock and other accidents. To check if an RCD still works properly, you can use an RCD tester to safely trip the device. The faster the device trips, the better protection it can provide from fatal electric shocks.    

Multifunction Installation Testers

Looking for an all-in-one tester for your home o business? A multifunction tester is the best equipment to have in your toolbox. They come in handy when checking whether an installed wiring or electrical system adheres to the industry standard. Each multifunction electrical circuit tester model offers varying features. Hence, it’s best to check the device’s specification before purchasing.  

Find the right tester you need here at MetroTest

A variety of electrical issues may arise over time. The worst part is that they might remain unnoticed until something unpleasant happens. As such, you must conduct regular testing of electrical circuits and your equipment. This way, you can ensure everyone’s safety. It also gives you peace of mind knowing that your equipment works seamlessly and will continue in doing so for years. 

 

Protect your equipment from potential damages caused by power surges and other factors and prevent mishaps with the right electric circuit tester. Check out our testing devices here at MetroTest today. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to our team anytime.   

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Come Work For Metrotest, Apply Now!

CHRISTCHURCH SALES

Metrotest are seeking a genuine person to join our team as a sales rep.

We are looking for the following attributes:

  • Electrical background beneficial but not required
  • Relates well with all walks of life.
  • Great communication skills
  • Self-starter

The level of this position is flexible – the right attitude and a desire to be part of a great team taking a growing business to the next level, could see this role being just as suitable for a junior go-getter or for an experienced sales rep. This role would also suit someone with a trade background

This is a primarily Christchurch based position however travel to other centres will be required. Proven sales experience would be advantageous. This role will also incorporate expanding our current test and tag business.

Applicants for this position should have NZ residency or a valid NZ open work visa.

Please submit a cover letter and curriculum vitae to:sales@metrotest.co.nz

Please attach Visa or supporting documents as required

 

AUCKLAND TESTING

Metrotest is seeking a Test and Tag Technician to fulfil the roll of a Testing Technician in the Auckland Region. Full technical training will be provided. This role involves the testing of plug in electrical equipment (heavy physical work is not a part of this roll).

Applicants MUST be legally entitled to work in New Zealand (NZ) and hold a CURRENT WORK VISA which needs be submitted with the application – and must be able to obtain and maintain CAA and Defence Clearance as well as undergoing a Police Check

This role is primarily based in the Auckland Region; however, there will be periods where you will be expected to work further afield.

If you have.

– Good computer skills.

– Attention to detail and finishing the job off right the first time

– A professional and courteous manner to other employees and customers

– Excellent customer service skills.

– Clean Current driver’s license

– Be able to pass CAA, Police and Defence Clearance

And you are.

– Extremely reliable and dependable.

– Able to work unsupervised.

– Well-presented and professional when dealing with clients

– A team player.

– Able to periodically work away.

Then we want to hear from you. We will offer you.

– Negotiable wage – $40,000-$45,000.

– A conductive and safe working environment.

– An exciting new learning experience.

Metrotest strongly believes in Equal Employment Opportunity and encourages resumes from anyone who feels they can take on this role.

Applicants MUST be legally entitled to work in New Zealand (NZ) and hold a CURRENT WORK VISA which needs be submitted with the application – and must be able to obtain and maintain CAA and Defence Clearance as well as undergoing a Police Check

Due to the volume of applications likely to be received, we will only be contacting those short listed. If you have not heard from us within 10 days of application, you will not have made the list of short-listed candidates, however we will keep your CV on file should a similar position become available.

Applicants for this position should have NZ residency or a valid NZ open work visa.

Applications can be submitted by email to testingmanager@metrotest.co.nz

Please attach Visa or supporting documents as required

 

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Our New Online Courses are Live

As I am sure you know Metrotest have carried out Test and Tag Competency Training Courses all over New Zealand and Australia for a very long time and in recent years have also offered an online refresher course. Some people may not agree with a ‘refresher’ course, but the Standard AS/NZS3760, points to the necessity of this.

However, did you know that we have recently launched a brand-new online Test and Tag Full Competency training course? Now you do not have to even leave your building (I wanted to say your chair, but you can’t do the final Competency, one on one, individual Assessment sitting down!).

If you want to know anything about test ‘n’ tag or are looking at getting into the industry, you should continue reading as you could save yourself a lot of money. It’s not one of those satire commercials about saying you will. It really will! Carry on reading to find out.

