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Author Topic: 3-light tester RPBG upgrade  (Read 24850 times)

Stephen Swaffer

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Re: 3-light tester RPBG upgrade
« Reply #70 on: February 27, 2015, 10:41:29 PM »

Just received my Neon handle screwdriver testers from China. IIRC the cost was less than $2 each including shipping. As you can see, they actually work pretty well in a dimly lit room, but you wouldn't be able to see the Neon bulb in a bright room or outside in the sun. Still, an interesting test and confirmation of an old-school voltage tester.

The interesting thing is that this "$2 old school tester" is actually a very good companion to the 3 light tester to detect RPBG.  It is less susceptible to false positive than a NCVT though an audible tester does have advantages in bight light.  Haven't used one in a while-need to get one though.
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Steve Swaffer

Mike Sokol

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Re: 3-light tester RPBG upgrade
« Reply #71 on: February 27, 2015, 11:06:56 PM »

The interesting thing is that this "$2 old school tester" is actually a very good companion to the 3 light tester to detect RPBG.  It is less susceptible to false positive than a NCVT though an audible tester does have advantages in bight light.  Haven't used one in a while-need to get one though.

Yeah, a few of my electrician buddies showed me how to use these 50 years ago when I was a young pup, and my dad always had one in his toolbox which I used when I couldn't find a meter. So except for the dim light issue, they really are pretty useful.

So, why did they fall out of favor and common use? Anything in code that makes them a violation to use? Have there been any deaths or injuries due to their use? Remember, this is about as simple as you can get, a neon bulb and a resistor connected to the screwdriver blade on one end and the brass touch button on the butt of the handle.

Here's where you can get them for less than $2 each, including shipping: http://www.ebay.com/itm/100-500V-Screwdriver-Voltage-Tester-Neon-Bulb-Electric-Tester-Pen-Probe-BK43-/261682795328?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item3ced829340 
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 11:11:25 PM by Mike Sokol »
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Mike Sokol
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: 3-light tester RPBG upgrade
« Reply #72 on: February 28, 2015, 12:06:00 AM »

Why did they fall out of favor?  My suspicion is that for a bit more you can get a 3 light tester that has a legend printed on it-in other words, requires no brain power to use.

The "code" doesn't address work methods/tools.  NFPA 70E does, but I doubt there is anything that precludes using them.  I don't  have a copy of 70E, but I need to get one for a project so I'll do  little "lite" reading.

The ones I remember had two flexible leads so you could probe 2 leads of a receptacle with them-to use your body as a ground you just folded one lead back into your hand.  A practical consideration for future receptacle testing is the TR receptacle which is required in resi, but cheap enough it makes sense anywhere children will be present.  That is actually one of the things that pushed me away from just using a meter to verify a receptacles wiring, since it is very difficult to defeat the mechanism without damaging it.

So, while an old school neon with a 3 light will work in a lot of older buildings, a purpose built 4/6 light tester makes a lot of sense going forward.
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Steve Swaffer

Mike Sokol

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Re: 3-light tester RPBG upgrade
« Reply #73 on: February 28, 2015, 06:50:31 AM »

I don't  have a copy of 70E, but I need to get one for a project so I'll do  little "lite" reading.

Pun Alert!!!  :o
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Mike Sokol
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: 3-light tester RPBG upgrade
« Reply #74 on: February 28, 2015, 12:43:36 PM »

I remember something like this from back when I was a kid...



I second the vote that this makes a versatile addition for troubleshooting mains wiring.

JR

PS: I am probably going to go ahead and order some parts this weekend... I'd like to mess around with neon lamps myself (to check out the ghost issue), and the 400V mosfets I need to make my buffer are the same parts I am going to use to make my solid state fuse, and to generate a switched test load to test for bootleg, so not crazy to bring them in. I'll go ahead and order a few 0.15uF "Y" caps to make my stinger GFCI. 

PPS Even tho it looks like a stinger cap GFCI, and neon lamp screw driver may be all we need. KISS

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Mike Sokol

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Re: 3-light tester RPBG upgrade
« Reply #75 on: February 28, 2015, 12:51:17 PM »

PPS Even tho it looks like a stinger cap GFCI, and neon lamp screw driver may be all we need. KISS

You know, it would be really easy to come up with a little contact button with a neon bulb that could be mounted right on a guitar chassis or even the guitar itself. Touch the button with your finger, and if the lamp glows, then the chassis or instrument is electrified. How's THAT for simple?
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Mike Sokol
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: 3-light tester RPBG upgrade
« Reply #76 on: February 28, 2015, 01:58:34 PM »

Or we could make a futuristic looking glove with neon bulb built into the finger.. the muso just touches stuff with it, and if his glove finger lights up, danger Will Robinson. :-)

JR
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Mike Sokol

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Re: 3-light tester RPBG upgrade
« Reply #77 on: February 28, 2015, 02:36:24 PM »

Or we could make a futuristic looking glove with neon bulb built into the finger.. the muso just touches stuff with it, and if his glove finger lights up, danger Will Robinson. :-)

JR

Which finger??? ;D
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Mike Sokol
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: 3-light tester RPBG upgrade
« Reply #78 on: February 28, 2015, 10:25:19 PM »

Will the neon lamp light if the player is touching the guitar and the touch pad?  My guess is no-and that would be an easy  mistake many would not understand.
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Steve Swaffer

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: 3-light tester RPBG upgrade
« Reply #79 on: March 05, 2015, 09:17:58 PM »

I told myself I was going to finally order parts last weekend, but noooo, I've changed the design twice since then... I am now about ready to stick a fork in it... (parts are ordered).

I now have the cheapest DIY (aka door #1) using a stock GFCI with a Y cap in place of the ground lead. My next better version (door #2) Uses a stock GFCI but with a relay in series with the ground lead. The relay coil can be powered by the GFCI output side, so if the GFCI trips the relay opens up the ground too.  Then for icing on the cake I sense current in the ground lead and use that to force the GFCI to trip (an opto-FET) with the input side LED in parallel with a ground resistor (couple hundred ohms), with it's isolated secondary connected to imbalance the GFCI will trip the GFCI at X mA... This way I can trip both with less than 5mA. A couple hundred ohms in the ground is lower Z than a 0.15uF Y cap except for at very HF... I could use a cap and resistor in parallel since any fault will likely be at 60 Hz but ground noise can be anywhere. (I'm still waiting for feedback on how quiet the 0.15uF is). 

I ordered some neon lamps too so I can mess with them, and some 400V mosfets so I can make a buffer for a lower impedance touch sensor, while the KISS unbuffered approach still looks attractive.

Mo lata...

JR
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Re: 3-light tester RPBG upgrade
« Reply #79 on: March 05, 2015, 09:17:58 PM »


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