Which is the Best PAT Tester?

There is no definitive answer to which is the best PAT tester, and with numerous models on the market, the bottom line is that you choose the PAT tester that best suits your needs. To help navigate the PAT testing equipment market, consider the following questions:
How often will you be PAT testing? Where? Will you test 110v and/or 240v equipment? How many appliances are you likely to test? What’s your budget range?


How often will you be PAT testing?

If your PAT testing activities are basic and few and far between (less than 500), then forking out for a top of the range bells and whistles model is probably not the best choice for you, however if you are undertaking regular PAT testing, it does makes sense to choose a reliable quality entry level product that covers your regular requirements. Over 500 tests? then a professional instrument should be considered, as the initial outlay is offset by its durability.

Where will you be PAT testing?

If you’re out on site carrying out regular PAT test’s then a sturdy robust reliable model is clearly an advantage, whereas if you’re more likely to be doing bench testing in the workshop then that may be a different matter.

Are you more likely to PAT test on 110v or 240v equipment?

Having 110v/240v PAT testing capability is clearly an advantage, but not all PAT testers have the capability to do both load tests, so if you need this feature, make sure your chosen tester has it before you buy!

How many appliances are you likely to test?

How many portable appliances you are likely to test will impact on your choice of instrument. If you’re responsible for multiple appliances over several sites, and your testing activities occur regularly, you may choose a PAT tester that can download test data via a USB port onto a computer database for ease of tracking. Similarly, models are available with software that will produce labels, certificates and all manner of information, as well as test limits and sequences that can be formatted to your specifications. Some testers have QWERTY keyboards which makes it easier to enter data into the test instrument, and if you’re doing a lot of testing at the same site a bar code scanning feature can be a great time saver too.


A top of the range PAT tester with all the features may cost you thousands, but there is no need to spend that much on an instrument for features you’ll never use. As with other electronic items, the cheapest is not always the best buy, reliability often coming second to price. So shop around, don’t assume your local electrical wholesaler has the best deal on PAT testers, check out what’s on line, check out the manufacturers sites, ask your mates in the trade.

Ok so with the above questions in mind, just what types/models of instrument are on the PAT tester market? 

Manufacturers like Megger, Martindale, Seaward and Kewtech are well established on the test instrument market and produce quality PAT testing equipment. There are a number of other manufacturers producing perfectly serviceable instruments to choose from too. Buy a test instrument within your budget range that covers your basic PAT testing requirements (Earth Resistance, Insulation Resistance, Earth Leakage /Touch Current, Load Test, RCD Trip Time) and if your budget allows for a more expensive model with more features, then there are plenty on the market to choose from.

Types of PAT Tester:

Pass Fail Testers

Steer clear from these. To do the PAT job properly you’ll need to interpret actual readings and these instruments don’t show them so you’ll still have to measure the earth continuity resistance value with another test instrument to meet the IET Code of Practice recommendations!

Manual PAT Testers

These PAT testers require the user to manually record test results and appliance details. Usually featuring separate tests for extension leads and appliance Classes 1 and 2, the pass limits are usually fixed so some manual interpretation of test results will be needed.

Downloadable PAT Testers

These PAT testers feature a much wider range of tests and data download capability i.e. appliance details and test results. Their range of test sequences and individual test capabilities make the test results easier to evaluate and the benefits of this type of tester are clear: time savings and data traceability of test results, however, they do come at an increased cost.

Battery Operated PAT Testers

The convenience of battery operation is offset by limited functionality. Such PAT testers cannot perform a load test, a high current earth test or measure earth leakage, however, some models do feature a 230v supply option which would allow such tests to be performed.


How Much Does A Home CCTV & Burglar Alarm Cost?

The simple answer is it all depends upon the size of your home and the type of system you wish to install.

Different Types of Systems


Home security systems can be either wireless, making it easier for the homeowner to install as they work using wifi and there are therefore no cables to be routed and hidden, or ‘hard wired’ meaning the components are connected by cables. ‘Hard wired’ systems may prove cheaper to purchase but they will need to be fitted by a qualified electrician, which in turn will mean paying labour costs.

Wireless systems can be easily deactivated and removed to a new property, another feature worth considering.

There are differences between burglar alarms and home security systems using CCTV, see more at Alert Watch; these are for surveillance purposes and allow the user to see who is approaching their home, often listen to what they are saying, and with certain types of systems record what the cameras are seeing. Burglar alarms set off an alarm that is triggered by invasive action after the alarm has been set, for example a window being broken or a locked door forced open.


New and complete wireless security systems with up to four cameras can be found online for between £500 to £1,000, with installation costs included. Many new systems are accessible remotely for additional peace of mind when away from home.

