How to use a cable continuity tester

Written by c. taylor
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How to use a cable continuity tester
Test cable integrity with a cable continuity tester. (cable image by Yuri Tuchkov from

A cable continuity tester can be invaluable when determining the integrity of a cable. These testers will test end-to-end continuity, which tells you if any breaks occur in the line or if corrosion or damage has compromised the quality of the line. Cable continuity testers come in a multitude of varieties, but they all function similarly: the tester sends a low voltage signal through the line and the meter reads it. Results may vary from a light or sound being emitted when the continuity is passed, to a numerical reading of ohms to gauge the level of continuity. You can perform these tests with a typical multimeter, but a dedicated cable continuity tester is even easier, since they will typically allow a direct plug-in port for the cables.

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  1. 1

    Unplug the cable from any electrical source and ground it by touching the leads to a grounded metal structure. This will dissipate any residual voltage residing in the line, which may affect results.

  2. 2

    Set the continuity tester to test continuity, according to your unit's instruction manual. You will need to set a multimeter to "continuity" or "ohms," depending on the product.

  3. 3

    Plug one end of the cable into one of the ports of the cable continuity tester. Plug the other end into the other port. If you do not have dedicated ports, touch one of the two tester probes onto either end of the cable. Some cables have multiple "pins" or wires, so you will have to test each individual one when using a standard, probe interface.

  4. 4

    Listen or watch for the results of the continuity test. Typically a sound will emit that signifies good continuity, although some may also trigger a light or display the amount of ohms. A lower ohm reading signifies better continuity, with zero ohms being perfect continuity.

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