The Milwaukee Fluorescent Lighting Tester is one of those ho-hum looking tools that will drastically change somebody’s day. It doesn’t look like a big deal, but for the maintenance guy who wanders around your building grumbling about fixing lights all day, this will be forever attached to his belt. What it does is allow you to check exactly what’s wrong with fluorescent lighting without touching it or even getting a ladder in most cases. To our way of thinking, somebody should have come up with this a long time ago.
Here’s the deal — should you come across a dark bulb, just extend the 3′ wand and put the cupped plate in contact with the glass. The wand sends a super low current through to the gas inside the bulb, and if it lights, it’s just a bad bulb. If it doesn’t, switch to “Ballast” mode and wave the wand at either connection point. If it beeps, the ballast is good; if not, you have a bad ballast at that end. You can also do a pin check by inserting the pins of a bulb into the checker located at the bottom of the unit and get a tone for good or no tone for bad.
There are a few drawbacks: If the bulbs have a cover plate on the lightbox, you’ve rendered the lamp check powerless and are basically screwed. Also, the unit doesn’t make lightsaber sounds even though a more perfect app will never present itself.
We’re guessing that for most folks out there this tool may make no difference at all. But for a very select few the ability to troubleshoot lighting on a 9-to-10 foot ceiling without a ladder and know exactly what’s happening up there in seconds is going to be worth whatever Milwaukee is charging for it.
Fluorescent Lighting Tester [Milwaukee]