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A Guide to Electrical Test Equipment Manufacturers

There are many test equipment manufacturers in the UK market, aside from the main names that everyone will know; there are several out there that you may not have heard of. Often, your decision to purchase a particular brand of tester will be based on your own experience, or recommendations from others. This article will give you some background on one particular manufacturer, Metrel, and showcase some of their products including tips on how to use them.

Metrel is based in Slovenia and has been manufacturing test equipment for over 50 years. Slovenia is one of the richest countries of the old Yugoslavian component states and has avoided all the tragedies of that part of the world. In the UK their products were previously distributed by Alphatek until they acquired Alphatek as a wholly owned subsidiary of Metrel UK.

They manufacture a highly sophisticated range of test equipment, from 17th Edition and PAT testers to power analysers, HV & machinery testers. The range is backed with a 2 year warranty and they have authorised UK service centres to support your purchase, of which Instrotech is one.

What Is Unique About Metrel Products?

If we look at the most popular products on the market today, 17th Edition multifunction testers & PATs are a big seller. There are several unique features with the Metrel testers that users have found to be highly beneficial and time saving.

Auto Sequence®

This is a unique patent pending testing procedure that allows the performing of a series of 17th Edition tests at the push of a button. Pre-set limits are used to compare the test results to in order to determine a pass or fail.

This test procedure guarantees the safety of the user during the process with automatic detection of any possible problems prior to carrying out any test.

At the end of the test sequence, all results are stored for download to PC software and completion of the certification. With this testing method, tests can be carried out up to 5 times faster than with a standard multifunction.

Built-in Help Screens

Their 17th Edition testers & PATs come with built-in help screens that give you information on correct connection for each test. Some 17th Edition testers also have built-in fuse tables, allowing for automatic evaluation of the line / loop impedance compared to the regulations.

Bluetooth™ Connectivity

Recently, Metrel launched a 17th Edition and PAT testing app for Android. The app communicates with the testers by Bluetooth. The 17th Edition app allows for the design of the installation to be created on your phone or tablet and then uploaded to the tester to perform the Auto Sequence.

With the PAT app, you can remote control the tester with your Android phone or tablet. The app can utilise the phone’s camera to scan QR codes and previous test results can be compared. All test data can also be transferred from the smartphone to the PC software.

Another free app available from Metrel is a risk assessment calculator. This can assist you in determining the test frequency for appliances in accordance with the Code of Practice.

Currently, the apps are only available for Android tablets or phones with no plans as yet to make them available for iOS.

What Is The Build Quality Like?

When you look at a brand name you’ve not heard of, one of the things you’ll want to know is are they reliable? The quality of their testers is very good, both in terms of the reliability of tests and the design of the casings. The testers are also backed with a 3 year warranty and covered by service centres in the UK, giving you added peace of mind as a consumer.

How Do They Stack Up Against The Competition?

The 17th Edition testers feature a comprehensive range of tests, with pricing that will match any budget. Often, for the price of a low end, big brand model, you will get a full spec Metrel tester. Some manufacturers charge more for a tester with an Auto RCD test, whereas with this company, this comes as standard across their whole range.

When it comes to the PAT testers, they are one of a small number of companies to offer a low cost downloading solution. The Gamma PAT features the ability to add your own description and unique appliance ID number, making it stand out from the competition.

There is no compromise on the speed of test or the accuracy with this brand. In comparisons with the other 17th Edition testers available, the Metrel models are as accurate and reliable as the big names. As with all manufacturers of multifunction testers, they have their own non-trip loop test technology, which is as good as the market leaders.

Product Focus

There is a large selection of testers available from Metrel, some would argue they have too much choice and we are inclined to agree. To make it easier, we have decided to showcase the following most popular testers.

MI3125 – Standard 17th Edition Tester
MI3125BT – Downloading 17th Edition Tester with Bluetooth™

A great 17th Edition tester and ideal for those on a budget. The MI3125 will perform the following tests:

• Insulation from 100V – 1000V
• Automatic R1 + R2 calculation
• Non trip & high current earth loop tests
• Built-in loop impedance tables for reference
• RCD types A & AC, 10 – 1000mA
• RCD trip time, auto test and ramp test
• Frequency measurement
• Phase rotation
• Earth resistance test (optional spike kit required)

The MI3125 features a red & green LED either side of the screen, giving an additional indication of a pass or fail. There is a strong magnet built into the back to enable the tester to be stuck to a panel door whilst testing.

The tester is supplied with a standard 3 wire lead set with probes & crocodile clips, rechargeable batteries, battery charger, calibration certificate, soft case and neck strap.

The Bluetooth™ version of this tester also includes a Bluetooth™ dongle, PC software and Android app.

MI3311 – Gamma PAT Pro Basic Downloading PAT Tester

This was one of the first downloading PAT testers to be launched below £500. The Gamma PAT Pro performs the minimum requirement for testing Class I & Class II appliances, along with IEC and extension leads. A test result is given with a Pass or Fail message, as well as a visual indication in the form of a red or green LED.

The Gamma PAT Pro will store up to 1000 test results and you can enter unique asset IDs and descriptions for the appliances tested. It’s supplied with the standard software and can be used with an optional barcode scanner if required.

The Gamma PAT features help screens, showing you what connections need to be made for each test and also has a built-in calibration check. The calibration check runs from separate circuitry and saves you investing in a checkbox or finding equipment to use as a known standard.

The Gamma PAT Pro is supplied with an earth bond clip, rechargeable batteries, mains charger, PC software, download lead, soft carry case and calibration certificate.

MI3309BT – Delta PAT Downloading PAT Tester with Bluetooth™

The Delta PAT was launched to meet the needs of those who wanted an RCD test function in a low cost downloading PAT. The Bluetooth version of the Delta PAT comes with Bluetooth dongle for connection to the Metrel PAT app. With this free Android software you can remote control your PAT and carry out risk assessments to determine the frequency of test.

The MI3309 Delta PAT features the simplicity of the Gamma PAT, but with the addition of an RCD test. This handheld PAT tester carries out the required tests for class I, class II and mains leads. Pre-programmed test sequences speed up the test process, and there are helpful diagrams to assist with connecting appliances under test.

As a mid-range downloading tester, the Delta PAT has the ability to enter a description, unique asset ID number and more. In addition the tester has a red & green LED on either side of the screen to give a clear visual indication of a pass or fail, as well as having the text displayed on-screen with the test result.

Carrying out tests on RCD protected mains plugs is safe, due to built-in protection which prevents tripping of an RCD on the mains circuit. The MI3309 also has dual power capability, this means you can use it with just battery power for standard tests, but also with mains power. Powered tests include differential leakage, touch leakage and power consumption.

The Gamma PAT Pro is supplied with an earth bond probe & crocodile clip, rechargeable batteries, mains charger, PC software, Bluetooth™ dongle, Android app, download lead, soft carry case and calibration certificate.

In conclusion

If you are looking for Electrical Test equipment, Instrotech are sure to have the most suitable product for your needs, available on their website.

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