The Importance of Voltage Detectors

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Voltage detectors are essential electrical safety tools used to detect the presence of electric voltage in electrical systems and circuits. These devices are commonly used by electricians, utility workers and other professionals who work with electrical equipment and systems. In this article, we will discuss the importance of voltage detectors, the various types of voltage detectors and their applications.

What is a Voltage Detector?

A voltage detector is a device used to detect the presence of an electrical voltage in a circuit or piece of equipment. It is designed to alert the user to the presence of a voltage, which could be dangerous if not handled correctly.

The device typically consists of a probe or sensor that is placed in contact with the electrical conductor or circuit. When the voltage detector identifies a voltage, it signals the user with an audible or visual indicator, such as a beep or light.

Types of Voltage Detectors

There are several types of voltage detectors available. Some of the most common types include:

  • Contact Voltage Detectors: A device that requires physical contact with the electrical circuit or wire to detect voltage. It usually consists of a probe that is attached to the conductor and the user needs to touch the probe to the wire or circuit to determine if it is live. Contact voltage detectors are considered to be more accurate and provide more reliable measurements than non-contact voltage detectors as they are in direct contact with the conductor.
  • Non-Contact Voltage Detectors: Detect voltage without making contact with the conductor. These voltage detectors work by using a sensor that picks up the electromagnetic field created by voltage around the wire or circuit and alerts the user with a visual or audible signal if voltage is present. Non-contact voltage detectors are generally safer to use than contact voltage detectors since they eliminate the risk of electrical shock and require less time and effort to operate in comparison to contact voltage detectors.
  • Pen-style voltage detectors: Small, portable and easy to use, these handy devices can detect voltage from just a few volts up to several hundred volts. These voltage detectors and are often used by electricians, maintenance technicians and other professionals.
  • Digital Multimeter: A device that can measure voltage, current and resistance in an electrical circuit.

The decision between which type of voltage detector to use depends largely on the specific application it is being used for and the level of accuracy required.

Voltage Detector Applications

Voltage detectors are commonly used in the electrical and power industries to test for the presence of live wires or electrical circuits that are still energised. They are an essential tool for those working with electrical equipment or in environments where electrical hazards are present. Voltage detectors are used in various applications, including:

  • Electrical Maintenance: Electricians and other professionals use voltage detectors to test electrical systems and circuits for the presence of voltage.
  • Electrical Safety: Voltage detectors are crucial for electrical safety as they can detect the presence of voltage and prevent accidental contact with live electrical conductors or circuits.
  • Troubleshooting: Voltage detectors can be used for troubleshooting electrical systems and circuits. These devices can help identify faulty components or circuits that are causing problems.

Benefits of Voltage Detectors

When used correctly, voltage detectors can provide several benefits, including:

  • Electrical Safety: Voltage detectors can prevent accidental contact with live electrical conductors or circuits, protecting workers from electrical shock or electrocution.
  • Time and Cost Savings: Voltage detectors can help identify faulty components or circuits, saving time and money on troubleshooting and repairs.
  • Convenience: Voltage detectors are easy to use and in many cases, portable, making them a convenient tool for electrical testing and troubleshooting.

Working with electricity can be dangerous and voltage detectors are used to prevent accidental contact with live electrical conductors or circuits. However, it is important to realise the hazards associated with voltage detectors. The misuse or failure of voltage detectors can result in serious injury or death. False readings can occur if a voltage detector is not properly calibrated or if the batteries are low. Therefore, it is important to use voltage detectors that are tested and certified to ensure they meet industry safety standards.

Popular Voltage Detectors on the Market

There are many voltage detectors available on the market today, with some of the most popular models coming from manufacturers such as Sofamel, Seaward and Fluke. These brands are known for their high-quality products and reliable performance. Supplying the market since 1996, we are the authorised distributor in Ireland for these leading manufacturers.

In addition to the broad range of Voltage Detectors on offer, we also supply our own HVPU-5P High Voltage Proving Unit, which is designed to safely prove operation of Low Voltage and High Voltage detectors during “Absence of Voltage” testing. Using the HVPU-5P, the electrician can gain quick and safe access to a known high voltage low energy test point, to prove that their high voltage detectors are working correctly. In doing so, the electrician is spared possible exposure to a potentially lethal high voltage high energy source while proving loss of voltage.

Below is a summary of our most commonly sought after voltage detectors:

  1. Sofamel VTE-5/36P – The Sofamel VTE-5/36P Electronic High Voltage Detector is a medium voltage detector that detects voltage presence and absence through LED and acoustic indicators. It has advanced technology with duplicated acquisition to ensure safe and precise results even in conflicting electric fields. It can be attached to any universal operating rod and is easy to maintain. The device has a work temperature range of -25°C to +55°C and comes with a 1.30 m insulating pole. It operates using a 9V alkaline battery and follows the IEC 61243 Standard.
  2. Sofamel VTO-5-36-P – The Analogic voltage detector with pole, Sofamel VTO-5/36-P, is an optical medium voltage detector with a rated voltage of 5 to 36 kV and frequency of 50/60 Hz. The device comes with a 1.30 m insulating pole and a carry bag. It is also supplied with a metallic box for storage and transportation of the voltage detector.
  3. Sofamel VTM-10-30-U – The SOFAMEL VTM-10/30U IEC Electronic Voltage Detector is a direct contact type detector that provides both visual and acoustic indications of voltage presence. It has a rated voltage of 10 to 30 kV and a frequency of 50 Hz/60 Hz. The device features LEDs indicating voltage presence, voltage absence, and low battery level, as well as a high-pitch buzzer. It follows the IEC 61243-1:2003 + A1:2009.UNE 61243-1:2003 standards.
  4. Sofamel VTA-150/420-U – The Sofamel VT-150/420-U IEC High Voltage Detector is an electronic voltage detector that uses a microcontroller and features a pulse of light for direct contact detection to ensure safe indication even in conflicting electric field environments. It has a rated voltage of 150 to 420 kV, LED indicators for voltage presence and absence, and a high acoustic pressure buzzer. The device self-checks for proper operation, self-ignites when voltage is present, and turns off after two minutes of voltage absence. It conforms to IEC 61243-1:2003 + Amend 1:2009 and UNE 61243-1.
  5. Sofamel VTA-90/225-U – The IEC high tech voltage detector is an electronic voltage detector with a microcontroller and direct contact detection. It uses new advanced technology acquisition by pulse of light to ensure a safe indication even in conflicting electric field environments. It has a self-checking system and is self-igniting when voltage is present. The detector is rated for 90 to 225 kV and meets IEC 61243 and UNE-EN 61243-1 standards.

The full range of voltage detectors that we supply can be viewed here.


Voltage detectors are essential tools in the electrical industry to detect the presence of electrical energy in conductors, power lines and electrical equipment. They provide a simple, effective and safe way to check whether electrical equipment is de-energised before any work can be carried out.

Voltage detectors have a wide range of applications in the electrical industry, including testing electrical equipment, conducting routine maintenance, troubleshooting and identifying potential electrical hazards. They are commonly used in substations, power plants and other industrial settings to ensure the safety of personnel working on electrical equipment.

Voltage detectors are particularly important when working with high-voltage electrical systems, where the risks of electrical shock and arc flash are much greater. By providing an early warning of potential hazards, voltage detectors can help protect workers and ensure safe work practices in a wide range of industrial and commercial settings.

For further information or assistance in finding the right voltage detector to suit your specific needs, call us on 057 866 2162 or email and a member of our team will be happy to answer any queries you may have.

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