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EV Charger Testing: The Tools for the Job

An EV Charging station, like any electrical appliance, needs testing to ensure they are working correctly and safely. As electric cars are rather expensive, any issue that may arise from a faulty charging station could result in costly damage to the fragile electronics and batteries that power your EV.

How does EV charger testing work?

In order to properly carry out EV charging station testing one needs to be able to simulate the typical load conditions experienced by the charger. This tricks the charger into believing it is charging an EV while you carry out your testing.

Types of EV Charging station testers

Here at Metrotest we have a wide selection of testers fit for a variety of jobs. With EV charging station testing currently booming we thought we should outline some of our favourites.

MPI-540

The MPI-540 multifunction electrical installations meter is a go to choice for testing home appliances. But did you know it is the perfect tool for testing EV charging stations? This device allows for a truly straight forward testing experience, and can as mentioned be used for a variety of other tests. This makes it a must pick for anyone looking for a universal work horse.

EVSE-01

The EVSE-01 is an adapter designed for use with your multifunction electrical installations meter. Allowing you to easily interface with any AC electric vehicle charging stations with a type 2 connector. The EVSE-01 can also perform tests for both 1-phase and 3-phase stations. 

With 1 in 5 cars sold in New Zealand, September, 2021 were electric more people are installing chargers in their home than ever. Also it is recommended to test these chargers fairly regularly, as much as once every 12 months. If you need to expand your testing arsenal to account for EV charging stations check out our selection online so you don’t miss out on the action.

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RCD vs PRCD: Why are they needed?

A portable RCD is an essential part of any testers kit for any test & tag job. But what are they and why are they so vital for testing and tagging electrical devices. More importantly, how do portable RCD differ from a regular RCD?

What is a RCD?

A Residual Current Device is used to prevent electrical shocks or electrical fires. By measuring the current in a system it can detect whether the electricity is flowing through an unintended path and automatically shut off the circuit. For example if electricity enters a person the residual Current Device will cut the power before it can give you too nasty a shock. Potentially saving a life or preventing an electrical fire.

Typically you can find RCDs throughout your home in places such as in the fuse box. They may also be built into socket outlets and some extension cords.

Fire_test_and_tag

What is a PRCD?

A portable RCD is an especially useful piece of kit for any electrician or tester. By having a PRCD the user can guarantee their safety when working with an appliance that is of safety concern. It can plug into any standard socket and automatically cut the power when it detects any issues.

In fact, portable RCDs are so important they are often built into portable appliance testers

Whether you are a professional or planning on doing any DIY involving appliances, an RCD is a must have. Metrotest has a selection of reliable RCDs to choose from. Visit our store or get in contact with us to find the right portable RCD for you.

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Voltage Testers, Which One Do I Need?

Whether you’re a professional, hobbyist, or weekend warrior, having the proper voltage testers can make a big difference to your safety and the efficiency of your work. Essentially, a voltage tester helps you determine whether current flows into a piece of equipment. If current flows through a piece of equipment or an electrical outlet, the light or indicator of the tester will glow. Conversely, if the indicator doesn’t light up, it means that the equipment or outlet might be broken or flawed.

Let’s learn more about the specific types of voltage testers and which ones you should have in your toolbox.

Types of Voltage Tester

When testing for voltage, you can make use of specific types of voltage testers. For example, if your goal is to check for current, you will most likely need a simple neon tester. It’s the simplest type of voltage tester ideal for small projects. Besides the neon circuit testers, here are other types of voltage testers and other ways you can use them;

Analog Volt-Ohm Meter

It measures voltage or voltage changes. You can get the readings by looking at the needle pointer of the device. Permanent Volt-Ohm meters usually come as separate equipment. However, there are some cases when you can have them integrated in a multimeter device or similar.

Digital Multimeter

Primarily, digital multimeters measure voltage, resistance, and current. It’s a standard tool used in running diagnostic tests on all types of electrical equipment. Compared to its predecessor, digital multimeters provide more accurate readings. A typical modern-day digital multimeter also comes with additional features that can help you get more information about your electrical device.

Continuity Tester

The continuity tester is similar to a multimeter. However, it’s less complicated as it primarily focuses on checking whether a circuit is open or closed. Testing for a circuit’s continuity is crucial in identifying damage in a device’s critical electrical components. Continuity tests may also allow you to determine the quality of the soldering and measure resistance.

Voltage Detector

Similar to neon voltage testers, voltage detectors help you determine if current runs through an electrical device. However, instead of simply producing light signals, a voltage detector also makes sound signals to indicate a flowing current.

Non-contact Voltage Tester

Otherwise known as inductance testers, this type of voltage testing equipment is arguably the safest and easiest option to use. As its name suggests, it doesn’t require you to touch an electronic device or wire with this tester. Instead, the wand automatically senses voltage. It’s a standard option among homeowners and hobbyists.