Another factor to consider is whether to buy new or ‘seller refurbished’ of which there are a number available through online retail outlets; these systems can be wireless, include two cctv cameras and motion sensors and can be found for just under £200. Additional components such as further cameras and sensors may be added provided the receiving equipment has the capacity to manage this, but this will mean making further purchases.

Wireless alarm systems can be found online from as little as £350 fully installed. This will be for a basic package but additional sensors can be added at extra cost.

Yale make a burglar alarm system for use with Android or iOS smartphones and a basic package consisting of one camera and one motion detector plus door sensors, siren, dummy siren and keypad and wifi control box can be purchased for under £390 online. As ever, additional components can be added at extra cost. This system is wireless and does not require a professional electrician to install it. Information can be accessed from your smartphone.

When looking online for local suppliers of alarm systems, check that the costs quoted are ‘one off’ costs and whether additional annual or even monthly fees are going to be incurred and whether or not you will be required to sign up to a contract, some of which can be for 24 months and can cost anything from £15 per month for external monitoring, yearly maintenance and inspection and other call outs. An alternative to this may be a ‘one off’ payment above the cost of the basic alarm system, with ‘pay as you go’ options on any call outs.

When considering any of the above options, take care to check whether a ‘police response’ notification comes at additional cost.

You will get what you pay for.

It is possible to acquire a basic cctv monitoring system for around £500 new and less than £200 ‘seller refurbished’. Such a system will allow you to monitor movement around the exterior of your property or even the interior as well if you add further cameras at additional cost.

A burglar alarm system can be purchased for £390 online and fitted by yourself.

Professionally fitted alarm systems can cost as little as £400, with some installers quoting less for the most basic of systems; expect to pay more for additional components such as sensors and cameras, however, and other devices, and again, watch out for contracts with monthly costs and additional fees for Police responses.

Deciding what to buy

Basically there are several questions you need to ask yourself:

• What is my overall budget? The more you spend the more devices and therefore the more protection you can purchase, together with versatility of application and access. This will be linked to the size and layout of your home.

• Do I want to fit the system myself? If you are technically minded and computer literate this can save you money and give added satisfaction.

• Do I want to have the peace of mind of being able to call on a professional company in case of breakdown or other issues? This will involve signing a contract and making monthly or annual payments.

• Do I want to have my alarm system established to initiate a response from the Police if activated? This again will involve additional costs.

Shop around

New and seller refurbished systems can be acquired for a few hundred pounds and less.

If you decide to go for a system that will be professionally fitted and maintained, look online for local providers; most will offer free quotes and it is a competitive market.


Why Instrument Calibration is Necessary

Calibration can be termed as evaluation and adjustment of an instrument with the aim of maintaining precision and accuracy of the measurement equipment. As such, proper calibrated instrument ensure people work in a safe environment and have access to valid data even for future use.

Purpose of Instrument Calibration

calibrationInstrument calibration allows users to eliminate or reduce chances of biased instrument readings along the range that the instrument is standardized with. This process also ensures there is consistency and continuity in values. Consider precision as defining the degree of repeated measurements to which same measurements are recorded with the same device under unchanged conditions. Therefore, it is important to note that reference standards should be used when selecting the precision test to be used or the range of interest. As for accuracy, which is the degree of closeness of recorded measurements in relation to the actual true value, there arises a functional relationship that establishes the reflected value with the standard value.

In most cases, instruments require correction for bias or when instruments act as surrogates. In the first scenario, the instrument is first set in the same units as the referencing standard. This is because the process aims at identifying and eliminating biases within the instrument relativity as defined by the unit of measurement. For instance, optical imaging systems used to measure the width of lines specifically on semiconductors use micrometers as their standard unit. However, these instruments are to be calibrated as the reference standards that the industry has laid out as the standard units for width lines in the industry.

When instruments act as surrogates, it means that the instrument uses a different standard unit other than the reference standard. As such, calibration could play a role in converting the instrument readings to the standard unit. For instance, a densitometer serves as a surrogate for measuring radiation dosage. Since the reference standards go by what a radiometry uses, the densitometer measurements are irradiated at particular dosage levels to ensure its measurements are in line with those of the radiometry. As such, when calibrating a densitometer, the calibrator considers the readings as per what the standard unit considers the optimum sterilization condition as required for medical devices.

Basic Correction of the Instrument for Bias

Calibration works the same way for instruments acting as surrogates as well as those needing correction from bias. As such, the basic steps for this process are:

• Selecting reference values within acceptable standard units with an aim of covering a range of interest.

• Carrying out measurements using the standard units on the instrument.

