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Posted By Topic: Trailing Lead/Testing recommendations

Oct 05 2018 10:59

Hey there

I am a current apprentice looking at picking up my own testing equipment so I can be self sufficient once quilified and get fimilar with correct gear and practices whilst doing my apprenticeship

Could anyone please recommend me some good or reasonably priced lead/leads to be used to testing earth continuity throughout an installation?

Also any general recommendations on what I should look at picking up as soon as possible? I currently only have a Fluke 117 Multimeter and Fluke 323 Clamp Meter and am very fond of the brand

I am aware I will need to get an insulation tester asap and something to test RCDs and EFLI, is it best to just pick up an all in one installation tester or should I look at individual items

I don\'t mind spending $$$ to ensure I have good gear that will last a long time

Thanks a heap in advance, and thanks to everyone active on the forums, I have learnt and taken in a lot reading through posts on here, lots of great advice and info


Oct 06 2018 15:33

Many of us older sparkies have built up a collection of test gear we are accustomed to using, some of it made for the type of jobs we normally do.
I have two trailing leads 8m and 25m long, made from 2.5mm flex rescued from the scrap bin and wound on fishing hand-line reels. The resistance of each wire is marked on it for calculations. My earth prods came from a butchery; strong stainless steel spikes with handles which out-lasted \'shop-bought\' prods.
Whether to buy automatic test gear depends on how much you will use it, it can better to use manual measurements and maintain your understanding of the principles of what you are doing. Also the specifications are improving and the price drops over time so it is better to wait.
Good luck with your career!

Oct 07 2018 15:21

For the remote earth lead, The transnet ones are bloody expensive, I forget what the other brand is but it\'s a lot sturdier and about half the price, your wholesaler should be able to help

Oct 08 2018 11:55

I use a long extension lead with a short lead with a socket on it to connect to the switchboard, just plug the lead in and away you go, just remember to subtract the resistance of the leads and your meter leads when you record your results.

Kyoritsu and Fluke both do great multi-function testers.

It\'s handy to have a dedicated analogue insulation resistance tester too, the Kyoritsu ones are available at a great price.

Oct 08 2018 12:27

One tick for Kyoritsu.

I bought a second hand Kyoritsu multifunction tester on Trademe in 2005 and it’s still going strong. A simple yet reliable and invaluable tester.

Oct 08 2018 19:11

Thank you all for the replies so far, I am leaning towards getting a Fluke 1660 series tester because I do enjoy the brand but will still check out the other recommendations

I did see the Transnet trailing leads but at $220 I don\'t think I\'ll be getting one, haven\'t had any luck on identifying the other one you mentioned but I\'d love if you could get me a little more info

Why is it you recommend an analog insulation tester? What is the benefits?

Oct 08 2018 22:14

I ended up getting a Martindale from the UK. They\'re a rebranded Metrel, but without the proprietary plugs.

I decided I didn\'t want to deal with having to try and read english messages written using seven-segment displays.

I would also suggest you make sure that whatever you buy comes with a lead that has the test button on it - fewer hands required.

Oct 11 2018 12:04

With an analogue insulation resistance tester you can watch the needle movement. Is it rising, dropping, stuttering, is it moving quickly or slowly? It can give you more information about what is happening with what you are testing. Most IR testers also have low ohms measurement too and the same as stated above is relevant. A needle is easier to watch than flickering digital digits.

Oct 15 2018 16:44

Definitely need a low-range ohms. A DMM is absolutely useless for measuring earth continuity, as the error in even a good one will be several \"digits\", ie in the same order as what we are supposed to be measuring.
For example, an error level of +/- 3 digits when the reading\'s least significant digit is 0.1 ohm means =/- 0.3 ohm.

Most IR testers have a suitable scale; reading to 2 decimal places (so that same error mow translates as +/- 0.03 ohm)
For analogue , a FSD of max 3 ohms is OK.

Oct 15 2018 16:45

As for the trailing lead, mine is 40-odd m of 1.5 mm2 appliance wire, wound onto a spool that came as a telephone extension cord.