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Continuity Testers

Sometimes outlets, fixtures or appliances are blamed for a problem that is actually generated by a worn-out switch. An inexpensive little gadget called a continuity tester tells you in seconds if your switch has a faulty pathway and is the break in the energy chain. Before you decide your built-in overhead or wall light is busted, first test your switch. But before you test your switch, you must first test your tester to ensure it is working.

How To Test Your Continuity Tester
Attach the tester���s clip end to the metal probe as shown in the picture. It should light. If it doesn���t, it needs a new battery or bulb.

Now that you know your tester is working, it���s time to test your switch. Turn off the power to your wall switch. Test to make sure the power is off by using a circuit tester. Once you know the power is definitely off, remove the switch from the switch box without disconnecting any of the wires. Attach the continuity tester���s clip end to one of the terminal screws.

Now touch the probe to the one other terminal screw. Flip the switch on and off. The tester should light only when the switch is in the ON position. If your switch is a three-way with a double set of screws, keep the clamp on the same terminal screw and touch the probe end to the other screws one at a time, flipping the switch each time. If the tester���s light fails to light in the ON position for any connection, replace it.

Continuity Testers Continuity Testers

One thing you may find you���ll need to do as you replace outlets, switches and appliances, is learn how to strip wires, a simple process that gives you a clean connection and helps the transfer of energy. Sometimes a seemingly busted switch or outlet can be fixed by simply renewing or cleaning the wire contacts, a process that takes only a few minutes. So before we move on to replacement techniques, let���s first discuss stripping (wire, of course).