• Identifying the functional relationship between known values and actual reflected values keeping in mind the use of a calibration curve.

• Lastly, correcting the measurements by inversing the calibration curve.

It is important not to confuse a field check from calibration as some are in the habit of doing. A field check consists of two instruments reflecting the same reading. Nonetheless, these results do not necessarily dictate that the instruments are calibrated. For example, when a thermometer always reads 25 degrees higher, such an error is not eliminated by simply taking averages since the error is constant across the range of interest. However, one could determine its accuracy and fix it by sending it to a calibration laboratory. In line with that, it is always good to have more similar thermometers, which are used to make the same measurement. If the reflected results among the thermometers show a significant difference, then these thermometers are flagged for inconsistency and a test from the laboratory will correct things quite easily.

When Should Instruments be calibrated?

Consider major critical measurements a red flag to ensuring the instruments are calibrated before use. Additionally, it is important to calibrate these instruments even after use. This not only helps to ensure the data to be collected or already at hand is accurate, but it also means the instrument is in right condition even when it stayed long before use.

There are cases where the instrument falls or is repaired. In such events, consider calibrating the instrument before use. Accidents are a common way of throwing the instrument off balance, and it is important to do a calibration to ensure accuracy and precision are restored.

When observations appear questionable, consider sending the instrument for calibration. There are instruments that require certificates before use. Ensure these instruments are certified. Most manufacturers recommend an instrument to be calibrated within certain period. Always check the schedule for calibration to ensure the instruments are taken care of in good time.

Additional Importance

Assume that you are about to publish a paper, and once the paper is submitted and the peer review board realizes that your readings were wrong, that would adversely affect your reputation in the field and definitely decrease your chances of being a reliable source in the future. Always ensure your instruments are calibrated in time.

The Main Arc Flash Risks & Hazards

arc-underwearAn Arc Flash happens during a fault of a short circuit situation that passes through an arc gap. This perilous condition is linked to the release of energy caused by an electrical arc. An electrical arc, on the other hand, occurs when there is loss of insulation between two conductive items at ample potential (voltage). The short circuit power available near high power electrical equipment like service entrance switchgear or transformers is high similar to the energy connected with the electrical arc when a fault occurs. An Arc Flash can be formed through incidental contact which is undervalued for the available short-circuit current, tracking over insulated surfaces and corrosion or degradation of equipment.

hoodMany faults occur during manual operation or switchgear maintenance. Under such circumstances, not only are staff in front of the switchgear and accordingly likely to be deluged by the electrical arc but the fault is typically caused by activities carried out. Such operations include dropping a gadget on live bus bars or closing a circuit breaker under short circuit among others.

The occurrence of an Arc Flash can emit large quantities of deadly energy. The energy expelled by the arc as a result of a fault causes a rise in temperature and pressure in the nearby location. The arc brings about an ionization of the air and the arc flash temperatures become very high, hotter than the surface of the earth. This results in thermal and mechanical stress to adjacent equipment and creates the likelihood of severe injuries within the locality.

The faults that may happen in electrical switchgear are typically;
i. Phase-to-ground fault
ii. Phase-to-phase fault

It is uncommon for a three-phase fault to occur but remember that both phase-to-ground and phase-to-phase faults can quickly result in a three-phase fault. The two faults can be created by accidental contact of equipment or a person with live parts.

Arc Flash Risks and Hazards

The physical effects of an arc flash include:
i. Heating of materials coming into contact with the arc flash
ii. Pressure wave in the surrounding where the arc is created
iii. Possible hazardous sound and light

The main personnel hazards that may arise due to the release of energy created by an arc include:

i. Burns
The kind of temperature produced by the gases of an electrical arc and the emission of burning metal elements can cause severe burns. The heat causes severe burns in humans rapidly within the vicinity of the event. Flames can result in all kinds of burns even carbonization; the incandescent metal fragments can lead to third-degree burns. Flash temperatures liquefy metal parts like aluminum conductors, copper or steel equipment parts. Excessively heated steam results in burns similar to hot liquids and the blazing heat cause less severe burns.

ii. Potential Harmful Sound
The vaporized materials rapidly expand in volumes as it transforms state from solid to vapor generating explosive pressure and sound waves. The electrical arc is a real explosion, and its sound blast makes eardrums to break causing temporary or permanent hearing loss.

iii. Injuries as a Result of Emitted Objects
The electrical arc ejects molten metal or other loose objects that are sprayed by the explosion in the surrounding. Loose objects and metal debris can be deadly objects and can penetrate the cornea. The extent of the abrasions is dependent on the creatures and the kinetic energy of the materials. The area of the eye like the retina and cornea can sustain contusions to the mucosa due to the gases emitted by the arc and release of infrared and ultraviolet rays. The bright flash of the occurrence can cause temporary or permanent blindness. These impacts result in personnel lesions or even worse, death.

iv. Inhalation of Noxious Gases
The fumes created by combusted insulating objects and vaporized metals can be poisonous. The fumes produced are as a result of incomplete combustion and are formed by carbon compounds and other solid substances eliminated in the air.

