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If you’re like us, you’ve probably got three or four cheap-ass AC voltage testers laying around your toolbox(es) waiting for the day you need to change a switch or install an outlet. But think about this for a sec: When you’re going to bet your ass (or hand, as the case may be) on a tool, do you want the $0.50 special or a brand you recognize?

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Inductive ammeters are nothing new, but they’re incredibly useful yet fairly rare tools. While electrical diagnostics usually require nothing more than a test light, motors, actuators, and battery connections are best tested with an ammeter — so you know not only if current is present, but how much.

The i1010 is a long-standing offering from Fluke, the best name in the business. The upper end of the measurement range is 1000A, but the bottom end is a relatively tiny 0.5A, leaving the i1010 in the perfect range for current measurements of just about any actuator or automotive current draw. Short of a battleship’s starter motor, you’re never going to run off the top end of this thing’s range. The only drawback is only 2% accuracy — more than enough for most applications, but severely Type-A personalities may wish to continue shopping. The i1010 is plenty expensive, but there’s a similar, less accurate (3.5%) model with a 400A range, the i410, available for much less.

Fluke i1010 [Fluke]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Fluke i410 [Google Products]

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Thank the fine folks at Fluke for these neat little expletive-savers:  they’re simple prongs of thin, sturdy metal used for back-probing wiring harnesses.  Anyone who’s used a bent pin or rusty paper clip from the shop floor can appreciate these doohickeys, especially since the female banana plug socket on the back makes ’em compatible with Fluke’s interchangeable test lead wires.

Sure, $31 is a fair amount to ask for what are basically sewing pins with a socket on the end, but for career electrical technicians and harness builders, these lovelies would make a great addition to a tool box — if you’ve ever had to disassemble a Weatherpack connector, you understand why some Toolmongers would make the investment.

Back-Probe Pins [Fluke]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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The Fluke 62 Mini Infrared Thermometer will allow you to read temperatures from -20 to 932 degrees Fahrenheit — while keeping at a safe distance. Great for motor maintenance, electrical, heating, and many other uses, the Fluke 62 stores the maximum temperature so you don’t have to write it down, and the built-in laser shows you what you’re shooting at.

Fluke is well-known and respected for very high-quality electronic testing products, so $90 for the Fluke 62 and a nylon belt holster seems like a good deal.

Fluke 62 [Fluke]
Street Pricing [Google]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

When someone asks to borrow a tool from the Toolmonger shop, we usually don’t say, “Over our dead bodies” — unless the tool in question is our faithful Fluke 77 Multimeter.  Though it’s not the latest model out there, it still keeps pace with any meter currently on the market.

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Professional Equipment is selling the Fluke Noncontact Voltprobe for $15.10.  With this relatively safe tool you can check for AC voltage without making contact or exposing wiring — it’s handy for determining whether a circuit has been correctly shut off at the breaker!

Fluke Noncontact Voltprobe [Professional Equipment]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

 

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Fluke markets its LVD1 as a non-contact voltage detector (“volt sniffer”), but I’ve found that the bright LED at the end makes a perfectly competent flashlight, too. The LVD1’s voltage-sensor indicator light glows when the unit is close to an AC field, as you’ll see after the jump.

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When troubleshooting telephone wiring, sometimes you need to work with individual leads.  Also, the typical “butt set” tester includes alligator clips rather than a modular plug.  In both cases, the tool you need to make the connection between the leads and the modular plug is called a banjo.

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Fluke meters are tough.  I have a Fluke 77 my father gave me close to 20 years ago, and it’s been dropped in the mud, stepped on, and hit with water — and came through all the beatings just fine.  The new Fluke 115 should do the same. 

The 115 is bred to work, from the large, white LED backlight to the rubber shock-resistant jacket.  It’s a reliable piece of gear from a trusted name.  Fluke is the standard.

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