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Andy from OneFromTheRoad.com writes: “Ideal’s SureTest is an AC circuit analyzer; basically it’s like one of those cheap three-neon-light testers on steroids — and then some.

“The problem with those neon light testers is that while they detect most problems, there are some very dangerous situations — ground/neutral shorts (aka “false ground”), excess impedance in the lines, voltage drop under load, among others — that they miss entirely.

“Both models of SureTest analyzers, the 164 and 165, test for all of these (including voltage drop over three different loads –12, 15, and 20 amp), as well as giving you a true RMS readout of the hot-neutral voltage and ground-neutral voltage, a peak hot-neutral voltage, a frequency reading in Hz, a measure of the available current through the breaker in a worst-case-scenario dead short of all three conductors, and a test of the GFCI if you’ve got one installed — this even includes a reading of how much current it took to trip and how long it took to trip!.  The more advanced 165 model adds testing of AFCIs and another related test or two.

“I recently replaced my no-longer-manufactured Ecos AccuTest circuit tester with a Suretest 164, and am in love.  (I went through a “new toy” phase of running every test on every outlet in my apartment).

“As a live sound engineer, I use it all the time to test power at a venue before I plug my (or, perhaps more importantly, my boss’s) expensive equipment into it, but it’s equally important for homeowners, where many of these problems can be the cause of electrical fires.”

Street pricing starts around $225 for the Model 164.

SureTest Circuit Analyzers [Ideal Industries]
Street Pricing [Froogle]


2 Responses to Reader Find: Ideal’s SureTest Circuit Analyzer

  1. Myself says:

    Bootleg ground is common in older houses and apartments, and they’re hard to check for. This tool’s not cheap and might be hard for a homeowner to justify, but every inspector and electrician should have one. Good stuff!

  2. Andy says:

    Keep an eye out on eBay if you’re looking for better prices on these. You can often find the older 154/155 models for significantly less–the major difference being that the older ones have the LCD display shown in the above pic, whereas the new ones have a super bright OLED display. There are a couple other differences, but nothing else huge that I was able to find when I was looking, although I ended up getting a great deal on a new 164.


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