Safety Standards

Arc Flash Hazards is a topic that is undergoing a lot of discussion and investigation in the current safety responsive environment. The essence of the standards is to offer an increased level of protection for electrical workers. There are particular approach boundaries tailored to protect staff while working on or near energized equipment. These limits are:
i. Flash Protection Boundary
ii. Limited Approach
iii. Restricted Approach
iv. Prohibited Approach

There are several ways to protect employees from the risk of electrical hazards. Employees should adhere to the Arc Flash Hazard Label by wearing proper personnel protective equipment (PPE); utilize insulated equipment among other safety-related precautions. This includes not operating on or near circuits unless you are a qualified worker. Other safety standards include the use of arc detection and reduction systems, IP codes and ways of separation, internal arc proof switchgear, and safe work practices.


How Long does a PAT Certificate Last?

Portable Appliance Testing is a the process in which electrical appliances are regularly and routinely checked to ensure their compliance with safety regulations. It is required by self-employed people, landlords and employers. Though no set rules are determining the frequency for PAT Testing, different appliances, conditions and circumstances may call for regular checks. It is only specific that all equipment and appliances be tested as regularly as possible to ensure they are in optimal working condition.


Guidelines for PAT Testing

There are guidelines and recommendations for the regularity of PAT Testing of different equipment and facilities, based on the risk levels and conditions to which the appliances and equipment are exposed. These guidelines and recommendations are explained briefly below:

In offices, hotels and shops, all stationery equipment, IT equipment that is classified as Class 1, must be checked every forty-eight (48)months. Portable equipment and partially movable equipment like extension leads should be monitored every twenty-four(24) months. All appliances that are hand-held must be checked every one year.

Industrial institutions and sites, including commercial kitchens, should have their hand held appliances and portable equipment checked every six months. This is in consideration of the intensity of working conditions that these appliances and equipment are exposed to.

All construction site equipment with a capacity of 110V should be checked every three months while in schools and other social places, all Class 1 equipment and appliances should be tested every twelve months, with Class 2 equipment and appliances tested every forty-eight months.

Equipment that is used more should be tested more regularly since the exposure to damage and malfunction is higher.

People using appliances should be sensitized to report any hitches as soon as they are noticed to create time for checks, thus avoiding major hazards.

PAT Testing is done using specific tools and by trained individuals.These tool kits range from beginner to advanced, and the prices vary too. The choice of tools and machines to use in PAT Testing will be determined by the simplicity or complexity of the appliance being tested, and also by the variety of the appliances being tested.

PAT Testing Certificates

PAT Testing certificates are issued to companies whose appliances have been tested and certified as compliant.The certificate indicates that the company’s appliances are fully tested and in compliance with the set safety standards, checked regularly and free from damage/risk.

PAT Testers use certificate templates to prepare certificates for compliant companies.The certificates are well detailed and include details of the specific appliances, the details of the test and the test report, which is the result showing any defects detected or noted in the appliance, and or the recommendations for repair or replacements. Appliances that fail this test should be repaired or summarily disposed of and replaced.

PAT Testing forms are issued only by qualified contractors who have been certified by the NICEIC/ECA. Persons performing PAT Testing and issuing certificates are certified as skilled and competent by the certifying body.

Importance of PAT Testing

PAT Testing is an important factor in ensuring the safety of workers at the workplace. In the UK, it is reported that an approximate of 30 industrial personnel deaths is a direct result of appliance malfunctions each year. The aim of PAT Testing is to help avoid these deaths and safety related incidents. Portable appliances that are connected to electricity including but not limited to printers, toasters, blenders, fridges, and ovens are responsible for twenty-five(25) percent of all workplace accidents in the UK each year.

Adhering to the Health and Safety Executive’s PAT Testing guidelines will help make a company a safer place for all personnel, as well as satisfying requirements set by insurance companies.

PAT Testing Technology

In this age of technological advancement, most PAT Tests now have computerised machines specially designed for them like Fluke and the Seaward Apollo 600 which can be seen here. These machines are briefly described below:

Pass/Fail Testers

Mainly designed for the in-house testing personnel, these are typically easy to use and cheaper as compared to other models. Some come fitted with a rechargeable battery while some are connected to the Mains and require AC power to operate. These simple machines indicate either Pass or Fail, with dedicated lights for each function. They also show polarity, insulation resistance and earth continuity.

