Testing Live-Line Tools: CHANCE® Wet/Dry Portable Hotstick Tester

Essential tips to test in-service Hotsticks with the CHANCE Wet/Dry Portable Hotstick Tester to safely ensure live-line tool performance and integrity.

Using the CHANCE® Wet/Dry Portable Hotstick Tester

Everyday Linemen across the world use CHANCE Hotsticks (live-line tools) to perform maintenance on energized power lines. When manufacturing Hotsticks, CHANCE 100% electrically tests the foam filled pole used in Hotsticks per ASTM F711, IEC 60855, and OSHA 1926.957. In the US, OSHA 1926.957(b)(1) requires that “each live-line tool shall be wiped clean and visually inspected for defects before use each day.” OSHA 1926.975(b)(3) also requires the tools to be removed from service every 2 years for examination, cleaning, repair, and testing under wet conditions. More information on visually inspecting Hotsticks can be found here.

Is there a way to easily electrically test Hotsticks to ensure the insulating properties are still good? The answer is: yes.

Portable Testing for Live-line Tools

The CHANCE Wet/Dry Portable Hotstick Tester is an excellent tool to perform periodic electrical testing on in-service hotsticks. The tester is sold in both a 115V unit and a 230V unit. (The 230V unit does not include a plug as various countries use different styles of plugs.) This article addresses how to use the tester effectively.

How to Test In-service Hotsticks:

Check Meter Functionality

Before using the tester, ensure that the meter functions properly. First move the toggle switch to the ‘Dry Test’ position. Rotate the knob until the needle is aligned with the zero. Then apply the included check bar to the tester, which should cause the needle to peg.

Clean the Hotstick

Before testing, it is important to wipe down the Hotstick with a Moisture Eater II wipe to remove any contamination on the surface. Do not use silicone or wax as these materials can fill scratches and voids, and improve hydrophobicity during wet testing, causing a false pass reading.

Perform Dry Electrical Test

Once the Hotstick is clean and the tester is properly zeroed and checked, place the tester on one end of the pole. Take an initial reading, then lift and reposition the tester further down the stick, while ensuring a slight overlap with the previous position. Once the entire length of the Hotstick has been tested, rotate the Hotstick 90 degrees. Repeat three additional times to ensure the entire circumference of the pole is checked. Leakage current less than 20 µA is required to pass the dry test.

Perform Wet Electrical Test

For wet testing, first move the tester toggle switch to the ‘Wet Test’ position and zero the meter needle. Then mist the tool lightly with distilled or deionized water. Now repeat the overlapping test sequence along the entire length of the pole for all four quadrants. Leakage current less than 75 µA is required to pass the wet test. The video below provides an excellent demonstration of using the tester.



Routine Hotstick Calibration and Services:

The tester comes from the Factory with a calibration sticker. It is common for Hubbell Power Systems’ Customers to send their Hotstick Testers annually to M. W. Bevins of Tulsa, OK for recalibration. They can also provide repairs and parts for the Hotstick Tester. The contact information for Bevins can be found here.

In summary, the CHANCE Portable Hotstick Tester is a great way to electrically test Hotsticks in the field. Always make sure to follow your company’s work practices and procedures.

For additional questions or to schedule training with a CHANCE expert on Hotsticks, or a variety of other subjects, please reach out to your local Hubbell Utility Solutions’ Territory Manager or contact our training team by filling out this form.

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