So, our new online course is different. It’s a modern platform used on all devices, focused student learning, can save you a lot of money upfront, gives you personal time with the trainer and a loan if you need it. It is broken into three parts; Bronze, Silver and Gold and we are offering you a taste of the course (Bronze) for free to see if you think it’s for you. This overview will allow you to identify testing ‘fraud’ or pick up bad testing practices even if you do not want to do testing yourself. However, if you want to become competent, you will need to complete the three levels and sit a practical assessment. Sound a little daunting, long-winded, or expensive? It’s not. In fact, it’s everything you would cover in a full day’s course and is cheaper than what other companies offer.

https://www.metrotest.co.nz/product/courses/

Designed with a range of learning methods in mind, we wanted to make sure everyone had access to material in a way that is easy to understand and interactive to keep you interested. Want to listen to audio while reading or doing another task, you can. Like videos and pictures or just reading, it has that too.

You don’t even have to buy a Portable Appliance Tester to do the training (this is where you really can save money) as training is provided with the aid of a unique Portable Appliance Tester Simulator (PAT Simulator) that allows you to get a feel for testing before you have to buy one – you can’t break it, it’s virtual! When it comes time for your one on one Competency Assessment, we can send you a loan tester to use.

https://www.metrotest.co.nz/product/silver-2/

That’s right; we want to make sure the process is as smooth as possible and cost-effective. No one else currently offers this, and why would they because they want you to buy a tester. First and foremost, we want you to be SAFE. We see all too often others pressured into purchasing a tester before a course not understanding their needs and ending up with a lemon. We take that pressure off your shoulders.

https://www.metrotest.co.nz/product/gold-2/

Upon completion of each level of the online training there is a small quiz to make sure you have taken everything on board, When you complete the Gold and have your one on one assessment you will be issued with a Photo ID to prove your competency if challenged when testing.

We understand COVID has hit a lot of people in the pocket and that’s why we wanted to make sure these courses are affordable; hence the free level of Bronze to get you started.

There are several companies offering Test and Tag Training in New Zealand and Australia these days that have come from different beginnings. Metrotest started by making PAT Testers (not labels) and have electrical and training-based instructors and assessors.

So if you want real training from a company that has been Testing, Repairing, Training and selling test equipment for over 20 years in both New Zealand and Australia you can find us here www.metrotest.co.nz.

If you are still not convinced, try Bronze for free. What have you really got to lose? Find it here: https://www.metrotest.co.nz/product/courses/

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The Benefits of Metrotest’s PAT Services

Does the business you run depend on Portable Appliance Testing? Are test and tag services a key element of your operations? If this is the case, you should ensure that you have a reliable PAT tester. This way, your income will be unaffected, and you will keep your customers safe by checking their equipment.

Tag and Test services feature visual inspections of leads and equipment to find out what condition they are in. A PAT (Portable Appliance Tester) is a device used to carry out more detailed inspections, to verify the safety of this equipment for business or personal use. The majority of issues can be identified by visual inspection. Nonetheless, other kinds of issues are only discoverable by specialized tests.

The Benefits of Metrotest’s Services

Metrotest provides PAT repair and maintenance services. We carry out a regular yearly service, and calibration and repairs when needed. We offer a cost effective, quick calibration service on Sonel and Metrel Calibrators, and – if you can not manage without a tester while yours is being checked – we can arrange portable appliance tester rentals.

We prioritize safety above all else, and we know that most other people do too – which is why they want their electrical tools and appliances tested. Needless to say, you are required by law to do this in a professional environment. A Tag and Test professional can carry out the testing to make sure your tools and equipment are completely safe. A professional has the correct type of Portable Appliance Tester for tagging and testing. Also, he can use the testing equipment correctly, and accurately diagnose and interpret test data.

PAT Calibration Services

Our calibration services verify the accuracy of readings produced by Portable Appliance Testers. Testing equipment needs checking regularly for calibration, if it is out of spec. Then, it needs to be adjusted to bring it back into spec, before being marked as safe.

Frequent Service

Frequent service allows us to stop future malfunctions and breakdowns. We maintain your appliances and equipment, and carry out regular checks to prevent future issues.

PAT Repair Services

We tag and test, then fix tools and appliances that are malfunctioning. All our customers can access these services. We can help you maintain and care for your electrical tools.

We Handle Your PAT Requirements!

While PAT testing isn’t mandatory in New Zealand, employers are still required by law to maintain their their electrical tools and appliances, to avoid danger. All employers ought to consider how frequently their equipment is used, and what people are using it for.

If, over the course of an electrical inspection, it is evident that a non electrical danger exists – which might cause problems for the equipment operator or someone else – we inform you. We can help you address any issues highlighted during the tag and test procedure.

Metrotest should be your first port of call, if you require assistance with portable appliance tester repair. We offer an independent tag and test service, and – to stay independent and prevent any possible conflicts of interest – we WILL NOT perform repairs on any equipment that has failed, unless the customer requires this. Get in touch with us today, and we will be more than happy to discuss your needs.