Advanced PAT Testers

This is a category of testers that process and display more information than just pass and fail. The readings on these machines require analysis by a qualified technician. They are highly effective since they record information and test status of appliances, as well as having the capacity to interpret earth continuity resistance at different levels of precision, thus enabling the testing of a variety of sensitive devices.

It should be clearly termed as a benefit to companies institutions to comply with PAT Testing guidelines and regulations to ensure a safer, more conducive and efficient work environment for personnel.


Why Lockout Tagout is Important for Electrical Safety

Lockout/Tagout is defined as the placement of a lock or tag on an energy isolation device indicating that the device is not to be operated until the tag or lock has been removed. Lockout is a complete program used to control hazardous energy and preventing injuries in the workplace. It provides the much required visual caution when performing maintenance on the machinery, thus reducing the high risk of injuries.  Lockout Tag out (LOTO) program is important in the following ways:

1. Preventing Injuries at the work place

padlockWith the LOTO system in place, workers will take the precautionary measures when handling machines with the tag. By taking caution, workers will be able to reduce the exposure to injuries to themselves and their fellow workmates. The LOTO program is put in place to set the procedures to follow when a machine is in need of repair or just a routine maintenance. If these LOTO procedures are followed to the letter, the cases of injuries reported will be few and injuries will be less.

Image from Lockout Safety

2. Minimizes the risk of exposure to hazardous energy and electric shock.

With the LOTO program and set procedures, the handling of defective machinery will  cautionary. all machinery will be switched off and communication to all the other employees in advance. This will prevent the accidental switching on of the machines when being repaired, in turn reducing the emission of the hazardous energy which will put the lives of the employees at risk.

3. Save lives.

Some of these injuries  can prove to be fatal. This fatal can claim scores of employees lives in the long run. Without LOTO, employees are not able to take precaution when handling the machinery during repairs and maintenance. Many lives are lost because of neglect by organizations but with LOTO, many lives can be spared by proving the necessary caution.

4. Minimizes exposure to litigation.

lockout-kitBy minimizing the injuries in the workplace, the institution will reduce its exposure to court cases in which injured employees will sue the company for compensation due to the injuries gotten within the organization’s premises. If the organization is taken to court, it will incur so many charges in terms of legal fees and compensation for the injured employee. With a successful LOTO program, less injuries means less litigation for the organization preventing negative publicity for the organization.

Image from Lockout Safety

5. Instilling employees confidence and trust in the organization.

With LOTO in place, employees will have peace of mind knowing that they are working in safe environment hence they will put all their energy into their work. They will be focused on their duties hence the company will be effective due to the effective labor force. By creating a safe working environment, more employees would be willing to work for the organization thus increasing the efficiency of the company by decreasing the time needed to complete a certain task or assignment.

6. Increased Profits.

With increased efficiency from the employees, the company’s productivity increases as the employees will work more. This will in turn maximize the organizations profits greatly. This will be of benefit to both the organization and its employees. This will lead to the expansion of the company or organization thus increasing the employment opportunities to the many jobless youths. This is an indirect importance of the LOTO program. The company will also reduce costs on purchasing new machinery, because the LOTO program will ensure that the machinery is handled by the professionals thus reducing the chances of the machine breaking down. This will save the company a lot of money.

7. Recognition from the relevant bodies.

Organizations which have successfully implemented the LOTO program, receive the much required recognition and awards for having few or no injuries. This in turn reciprocates into positive publicity for the organization, instilling confidence on potential investors and clients willing to work with the organization. In some states, companies receive benefits and discounts on workers compensation if there are few accidents reported.


What Are Clamp Meters Used For?

Clamp meters are a versatile device that measures the current flowing through the conductor without coming in contact with it. It has two jaws, which open up and allow the operator to clamp the instrument around the electric cable or wire to measure the amperes flowing through it, in a safe manner. A digital clamp meter is generally used to measure Alternating Current (AC). It is easy to take measurements of alternating current with magnitude of 1000 Amps or more. This type of instrument has limitation when it comes to measuring very low AC current (in Milliamperes) and DC current.

fluke-clamp-meterThe clamp meter works on principle of conductance through inductance, which happens in transformer. The split ring or the jaw of the clamp meter, which is made up of Ferrite iron has a wire wound around it. This makes the jaws of clamp meter behave as one winding of transformer while the conductor cable around which, jaws are clamped becomes the secondary winding. This arrangement induces current in the clamp meter, which is measured and displayed on it LCD screen in an instant.