Solenoid Voltage Tester

Solenoid volt meters detect polarity and voltage. Most electricians use this tester because it works for both AC and DC voltage that reaches a maximum of 600 volts. You can easily find one at electrical supply companies as well as retail shops.

Digital Clamp Meter

Professional electricians also have a digital clamp meter in their toolbox. Essentially, this device works as a multimeter but offers more functionalities. The jaws of the clamp meter open and close around a conductor allowing for a reading to be displayed on the meter.

Insulation Tester

An insulation tester utilises a high voltage DC charge to test and measure resistance in wires and electronic components. Primarily, it detects current leakage or broken insulation. If you have such problems, then your device or electrical system might be at risk of fire, blown fuses, tripped circuit breakers and arc faults.

Loop Tester

Loop testers can help you assess if a fuse or circuit breaker can protect your electrical system should a fault or disruption occur. It also allows you to determine if your existing circuit can disconnect fast enough to reduce risks for overheating or fire.

Find the Right Electrical Testing Tool at Metrotest

Here at Metrotest, we offer a variety of electrical testing tools. Besides voltage testers, we offer all kinds of tools that can help you maintain the safety of your appliance, electronic device, or electrical system.

Here’s a quick list of the products you can find at our shop:

Electrical Testing ToolsPrice Range
Insulation Testers$715 to 3,600 incl GST
Loop Testers$1080 to 3,900 incl GST
Clamps and Digital Multimeters$174.80 to 375 incl GST
High Voltage Insulation TestersGet a quote today!
Power Quality Analysers$2,733.70 to 14,960 incl GST
Multifunction Installation Tester$1,430 to 3,600 incl GST
Cable Location Equipment$2,047 to 18,850 incl GST
RCD Testers$333.50 to 1,430 incl GST

 

Learn more about our product offers at Metrotest today! You can send us a quick message or call us at 0800 638 768.

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PAT Servicing

Like cars, portable appliance testing (PAT) devices need preventive maintenance and calibration to ensure top performance. A faulty car may still run, but it may not be safe to drive in. Similarly, a faulty tester may still work, but it may pass items that are actually unsafe. It’s a risk you don’t want to take.

When you’re a test and tag service provider, businesses will rely on you to ensure the safety of their electrical machines, so ensuring the accuracy of your readings is your responsibility. There should be no margin for error.

In some testing cases, a small discrepancy in the results could mean the difference between an electrical device passing or failing incorrectly. For example, when you’re performing tests on Class II appliances where you get minute values to begin with.

Our PAT tester is only a few months old, when does it need calibrating?

Most new machines are calibrated in the production plant by the manufacturer. So you won’t need to have it tested or calibrated until it is a year old.

In the test and tag industry, the general consensus is that servicing PAT devices must be done every 12 months regardless of the type of tester you use. It is also stated in the AS/NZS 3760 Standard that regular intervals are necessary to ensure your PAT equipment is working as it should.

However, if you suspect something is wrong with your PAT tester, you should book a repair immediately. Or if you are testing frequently, you might need to have a calibration done sooner.

Do you service PAT testers that were not bought from you?

Yes, we do! We calibrate and repair all major brands of portable appliance testers, such as:

  • Megger
  • Seaward
  • Metrel
  • Sonel
  • Fluke
  • Aegis
  • Ethos
  • MTI

We have a wide knowledge base and a vast experience across different product types including standard testing devices.

What does servicing involve?

Our in-house repair team performs a comprehensive calibration service, including testing, refurbishing, dismantling and firmware upgrades (when necessary). You can opt for a ‘MedCal’ or medical + calibration, where our techs will open up the tester, clean it out and check for signs of trouble such as loose fittings, overheating, internal battery voltage issues, etc. We make sure to cover all major parameters to a high degree of precision, using the latest diagnostic equipment.

If a tester with printer is sent for a service, we may require you to send the printer in for a check as well. Printer repairs done by us include the brands TSC, ProTag, Sato, Intermec and Zebra. Should our repair team find minor issues or broken parts, we will advise you on the best recourse and if any delays are to be expected due to parts needing to be ordered. The good news is our repair facility in Blenheim stocks a wide range of parts for PAT testers, printers and scanners, so it’s not likely that your device will be out of service for long.

How long does it take?

It will take around five days to have a tester calibrated. But since we have our own in-house technicians and comprehensive facilities, the turnaround time for repairs is just a few days. It might seem too long for a tester to be out of service, but it’s certainly worth taking the time to ensure results are correct.

Meanwhile, to reduce your down time, you may hire one from our range of modern PAT devices while the old one is being fixed. We’ll definitely one to lend that is identical or similar to your own tester. This will help you to keep business going as usual.

Quality Control

All testers that arrive at our calibration house are handled and repaired in accordance with our stringent repair procedures. We use equipment and calibration certificates that are fully traceable to national and international standards.