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A Short Guide to PAT Calibration Services

Every now and then, businesses and companies need to have their electrical equipment tested for safety. This way, both customers and the employees of a company are protected from harm or accidents caused by a faulty device. Some of the common hazards brought in by a defective equipment includes electrocution, fire and intermittent connection.

This is why it’s important for business to ensure that the appliances used are deemed safe. So, this where where the Portable Appliance Testing or PAT tester comes in. It’s a specialised device used to assess whether the appliance meets the standard safety guidelines.

What is a PAT tester?

When assessing an equipment, an engineer or tester does a basic visual inspection of the piece of equipment. It could include looking at the cables, checking the insulation or finding any exposed metal parts. After the initial test, a more thorough examination comes in using the PAT tester, a more thorough assessment is in order. The test could include earth continuity, insulation resistance and lead polarity. When calibrated properly, the PAT tester can provide accurate readings.

How often do you need to calibrate a PAT testing device?

Just like any other testing equipment, a PAT tester also needs to regular calibration. A poorly calibrated device can result in an inaccurate assessment. It’s highly recommended to calibrate the tester you use once every 12 months. This holds true for any type of PAT tester.

Here at Metrotest, we don’t only provide calibration services. We offer MedCal or Medical + Calibration service for your PAT tester. Besides calibrating the equipment, we will open the equipment and find signs of potential issues such as internal wiring problem, damaged parts, defective batteries and overheated components.

 How much do PAT Calibration services cost?

The cost of calibrating and repairing a PAT equipment varies. To give you an idea of the rough cost of having your PAT tester calibration service, check the table below.

Seaward 3760, Aegis Patrol, TNT el, Kyoritsu 6201A Portable Appliance Testers (No adjustment available)

Calibration Check (for the above testers):

 

$150 plus GST
Metrel DeltaPAT MI300, AlphaPAT MI2142, Megger 150, EasiPAT 2/10, Seaward 3760 DL Portable Appliance Testers

Calibration Check & Adjustment where adjustment is possible

$220+gst
Metrel BetaPAT MI3303/MI3304/MI2141, Metrel SigmaPAT MI3310, Seaward Europa, Ethos 9600 Seaward Supernova, Portable Appliance Testers

Calibration Check & Adjustment where adjustment is possible

$290 plus GST
Sonel MetroIPAT , Meggar PAT 4, Meggar 420

Calibration Check & Adjustment (if required and possible)

$390 plus GST
 

If you would like to avail the MedCal service, check out the additional charges below:

Electrical Test Instrument$45+ gst
Printer Only$55 +gst
PAT and Printer$85+ gst

Ready to book a PAT calibration service?

Make sure your PAT tester is working properly. This way, you get to avoid getting a false or inaccurate assessment when you check the quality of the appliances or equipment you use in the workplace.

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Need To Calibrate Your Appliance Tester?

When I trained as an electrical apprentice in the 70s most test instruments were analogue and there were few of them; compared to what’s in an average sparky or techs tool case today. Back then, to be bluntly honest, very few Instruments ever saw the inside of a calibration lab, if they did it was most likely the people using them were involved in research and development, aviation or medical areas.

Today there are certain sections of industries that will get away without any checking of calibration, but the majority of specialized testers will be checked. From the 1940s to the 1990s the average sparky probably had ‘access’ to a ‘megger’, likely didn’t own it, but could gain access to one if he needed to use it. When I say megger (not the brand) I’m meaning a high voltage Insulation Resistance Tester which back then the probable output voltage was 500 and early units before the 1970s were hand driven wind up models!

The only other common instrument was the ‘Multi meter‘; again analogue until the late 70s and DMMs (digital multi meters) started turning up about the same time as females joined our industry, not sure what the connection is, but I’m sure we would be worse off without them.

Today things are totally different; some people tend to like and use stand alone instruments while others use multi function ones; there are advantages and disadvantages both ways.

That said; most electricians will have, as a minimum, the ability to do the following tests, either from a Multi function Instrument or stand alone tester. Loop test, RCD trip time and ramp current, RCD Phase rotation, 250-1000V insulation resistance test, earth resistance test. On top of this they’ll have a Multi meter and ……some other things like a PAT Tester, Cable Locator, Lux Meter, Tacho’s, Thermal Imaging Camera. Anyone comparing then and now will see the huge increase in the number of test Instruments in use and with this then also comes the need to make sure these Instruments are working correctly AND giving correct readings.

Today if there is actually a failure in the hardware itself it is likely to appear on start up, the instrument will lock the user out or display ‘Hardware Error’; effectively making it inoperable until it’s been repaired, BUT if the Instrument is just giving incorrect readings of the results this WILL NOT normally be obvious, hence all results may be meaningless! This will, potentially, open a mine field in the worst case scenarios when it comes to liability and insurance claims. I can assure the reader from first hand experience that unfortunately the one in a thousand chance can; and does happen; to someone and probably to everyone at some time.