Advantages of Using Digital Clamp Meter

Measuring the amount of current running through an electrical conductor is all but essential to help guarantee the safety of the conductor and any related devices. There are several options to be considered when attempting this and a common choice is by employing the benefits of what is known as a current clamp meter. So, let us take a brief look at why this meter is an important tool and some of the common situations where it will be utilised.

A Brief Overview of a Clamp Meter

As the name denotes, a current clamp contains two “jaws” which open and close around an electrical conductor, you can see an example on this page. This meter will measure various attributes of the current contained within. The primary advantage of a current meter is that it is less “hands on” than a traditional multi-tester. That is, electrical power does not have to be shut off nor does the conductor have to be removed to ascertain the properties of the voltage within the wire.

Current meters can gauge and analyze a wide variety of metrics within a conductor. Some of the most common measurements will include:

  • Alternating current
  • Direct current
  • Resistance
  • Continuity Temperature (in some models)
  • Capacitance (in some models)

The Applications of a Clamp Meter

The main application of these meters is to provide simultaneous measurements during troubleshooting tasks where certain electrical equipment should not or cannot be turned off. Examples of this could be in a large industrial complex where a steady supply of power must be maintained to a ventilation system. Another instance may be a location such as a hospital where the main feeds into the complex need to be maintained operational at all times. Additionally, many electricians will normally carry two meters: one to measure the amount of current and another to determine the voltage within a conductor. A clamp meter can gauge both of these variables. Thus, they tend to be more user-friendly while offering the possibility of completing a job faster.

Clamp meters are also widely employed to detect what is known as an “inrush” in electrical terminology. Certain machines may require a massive initial amount of electricity to start up. This can often be the case in industrial environments. This initial “burst” is called an inrush. While the machine may require this amount of current, it must be determined that the surge protectors and the line itself have the capacity to handle such power. Clamp meters can track this load in real-time and will provide a very accurate readout of the characteristics involved in this phenomenon.

Another area where clamp meters are employed is when one needs to measure extremely high voltages. As the current, amperes and voltage can all be determined without physically exposing the bare conductor, clamp meters are often the safest and most logical option. Nonetheless, an increasing number of electricians are beginning to use clamp meters for domestic purposes as well.

As the popularity and versatility of clamp meters continues to increase, it can only be expected that they will continue to play a pivotal role in the electrical and industrial trades into the future.

These devices can be used as attachments to multimeters and as a stand alone device. It is among the most easy to use tool that is quite indispensable while working with high power circuits.

However, there may be irregularities in the flow of power supply. Power fluctuation and failure are some of the most common issues which can lead to massive damages of machineries and loss of productivity. Therefore, it is essential to monitor the flow of current regularly with the help of a clamp meter or current meter.

These devices were found in analog models in the early days. But today the online stores are flooded with a huge variety of meters with digital displays. These modern devices offer accurate outputs and easier analysis of electrical current. These devices are among the most popular tools used by electricians due to its beneficial features.

First match the setting of the device to the current of the circuit to be measured by turning on the dial on the meter. Make a choice between AC and DC. Most of the household wirings include AC power.

The meter should be set to an expected range close to the circuit which is being measured. The power current is often measured in amps and milliamps.

The clamps should be connected around the wires to obtain an accurate measurement. It is important to measure only a single conductor at a time so that accurate readings can be obtained. Pass small amounts of power consistently. Gradually pass large amounts of current to analyze the errors in connection or the equipment. Read the display to obtain accurate measurements.

The traditional Clamp meter functions, if placed around single conductor. However if it is clamped around 2 or more cables then it will not display any reading because the individual magnetic fields of the cables, cancel each other. However new type of clamp meters is available in the market that has group of sensors coil placed around the jaws of the clamp. Such a digital clamp meter can be clamped around a bundle of 2 or three cables to take the reading of combined load flowing through the bunch. The clamp meter prices vary according to the models available in the market and it is to the best interest of the users to ensure that model they select meets all their requirements.


What does a Thermal Imaging Camera do?

camera-thermalSimply put a thermal image camera is a device that enables the cameras user to see things in the dark. This is possible because every object and creature radiate heat. The thermal image camera picks up this heat as infrared radiation and it shows up on the cameras screen. The warmer the object the sharper it will show up.

Without going into too much technical detail, a thermal imaging camera consists of five basic parts. A signal processor, a detector, an amplifier, an optic system and finally a display, using these five components makes the camera able to display different colours to show the variations of temperature when it is pointed at different objects. Warm or hot colours will show up against cooler objects.

It is not night vision

Thermal imaging must not be confused with night vision visual aids or ir windows. Night vision instruments work in environments where there is a small amount of light undetectable to the human eye, but they cannot work in complete darkness. Thermal imagers can work it complete darkness as they only rely on the heat radiated from the objects they are looking at.


