Wiggies...solenoid testers...where did they go?

jaylectricity

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
I had two, one went bad and I threw it away. I procrastinated and didn't buy another one. Then we left one in a house that was just short of a mansion. I walked the property and retraced my steps several times looking for things and didn't see it. So I've been using the multi-meter, but it's annoying having to hold it up so I can see the reading.

I've been to several big box stores and a few supply houses and it seems none of them have one. Are they being phased out? Or am I just unlucky?

I like just having it vibrate and knowing the different intensities of vibration to know what the voltage probably is. If I need to know for sure, yes, I'll hold it up and see where the needle is.
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
T+Pro. Keep the batteries fresh enough so they dont leak. Don’t let it set out in the rain because the Boss only replaces it once for that reason. Probes are replaceable and interchangeable with other styles.

I did see an Ideal similar to your lost tester, guessing, at a Menards a couple days ago.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Seriously, try the Fluke- it vibrates, chirps, has both a voltage lights and an LCD meter, does continuity without changing any settings, CAT rated, etc. (The Knopps are supposed to be good, too; I don't have one to compare with.)
That CAT rating might be a reason why the older designs are not available anymore.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
That CAT rating might be a reason why the older designs are not available anymore.
Probably correct, as I believe the actual solenoid testers had a maximum of CAT III. There were incidents and injuries because they were used improperly by some. Some sites prohibit their use.

It is still my favorite tool for troubleshooting 120 volt control circuits and the CAT rating is not an issue there.
 

Jraef

Moderator
Staff member
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
WIGGY LIVES!
Wiggy was bought a long time ago by Square D, but Square D kept the Wiggy name because it was so well known. Until relatively recently. After the French (Schneider) bought Square D in the 90s, they dropped the old Wiggy name because they didn't want to keep paying the original owners a royaly for it, and the contract was voided with the purchase of the company. So now it is just called a "Square D Voltage Tester", model 6610VT. Still available, but only through Square D supply houses now.

Chances are though, 99% of the time you will get hold of a kid who has no idea they exist, but that's a common problem everywhere about almost everything any more.

Oh, wait... crap. Apparently Schneider killed it all together in the end of 2018. I just found out. Discontinued and no replacement. Go for the Knopp.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Seriously, try the Fluke- it vibrates, chirps, has both a voltage lights and an LCD meter, does continuity without changing any settings, CAT rated, etc.
How do you accurately and confidently know whether you're reading power or continuity?

With the Knopp, there's never any doubt.
 
From the manual-
Beeper
When the Tester detects a voltage, the LEDs light to indicate the voltage level, the Tester vibrates, and a beeper sounds (the T+ PRO also shows the voltage on the display). The beeper tones are different depending on what is being measured:
•AC voltage - the beeper is a chirping tone
•DC voltage - the beeper is a steady tone
•Continuity - the beeper is a steady tone for resistances less than 20 kΩ
Note If any voltage is present, the Tester automatically switches to voltage mode. To turn the beeper on or off, press Z for more than 3 seconds. Each time the beeper is activated or deactivated, the Tester emits 3 short beeps. Batteries are required for this feature.

Vibration Voltage Indication
The Tester vibrates when voltages 40 V and higher are measured. Batteries are required for vibration to function.


Since the stuff I'm usually working on is AC above 50v, I can be fairly sure what's what.
 

paulengr

Senior Member
Solenoid testers have two major issues. First as mentioned is the CAT rating. Contrary to popular belief and a lot of bogus marketing, a CAT rating is simply a hi pot test of the meter at a certain voltage and for a certain length of time with a certain impedance.!It is intended to simulate a surge. Some older meters had the input circuit traces too close together so it might be “rated” 600 V but if a surge happened at say 2 kV (not huge...contactor could can do that) suddenly it would short internally and explode in your hands. A solenoid tester in particular can essentially never pass the test by nature so none of them had CAT ratings ever. It doesn’t matter if you “use it right” because surges always exist in any electrical system they are just more common in some than in others. So using solenoid testers is playing the odds that it won’t blow up on you today.

Second more egregious issue is when you lift the lead the magnetic energy in the coil has to go somewhere. It arcs a little and actually CREATES a surge. In relays, contactors, and other electrical equipment this does no major damage. But it blows up anything electronic such as electronic coils, PLC inputs, electronic timers, etc. So most industrial plants banned them because they cost a lot of money replacing the parts that troubleshooting destroys,

As stated if you use a meter more modern than a Simpson it beeps and buzzes, too.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
...
Second more egregious issue is when you lift the lead the magnetic energy in the coil has to go somewhere. It arcs a little and actually CREATES a surge. In relays, contactors, and other electrical equipment this does no major damage. But it blows up anything electronic such as electronic coils, PLC inputs, electronic timers, etc. So most industrial plants banned them because they cost a lot of money replacing the parts that troubleshooting destroys,
...
Used them for troubleshooting on that type of electronic equipment for decades and never had that issue.
 
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