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If you've spent a good amount of money on an appliance tester like most of us, you'll want to make sure you care for it properly so it lasts a long time. Our team of test and tag experts from Australia have put together their collective minds and come up with 3 essential ways to ensure your PAT Tester stays healthy and works properly over the long haul.
The type of batteries you put in your appliance tester is often misunderstood. Most of them are designed to use rechargeable lithium ion batteries which re-charge when plugged into mains power. If you mistakenly use standard non-rechargeable batteries they will become damaged and start to leak. The residue that results comes from this is then left to sit there for too long and can end up on the electronic circuitry, causing catastrophic damage to these components.
We haven't even mentioned yet that non-rechargeable batteries are also a fire risk as they can become so hot that they can ignite.
In the past we have received an appliance tester for calibration whereby the technician has found the wrong batteries. If you're lucky enough to have it found in time, the technician can simply remove the residue from the terminals and replace the batteries with the correct type without further damage being sustained. But if left too long, there have been many instances where the testers require major repairs to fix this issue.
It's worth mentioning that some PAT Testers do use standard batteries, meaning that using the more expensive rechargeable ones could be a waste of money. If you're unsure, get in contact with us and we'll help you out.
Pro tip: If you aren't using your PAT Tester for an extended amount of time, remove the batteries and store it. Old flat batteries can also fail and leak if left for too long.
One of the most common phrases we hear from test and taggers with regards to getting their tester calibrated is "it seems to be working fine!" The issue here isn't if the portable appliance tester is working normally or not, but whether the readings being displayed are correct.
Basically, these testers are boxes of electronic components that like any other kind of components that work within a machine, can wear out and wander from their initial settings. As most people who use these PAT machines aren't electrical or electronic experts, they rely on the tester to give them the correct information which ultimately decides if the item passes or fails.
It is a known fact that testers can display the wrong result due to a variety reasons, from internal and external damage, component defect or simply wear and tear. There is simply no way of knowing if the results are right unless the testers are checked periodically.
The calibration process essentially checks all of the functions of the tester against known values, which then results in adjustments being made where necessary to restore the tester to the correct values.
Mind you, the Australian Standard AS/NZS 3760 also makes mention that a calibration is required every 12 months.
Pro tip: make sure you have the latest firmware loaded (where applicable) which can offer better or faster operation.
Surge protected power boards can sometimes be a little difficult to test depending on the available functions of your appliance tester, however they provide great protection when used correctly. The role of these type of power boards is to protect electronic components from surges or spikes in voltage supplied from the mains power socket in the wall.
Your PAT Tester is also an electronic piece of equipment and is just as prone to voltage surges or spikes as your PC or flat screen TV. By plugging your tester into a surge protected power board (or double adaptor with surge protection) you will provide the same level of protection your TV gets and it won't affect your test results at all.
Damage to any electronic appliance (including our testers) is generally not covered under any manufacturers warranties as it's considered an external event causing the damage, not a defect. So with this in mind, it is highly recommended you plug your PAT Tester into a surge protected power supply whenever you possibly can.
Pro tip: rather than using a large surge protected EPOD/Powerboard to protect your tester, look out for a smaller double adaptor style which will take up less space in your kit (but remember it'll also need regular testing).