So the question is what test instruments should have the calibration checked, how often and where should this be done?

Priority should be placed on the instruments YOU use and use frequently where accuracy of the results is crucial, for example most people will have excess measuring abilities amongst their test instruments that they may NEVER use. Let’s consider a PAT Tester (Portable Appliance Tester), these testers have multiple test functions often including an RCD test function, if you never use this function as you use a stand alone RCD tester, then accuracy of this function is irrelevant as you don’t use it!

Or another example with a PAT, most have a substitute leakage test function, this is not recognized as a valid test under AS/NS legislation, therefore why would you care about the accuracy of these results?


Or the Multi function Installation Tester that has a lux meter function you never use, again in this case accuracy doesn’t matter. The point is everyone will have different requirements on accuracy amongst their kit, focus on what’s essential first, going back to the analogue instruments many of you may have used in the past, sometimes all we were looking for was ‘meter needle movement’ that was sufficient for what you were doing. Accuracy is not essential everywhere, but where it is essential calibration needs to be verified, usually this will be outsourced to a calibration facility.

 

The other thing to be considered is the likelihood of damage or abuse which may happen to a tester; this will increase where something is used frequently, moved around a lot and there are multiple users. Metrotest have approx 30 PATs in use within our own testing business used by our techs, these PATs are normally checked for calibration and adjusted, where necessary, every 6 months BUT these PATs will likely do 150 tests per day AND accuracy of these results is essential. We don’t need to calibrate this frequently, but our use level is very high, so it makes sense for us to do it this frequently. I do however have to say if you have ISO/IANZ accreditation or a similar auditing system there will be specific requirements you have to meet to maintain the accreditation.

Before Sending Test equipment for calibration you’ll need to decide where. A few things you need to consider here are:

• What experience, expertise and qualification does the company you’re thinking of sending your test equipment to have?
• What calibration equipment do they have? There are the backyard operations which operate with very basic calibration equipment. These companies are mainly geared to on online sales, often focusing on PAT sales, giving dodgy advice and training, to them it’s just dollars! I would personally avoid these knowing what I know, this probably sounds like a competitors sales pitch, but remember sometimes it can be true!
• Companies that are authorized distributors of manufacturers with their own in house full service and repair facility, in my opinion, are your best option.

In one of our calibration labs we have lots of specialized calibration equipment which mostly costs in excess of ten thousand, 3 new units are costing around thirty thousand a piece! Much of our own lab equipment is sent out to other external labs for its calibration check; obviously we only do this where we can’t do it internally. You can buy calibration test boxes for under a thousand dollars, how will you know what they use to check the calibration of your testers? The results on the calibration certificate (if provided ) should have numerical value results of each test checked by the calibrator, some of our latest calibrators will automatically check/adjust where necessary and print results automatically (we can sell you one almost one hundred thousand dollars each). Our soldering irons used in the calibration/repair lab are four thousand dollars each. The head of our calibration lab comes from an avionics background, he’s not into its ‘ rough enough’; unfortunately that’s not the case everywhere!

Calibration passwords are often also required on test instruments, without these the calibration lab will likely NOT be able to perform adjustments if adjustments are required and they will also not be able to remove calibration reminders if they are displayed without this password. Calibration labs WILL NOT usually give these out to any non authorized parties, including other calibration labs, most will have legal agreements with manufacturers preventing them doing so.

So moral of story is CHECK BEFORE SENDING testers to calibration facilities that they will have the ability to do adjustments and remove calibration reminders. Think of it like this; if you buy a new Mazda car and it needs some work you wouldn’t take it to the Nissan dealer for technical support. Nor should the Mazda dealer have to give out technical information to non verified third parties who may not necessarily be experienced to do the necessary work without risking harm to the car. By not giving out this information they are helping to protect your car against misadventure.

Another service Metrotest offers, some others may as well, is what we call ‘MedCal’ (medical and calibration). This effectively is a service (not repair) on equipment being calibrated, it costs a little more but may be beneficial in preventing breakdowns. Our experienced technicians will look for upcoming problems that could cause a major problem in the near future. Things looked at will include internal battery voltages, internal connections, checking for signs of overheating, looking for loose screws/fittings as well as a clean out and in some circumstances lubricating moving parts. This MedCal can be done on various equipment, it seems particularly popular for PAT testers and their printers and Seaward, Metrel, Megger are all common brands which may have this service, it’s not just units we have sold.

All SupaPATs, including the AlphaPATs, METROiPATs and any other printing PATs like Sonel, Megger and Seaward are all available for the MedCal service, just let us know when booking a calibration and we can let you know the costs.

Calibration costs vary depending on what is involved in the calibration and between service providers, sometimes the cost of calibrations will make some things like cheap clamp and multi meters uneconomical to calibrate.