We store all calibration data digitally, making it easy to locate your results should you lose your calibration certificate. In which case, we can easily email you a copy of your calibration results.

How do I request for servicing?

Download and fill out a Metrotest Service Form to book a repair. Then, either ship your tester or drop it at any of our two repair facilities in New Zealand. Once repairs/calibration is done, we will have it shipped back to you along with your calibration certificate. We’ll also give up reminders for when your tester is next due for its regular servicing.

Contact us on 0800 638 768 for a quote or for more information!

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Test and Tag Equipment

There are different tools used in the testing of electrical equipment and appliances. Here are some of the commonly used ones.

Clamp meters

This is a fairly easy to use test tool for measuring current. It combines a basic digital multimeter with a current sensor. As the name suggests, you clamp the hinged jaw of this tool around a wire, cable or other conductor at any random point in an electrical system. It will then measure the current in the circuit without disconnecting it.

This tool is preferred for measuring high levels of current, with a minimum current range of 0 A to 100 A. Other clamp meters go up to a range of 600 A or 1400 A. It’s a good tool for electrical safety and maintenance, but there are more reliable tools when it comes to compliance.

Multimeters

Also known as a volt-ohm-meter, a multimeter is a handheld device used to measure current (amperage), electrical voltage, resistance and other values. It comes in analog and digital versions. Electricians use it for simple tests as well as for detecting faults and complex diagnostics.

Portable appliance testers

Portable appliance testers (PATs) are handheld or compact devices that test a range of electrical equipment and appliances for different values, i.e. earth continuity, current leakage, insulation, etc.

PATs record details about each test which can be printed on a special tag that contains a PASS/FAIL remark or the actual test values.

At Metrotest, we use PATs for their reliability and accuracy. The devices we use are compliant with the AS/NZS 3760 Standard (In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment). Below are some of the test tools we trust and recommend:

  • Metro iPAT SupaPAT – A comprehensive testing package that includes a user-friendly Sonel Metro iPAT Standard Set, thermal transfer printer, scanner and software – all in a specially designed carrier bag.
  • Metro iPAT – A safety and compliance tester with user-friendly operating software (OS) with easy data management. Features Dual Time Tags (DTT) which makes retesting easier. Other features include: manual & automatic test codes; single test ability; high-current earth bond test; RCD tests both installation and portable RCDs (includes ramp test).
  • Sonel Metro EasiPAT – A compact and reliable portable appliance tester for do-it-yourself testing. It comes in handy when testing residual current, leakage, insulation, polarity and earth bond (200mA, 10A). It features a 1-push test selection, light-up LCD display, direct Wi-Fi capability and a Pass/Fail indicator.
  • Megger 150R – A cost-effective portable appliance tester that packs in functionality. The PAT150R is ideal for a wide variety of testing applications such as dual insulation testing (250/500V), portable equipment testing, portable RCD lead testing (10mA/30mA), and mains powered leakage testing (230V). It has adjustable PASS testing limits and onboard rechargeable batteries.
  • Metro 6201A – An entry-level portable appliance tester for low-volume applications. This basic PAT is a good choice where handwritten tags and manually recorded information is all that’s required. It can perform single phase appliance testing up to 10A; earth testing (200mA); insulation testing (250/500V); mains powered leakage testing (operational – 230V); and lead testing.

Clamp meters and multimeters can be connected to your smartphone to make your readings easier. On the other hand, PATs have an onboard memory which can save anywhere from 1,000 to 1,000,000 items. That being said, memory size is not a critical factor in choosing your own PAT as data must be transferred regularly to prevent loss or theft. Most PATs today can save between 10,000 to 50,000 items.

Label printer

Once a test is completed, the appliance tested will have to be tagged. This tag is made of a special, durable material that’s resistant to tearing or fading. This is to ensure that the tag is intact and readable at all times. testing, the person testing will print tags directly from the PAT memory using a suitable printer. The tags must be made of a tough material that is resistant to tearing, damage or fading.

For testers that do not have an internal memory, there are apps available for direct communication from your smartphone to your tester for saving results.

For more information about testing and tagging equipment, ask the experts on 0800 638 768 (NZ) or 1800 789 973 (AU).

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PAT Tester Comparisons

Are you interested to know which PAT tester is the one you need? When selecting a PAT tester, it can be difficult to know which has which features, which features you actually need, and how they compare price wise.

We have made this video to explain all that. Mark Goldthorpe, Director of Metrotest, explains several popular PAT testers including testers by Seaward, Megger and Sonel, their features, price, and how they compare:

If you are looking at purchasing a PAT tester, we highly recommend you watch this video. If you still need assistance in selecting a tester, you can contact us on 0800 638 768 and we will help you select a PAT tester that best suits your needs. You can view our online range of PAT testers here.