The origins of the thermal image camera go back to the early 1950s when it was developed as an aid to troops fighting in the Korean War. However like many other inventions originally developed for military purposes the civilian world soon adapted it for its own use.

Rescuing or catching people

A thermal image camera can be used to locate heat in various objects. As it is used in the absence of light, it is extremely effective in tracing people in the dark. These may be fugitives trying to avoid capture, or people who may be lost and in distress or danger.
Great strides have been made using thermal imaging cameras in situations where people have been trapped in collapsed buildings caused by explosions or earthquakes. They played a significant role in the locating and rescuing of survivors after the attack on the twin towers.

The Firefighting service

Since then firefighters over the world have invested in thermal imaging cameras to help them locate people in danger. There are two kinds of thermal imaging cameras used by firefighters. One is a handheld version and requires two hands to direct it onto its target. To alleviate this problem, some cameras have been mounted onto their helmets. This releases their hands for important rescue work. The ability of thermal imaging to see through the smoke and identify people makes it a valuable asset in saving lives.

The Construction Industry

The construction industry uses the camera when looking for areas of overheating or leaks of heat coming from faulty thermal insulations. Thermal imaging cameras are a vital component in this field where there is evidence of heat loss and air exchange. As the loss of heat is responsible for nearly half of the consumption of energy in buildings the thermal imaging camera makes it possible for the leaks to be identified by, detecting the places where heat is escaping that would be impossible to be seen by the naked eye. The cause of most of the heat loss and poor exchange is usually inferior construction and design and without building inspectors having access to thermal imaging cameras, it would be impossible for them to make thorough inspections to resolve the problems.

The Medical Profession

The medical profession uses thermal imaging to trace any areas on the human body giving out excess heat that may indicate a fever or some other ailment. Thermal imaging has become a way for doctors and other medical practitioners to discover problems in the human body without resorting to invasive techniques that may cause a patient some measure of distress or discomfort.

The thermal image camera has made it possible for the medical profession to identify danger spots by the presence of abnormally hot or cold spots in the body. Health problems such as skin complaints, arthritis, and other health problems can be discovered before they show themselves to the naked eye.


Although the thermal camera has made it possible for many problems to be located in situations mentioned above it is not an infallible instrument that can solve all problems.
It cannot be used to see through glass, as the heat will be reflected off the shiny surface of the glass. It cannot be used in rain or thick mist and fog, as the droplets of moisture will deflect the heat. It is not able to see through solid objects or clothing. The thermal image camera is undoubtedly an excellent instrument to help solve many problems, but it should not be used as the only solution to problems and should be used in conjunction with other instruments and methods to come to a final conclusion.


How to Plumb a New Kitchen Sink

I know you’re thinking this is one of those “Call the Guy” moments but honestly, you’ve got this. Plumping a new kitchen sink is really not all that difficult and when you are finished, you not only have the satisfaction of having done the job yourself, you will understand what all the drain pipe twists and turns are called, as well as their purpose. And let us not forget about all the money you will save yourself.


So let’s get started. After having problems finding a plumber at the weekend this is something I took on myself.

Get Prepared

The person who first said that a picture is worth a thousand words knew exactly what he was talking about. If the old plumbing has not been removed yet, do yourself a favor and snap a few photos of how things look. Take them from different angles and of anything that looks particularly complicated. If the old plumbing has already been removed, not to worry, there are thousands of picture on the internet you can use for reference or you can go to one of your neighbors and ask if you can snap a few photos of theirs.

Of course you are going to want to remove everything from under the sink, if you have not done so already. You will also want to get yourself something comfortable to kneel on and if you are installing a garbage disposal, something to lie on as well. If you are in fact installing a garbage disposal, it is always helpful to have a second set of hands nearby, not necessary but can prove to be quite helpful.

As far as tools go, if you took your old plumbing apart you already know what tools you need. If you didn’t you’ll just have to wing it. Installing new kitchen sink plumbing requires very few tools, all of which are very common.

Drain & Disposal

If you have not installed the kitchen sink drain flange yet, following the instructions provided with the new flange, do so now. Be sure to assemble the drain flange exactly as shown in the instructions or it is sure to leak and you will be taking everything apart in an hour from now. Be sure you tighten the flange nut down good and tight so that the rubber gasket makes a positive seal.

If you are installing a new garbage disposal, again do so now, following the instruction provided with the disposal. This is where you may need a second set of hands if you are unable to hold the disposal in place and secure the locking ring at the same time. Once in place, be sure that the locking ring is good and secure on the taper ring so that there are no leaks.

