Portable Appliance Testers - Equipment Specifications & Features

When you start looking for a portable appliance tester, the first thing you will notice is the large range you have to choose from. The following is a guide to the different types, and highlights features to look for.

     
Clare SafeCheck 8 1495.00       Manufacturers Data Sheet
FirstStop Safety BattPAT 238.80                                  
FirstStopSafety MemoryPAT 358.80                           Manufacturers Data Sheet
Fluke 6200 769.00                       Manufacturers Data Sheet
Fluke 6500 1099.00               Manufacturers Data Sheet
Kewtech KT71 650.00                         Manufacturers Data Sheet
Kewtech KT72 550.00                             Manufacturers Data Sheet
Kewtech KT73 Plus 715.00                       Manufacturers Data Sheet
Kewtech KT74 1149.00                     Manufacturers Data Sheet
Kewtech KT75 995.00                   Manufacturers Data Sheet
Kewtech KT76 795.00                           Manufacturers Data Sheet
Kewtech KT77 1295.00             Manufacturers Data Sheet
Martindale EasyPat 1600 496.00                                
Martindale EasyPat 2100 699.00                      
Martindale HPAT500 379.00                                  
Martindale HPAT600 458.00                              
Martindale MicroPat 799.00                  
Megger PAT32 725.00                               Manufacturers Data Sheet
Megger PAT4DV/3 1019.00                 Manufacturers Data Sheet
Megger PAT4DVF/3 1249.00               Manufacturers Data Sheet
Megger PAT320 795.00               Manufacturers Data Sheet
Megger PAT350 945.00             Manufacturers Data Sheet
Metrel AutoPat NA                               Manufacturers Data Sheet
Metrel SwiftPAT 475.00                            
Metrel AlphaPat 785.25               Manufacturers Data Sheet
Metrel GammaPat 495.00                       Manufacturers Data Sheet
Metrel GammaPat Pro 495.00                     Manufacturers Data Sheet
Metrel BetaPat 899.00         Manufacturers Data Sheet
Metrel BetaPat Plus 965.00     Manufacturers Data Sheet
Metrel OmegaPat 1045.00       Manufacturers Data Sheet
Metrel OmegaPat Plus 1120.00   Manufacturers Data Sheet
Metrel DeltaPAT 749.00             Manufacturers Data Sheet
Metrel SigmaPAT 1195.00       Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward Apollo 500 1150.00         Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward Apollo 600 1399.00         Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward Primetest 50 349.00                               Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward Primetest 100 469.00                             Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward Primetest 200 595.00                         Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward Primetest 220 565.00                         Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward Primetest 250 549.00                     Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward Primetest 300 1210.00                 Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward Primetest 350 1320.00             Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward EuropaPAC NA                     Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward EuropaPAC Plus 725.00                     Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward Europa Plus 1079.00           Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward Supernova Plus 1395.00     Manufacturers Data Sheet
Seaward Europa Elite 1340.00   Manufacturers Data Sheet
Robin SmartPAT 5500 NA                    
Robin SmartPAT 3500 NA                                
Transmille 5080 549.00                             Manufacturers Data Sheet
Transmille 6080 749.00                       Manufacturers Data Sheet
Transmille 6080 Plus 899.00                   Manufacturers Data Sheet
     

Test Specifications

Earth Continuity - Soft Test

All modern PAT testers are able to perform a low current earth continuity test, this is usually referred to as a 'soft test'. The test current can be within the range of 20mA to 200mA, but 100mA or 200mA is typical. Somewhat confusingly, equipment manufacturers use differing terminology for this test. It may also be referred to as 'Earth Screen Test', 'Screen Bond Test' or 'Continuity Test'. This test is used for IT equipment where the primary purpose of the earth connection is for screening purposes and a high current earth continuity test may damage the equipment. The 3rd Edition of the IEE Code of Practice states that this test can be carried out on all class 1 equipment, not just IT equipment. This has led to a range of mainly battery operated testers being introduced that do not carry out a high current earth continuity test. Some older testers may not have a soft test function and therefore are not suitable for testing IT equipment.

Earth Continuity - Hard Test

The high current earth continuity test (hard test) is carried out at a current of not less than 1.5 times the rating current of the appliance, and no greater than 25 amps. The purpose of this high current test is to ensure any potentially corroded earth wires are suitably stressed, especially so on appliances that are susceptible to corrosion such as fridges, washing machines, kettles, dryers etc. Some battery powered testers do not have a high current earth continuity test.

Insulation Test (500V & 250V)

The insulation resistance test is normally measured by applying a test voltage of 500 Vdc. For some sensitive electronic equipment and equipment incorporating surge protection devices, the 500V test may not always be suitable. In such circumstances a reduced voltage, usually 250V, is used. Alternatively the insulation test may be replaced with an earth leakage test or touch current test.

Earth Leakage Test (230V & 110V)

The earth leakage test, also known as the protective conductor current test, is an additional or complementary test to the insulation test. This test is used where the insulation test gives suspect results or can not be used. A typical application is for testing equipment containing a heating element, such as a kettle, where the properties of the element may give a misleading insulation reading. Some testers can only carry out this test on 230V, others can also test 110V equipment.

Substitute Earth Leakage Test

The substitute leakage test is similar to the leakage test but is carried out at a lower voltage. This is useful for testing equipment that you do not want to power up for short periods of time, i.e. a computer. However this test does have limitations because appliances with electronic switches, relays or other active circuitry, will not be tested beyond the switch.

Touch Current

The touch current test is used as an alternative to the earth leakage test for class 2 equipment.

Load Test (230V & 110V)

The load test is usually performed at the same time as the earth leakage test to measure the power and/or the current the appliance is consuming. An abnormal power consumption may indicate potential faults with an appliance. As with the earth leakage test, some testers can only carry out this test on 230V, others can also test 110V equipment.

Flash Test

The flash test, also known as dielectric strength testing or hi-pot testing, is not normally carried out as part of the standard in-service inspection and testing and is usually only carried out by the appliance manufacturer.

RCD Test

The IEE Code of Practice recommends that in addition to the basic functional test, the trip time of portable RCDs should be tested. Some PAT testers now incorporate this function.

Tester Types & Features

Simple PASS/FAIL types

PASS/FAIL or GO/NO GO, type testers give a simple pass or fail test result allowing no interpretation of the test data. These testers generally only carry out insulation and earth continuity tests. Most PASS/FAIL PAT testers do not have a selectable Earth Continuity test current.

PASS/FAIL testers have the advantage of being easy to use but have limited practical use.

Manual PAT Testers

Manual PAT testers give much more functionality and display a test readings not just a pass or fail result, however they do require a level of understanding to correctly interpret the test data. As well as the standard Insulation and Earth Continuity tests, many also carry out Earth Leakage and Load tests. Look for testers with selectable Earth continuity test currents enabling the testing of IT equipment.

Downloadable PAT Testers

For testing large amounts of equipment a tester that automates the process and has recording capabilities is more suitable. These testers are able to initiate a pre-programmed test sequence. Test data, including the overall PASS or FAIL result, is stored for downloading or printing out.

PAT Equipment manufacturers and suppliers include - Alphatek, Avo, Fluke, Kewtech, Martindale, Megger, Metrel, Seaward, Robin, Transmille