White Paper: Test & Measurement

Fundamentals of Electrical Safety Testing

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Electrical safety testers – often referred to as “hipot” testers – are an integral part of electrical and electronic equipment manufacturing. Hipot testers get their name from the high potential (high voltage) they produce to perform dielectric withstand and insulation resistance tests. In addition to these tests, many hipot testers provide accurate low-resistance measurements and low-resistance/high-current outputs to test ground resistance and ground bond integrity.

Hipot testing has long been a standard procedure for assuring the electrical safety of electronic equipment. Early commercial hipot testers were actually not much more than a step-up transformer to adjust to applied voltage in stepped increases over prescribed time segments to test for leakage or component breakdown. This method could easily lead to incorrect results when leakage current caused the voltage output from a high impedance transformer source to droop. Modern hipot testers utilize electronic source technology to assure compliance with IEC-61010 that explicitly requires that “the voltage test equipment shall be able to maintain the required voltage for the specified period of time.”

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