If you are installing a double sink then you will have to install a sink strainer on the opposite side, similar to how you installed the drain flange. From this side of the sink you will install the vertical tailpiece which will include a tee where the horizontal pipe drain from the garbage disposal will connect.

If you are installing a single sink without a garbage disposal then the tailpiece would obviously come straight off of the sink strainer.

As you are assembling the drain pipe pieces, leave them loose until you have everything fitted properly.

The Water Trap

The water trap is the u-shaped piece attached to the bottom of the tailpiece. The water trap is critical as it is what prevents sewer vapors from flowing back into your home through the sink drain. Water remains trapped in the u-shaped piece, forming a water seal, thus preventing vapors from entering your home.

The water trap must be the lowest point of your kitchen sink plumbing. If the drain leaves your home through a horizontal pipe, just be sure that the water trap is below this horizontal drain pipe. If the drain leaves your home through the floor then you will have to install a second u-shaped piece to get the drain pipe headed in the right direction again.

Tighten It All Up

Once you are satisfied that you have everything plumbed correctly it is time to tighten everything up. There is no need to get crazy with the tightening, the drain piping is not under pressure and is not prone to leak. You can always go back and tighten any fitting you find leaking when you do your leak test, which reminds me, it’s time for you to do a leak test.  If you run into problems, do what I did and call my friend at Doran plumbers in Dublin – he fixed a little leak that I just could not deal with.

How to Find a Plumber at the Weekend

We found a Dublin plumber that came to our rescue. My husband and I were able to get a new home right after we got married which is something that the majority of newlyweds can’t do. In reality we could not believe that things worked out the way that they did. We had planned to move right into an apartment after we got married, my then fiancée had a friend that worked in real estate, and he told us that that it was the best time to purchase a home. My fiancé and I did not think that we would be able to afford a home at that present moment, so we told him that we would get in contact with him in about a year or so. He really thought that we should give it more consideration, so he kept talking to my fiancé about the possibility of buying a home. He told us that it was possible to get a home that had already been foreclosed on, and that made us think a little bit more.


Finding A Home

We went to go see three homes that were not far from where we work living. One of the homes was our absolute favorite, but it needed to get some work done on it. The cost of the home was so incredibly cheap that it was worth it to buy the home and get some repairs done on it because it was basically a steal. My fiancé and I closed on her home, and two weeks later I moved in. We have many friends that worked on our home, because a lot of my husband’s friends worked in construction and so does he. The only thing that we had to hire outside contractors for was the plumbing. There were a few plumbing problems in our home, so we got them repaired. We did not really like our plumber he did not seem like he was that trustworthy and he charged us a lot, so we knew that we would not ask him to help us again.

After The Move

About five months of past and my in-laws were going to come and stay with us for the weekend. I was very excited, because it would be the first time that I had my in-laws to my home. I had my house completely and totally spotless, and the next morning they were going to be coming in. The next morning my in-laws came in and we had an awesome breakfast and we really had a great time together. We all went out for a walk, and we got to talk for quite some time. That afternoon something horrible happened to our toilet. It was ridiculous, because there was no way to fix it. We didn’t think it was going to be anything serious, so we just turned off the water source to the toilet, and we tried to use a plunger. To our dismay that was not enough.

My husband and my brother-in-law were working on the toilet for about an hour when they realized that they were not gonna be able to fix it. We have a small house, and we only have one bathroom so things were gonna have to get fixed. We wanted to find a trustworthy plumber but we did not know where to go.

Looking For Our Plumber

The plumber that had originally come into work on her house was not our favorite, so we knew that we did not want to go with him. We did a few searches on the Internet for different plumbers in the area, but in reality we would have much rather preferred for someone to give us a recommendation. Some of our neighbors were really nice and they gave us recommendations for plumbers. We called the plumbers that they referred us to but they were not open on the weekend. We really did not know what to do, so we called a few of the plumbers that we saw on the Internet.

Our Plumber To The Rescue

We were kind of frustrated with the whole bathroom thing, and since we were having no luck finding a good plumber we decided to go and get some lunch. We went to a nearby restaurant, and we ate and enjoyed ourselves, and of course we all used the bathroom. We were talking to the waitress about our afternoon and we told her that we were looking for a plumber. To our surprise she told us that her husband is an independent plumber, and she said that he was free that day. We asked her for his number and we called him and in 20 minutes he was at our door. Her husband was extremely professional, and he came with two other gentlemen and they were able to fix our toilet literally within one hour. They were very inexpensive and they were cordial as well. We took down all of his information and we decided that we were going to make him our permanent plumber. We were so happy that we were able to talk to that nice waitress on that Saturday afternoon, because her husband saved our weekend.