How to Use a Continuity Tester

Updated on July 19, 2017

Before removing any device from a circuit and before accessing the internal workings of any device, you MUST make certain that you have removed ALL electrical power from the unit you intend to repair.

Simple Continuity Tester
Simple Continuity Tester
Standard Fuse Contacts
Standard Fuse Contacts

Continuity testers are simple devices designed to verify a complete electrical path through an object or circuit. They are especially useful for checking fuses of all types, lightbulbs, and wire paths.

While there are a variety of devices that include the ability to test for continuity, a homeowner can easily get by with the simple single purpose continuity tester. This is usually comprised of:

  1. Two leads
  2. A small body where the leads meet
  3. Some form of indicator

How to Test Fuses

To test a fuse of any type, remove the fuse from the de-energized circuit either by pulling it completely out or, if this is not possible, removing the lead from one side or the other of the fuse. NEVER ATTEMPT TO TEST A FUSE WHILE IT IS STILL FULLY IN THE CIRCUIT. Sometimes, the signal will backtrack through another path and give you a false reading if you leave the fuse within the circuit.

With the fuse separated from its circuit, simply touch the two leads of the tester, one to each side, to the two contacts/metal caps/sides of the fuse. If the fuse is good, the indicator on the tester will indicate this fact. If it is not good, the tester's indicator will remain immobile.

How to Test Lightbulbs

For a standard incandescent lightbulb, simply touch the two leads, one to the tip of the base of the screw portion, and one to the side of the screw portion of the removed lightbulb. If you are dealing with a cylindrical bulb (such as an overhead lamp in a car) then test it as you would a fuse. THIS TYPE OF TESTER WILL NOT WORK WITH FLOURESCENT BULBS.

LEDs require a certain level of voltage, usually just over 1 volt, to force their internal circuit into continuity. Make sure your continuity tester is designed to test LEDs if this is your need.

How to Test Wiring

You may also use this tester to verify that there is no break in a wire run. This ability is limited, of course, by the reach of the tester's leads but can be useful before making the final trims on audio wiring.

Touch one of the leads to the starting point of the unenergized wire and touch the other lead to the ending point of the unenergized wire. If there are no breaks in the wiring, the tester will indicate continuity.

When testing a wire run, it is allowable to temporarily tie in a jumper wire to one end in order to get your wiring to reach the leads of the continuity tester.

Be aware that longer wire runs may fail a continuity test with your small tester simply due to the length of the run and not because of any break in the line. For longer runs, it is recommended you use a more expensive, better-designed tester to overcome this limitation.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        smitty58 

        5 years ago

        That is not a continuity tester!!

      • profile image

        margie100 

        7 years ago

        ok ok I wanted a quik answer so I called home depot and they told me the breaker in the "house" cause dryers don't have breakers that out of the way can you tell me what to do cause the the br3eaker box has only those off and on clikky thingies up and down so I don't know what to do about that please im lost

      • profile image

        jess 

        7 years ago

        i have an amana dryer only 4 years old its heats at the beginning then cools down i see the flame light up but after 2 minutes it goes out...i replaced and cleaned my vents. pleas help

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 

        8 years ago from the short journey

        Hope to see more of these type articles!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)