Selecting the right PAT testing equipment is no longer that simple, given the different choices and budgets one needs to strictly adhere to. While manual test equipment are still very much in use, technological advancements have now made it possible to automate certain tests, record, and store values, offering a faster and easier alternative that is, in fact, more reliable, as it eliminates the possibility of manual errors.
Suitability of a PAT tester depends not only on the voltages of the portable appliances to be tested, but also the number of such units that must be tested. There are several PAT testers available on the market for conducting tests at 110v, and specific testers for 230v tests as well.
PAT testing professionals must first get their testing objectives clear to choose the right equipment that best fits their requirements.
Factors to Consider
It is important to take the following factors into account before investing in a PAT tester:
- Number of tests to be carried out.
- Number of appliances to be tested.
- Type of appliances/ equipment/ user environment.
- Manual or automated testing.
- How test results will be recorded and processed.
Each class and type of appliance put to particular use will need specific PAT tests. If there are too many appliances that need to undergo testing, then manual testing may not be the practical resort. On the other hand, if test results need to be recorded, processed and reported, opting for advanced PAT testers with suitable features are bound to prove ideal.
PAT Tester Types and Options
Depending on the class of appliances being tested and scale of the PAT testing job, it is possible to settle for a suitable PAT tester.
There are different types of PAT testers available. The following are some examples:
- The Pass/Fail tester simply displays ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ to clear tested appliance based on pre-set values. Even the most basic PAT tester supports basic safety tests for earth continuity, insulation resistance and polarity of detachable main cords.
- These are enough to test a limited number of appliances. Such testers are ideal for low-volume testing that does not require results to be interpreted or analysed. The aim is to test if the appliance is for safe use.
- These testers display a reading corresponding to the test being carried out and a qualified technician is required to jot down the result, interpret it and rate the appliance accordingly.
- Earth continuity resistance, insulation resistance, lead polarity, fuse integrity and earth leakage tests across standard test ranges are supported.
Downloadable/ Computerised PAT Testers
- These are higher-end electronic equipment, capable of recording and storing test results, which can subsequently be transferred to a personal computer or database, for creation of an asset register and reports. Built-in memory, advanced features and options, two-way Bluetooth connectivity as well as software support are characteristic of these testers, which are expensive when compared to other PAT testers.
PAT Testing and Testers
Professional PAT testing technicians and businesses can select suitable PAT testers based on their scope of operations. The PAT tests they conduct as a part of the regular job usually help choose the right PAT tester.
Testing services that focus on essential tests such as earth bond test, suitability for 110V and 240V, insulation resistance, earth leak test on IT equipment, appliances with long leads and extension leads may do well to settle for basic PAT testers. Advanced testers with test result capacity are ideal for those who wish to conduct RCD testing, flash testing or 110V run test as well.
Large-scale testing and reporting requirements warrant the need for downloadable testers that offer configurable test conditions, printer and barcode scanner options, Bluetooth connectivity and other advanced features.
Points to Consider
- Earth bonding tests are carried out under different current strengths based on the type of appliance. There are testers that support tests at high current, ranging from 4 amp to 26 amp, while others cater to testing electronic and IT equipment at lower test currents between 20 to 200mA (milliamp).
- It is worth noting that surge protected extension leads will fail a 500V insulation test, and require to be cleared using a PAT tester offering a 250V insulation test.
- Opting for a PAT tester with a dedicated 110V socket may prove more beneficial when specialising in PAT testing of 110V power tools, appliances or extension leads. While it is possible to use an adapter, there is always a dangerous risk of powering up with a higher voltage.
- Battery-powered PAT testers are portable; however, they do not support high-current strengths as their counterparts that are powered by mains.
There are several factors that need careful consideration before investing in PAT testers, to ensure they best fit specific testing requirements.
We stock the latest in Portable Appliance Testing Equipment (PAT Testers & PAT Testing Kits) from leading suppliers such as Seaward, Megger and Fluke. We have also been approved as a Seaward Calibration Partner.
Our range of PAT Testers include the Seaward PrimeTest Series, Seaward Supernova Elite Series, Seaward Apollo 400, Seaward Apollo 500, Seaward Apollo 600, Fluke 6200-2, Fluke 6500-2, Megger PAT100, PAT300 and PAT400 Series.