We Value Your Privacy

We and our partners use technology such as cookies on our site to personalise content and ads, provide social media features, and analyse our traffic. Click below to consent to the use of this technology across the web. You can change your mind and change your consent choices at anytime by returning to this site.

Update Consent
Loading ...

How to Use a Tester Screwdriver on a Circuit

Updated February 21, 2017

A tester screwdriver is a simple electrical device that you can use to see whether a circuit is carrying current. This fills a couple of useful needs--if you're getting ready to work on a circuit, you can see if power is flowing to it, and if you're trying to diagnose an electrical problem, you can use the tester screwdriver to see if power is indeed flowing to a non-operating device.

Loading ...
  1. Remove any covers that may limit access to the circuit you wish to test. For example, if you are testing an electric outlet in your home, you'll need to remove the outlet cover's screw and then the cover itself to get access to the circuit. There's no one method to use here, since you could be working on a multitude of different electrical applications.

  2. Identify a good point to touch the tester screwdriver to. It's important that the screwdriver tip touch a bare wire or bare metal connection to the wire, and not an insulated portion of the wire. For example, when testing an electric outlet, touching the tester screwdriver's tip to a screw that holds an incoming wire is a good plan.

  3. Touch the tip of the tester screwdriver to the wire you're testing, being sure to hold the tester screwdriver's insulated handle. Look at the handle of the screwdriver. If the small neon light in the handle lights up, there is power going to the circuit. Otherwise the circuit is dead.

  4. Warning

    To avoid electric shock, don't exceed the rating on the screwdriver. For example, don't use a screwdriver rated to 120 volts on a 220-volt circuit.

Loading ...

Things You'll Need

  • Tester screwdriver

About the Author

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.

Loading ...