How to Use a Continuity Tester

Written by ehow home & garden editor
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Among some of the most important tools for home improvements is the continuity tester. This tool can determine electrical current or continuity. Wall outlets especially can be tested with this device which is also called a multimeter or multi tester. Read on to learn more.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Test when the current is off. Either unplug the device or trip the circuit breaker. There are two types of continuity testers: analog and digital. The analog tester uses a needle. The digital gives a numeric reading.

  2. 2

    Set the device of ohm which means infinity. If there is more than one setting, set the device to X1.

  3. 3

    Find the probes and touch each one to the device. If the meter goes to zero, there is continuity in the device. You can use the tester on wall switches by placing the probes on the switch.

  4. 4

    Turn the switch off and on, and the tester should change from infinity to zero. Continuity testers can also be used on car motors. Touch each probe at the appropriate points on the car engine. If the tester goes to zero, there is current going through the engine or the engine has continuity.

  5. 5

    Test electrical cords with the continuity tester. Cords can become damaged through normal wear and tear. Devices such as appliances and printers may not be getting the right amount of power from an old cord or one that has become worn or damaged. To test a 120-volt power cord that is not removable from the device, unplug the device from the power source.

  6. 6

    Disassemble the device to locate where to test for continuity. You may need to unclip or even unsolder the cord to test the device. Use the continuity tester, if it registers zero, the device has continuity. If it remains at infinity, the device needs a new power cord. For devices with removable power cords, remove the cord from the device. Test both the male and female ends for continuity.

  7. 7

    Twist, turn and bend cords that are not removable. If there is a fluctuation on the meter it means the device is not getting consistent power and the cord should be replaced.

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