Maintenance Electrician Training 101: Essential Starter Tools for your New Career

October 16, 2018

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As a maintenance electrician, you could find yourself handling a wide variety of jobs, from installing home electrical systems to diagnosing and repairing electrical malfunctions in industrial machinery. But whether you’re on the factory floor or a residential construction site, there are some tools that are essential for every electrician.

When investing in your first set of tools, it’s important to do some research. You don’t necessarily need the most expensive equipment, but you should make sure to buy the best possible product for the budget you have. These tools are likely to stay in your kit for a long time to come, so it’s worth making sure that they’re reliable, durable, and effective. You don’t want to be replacing parts constantly or having an important tool fail on the job. In the long run, a good set of tools will save you both time and money.

Tools for Cutting, Gripping, and Stripping Wires

Pliers are one of the most basic and commonly used tools in an electrician’s kit. You’ll need both side-cutting or diagonal pliers, for cutting wire, and needle-nosed pliers for gripping, pulling, and twisting. One thing pliers can’t do, though, is remove the insulation from wires, so you’ll also need a pair of wire strippers that can accommodate a wide range of wire gauges. These should all have comfortable grips and smooth mechanical motion, and like all of your tools, they should have insulated handles.

become a construction electrician-3To remove the insulation from electrical wires, you’ll need a wire stripper

Protecting Your Safety With a Non-Contact Voltage Tester

After you finish construction school, you’ll want a good non-contact voltage tester to keep you safe on the jobsite. These handy, portable tools can detect an AC current without making direct contact with the source, even through standard wiring insulation. A simple pen-style option that you can keep with you at all times is ideal, and can usually be found for under twenty dollars. These tools are indispensible for keeping you safe on the job and avoiding accidental shocks, so reliability is the most important factor when considering which model to buy.

To Diagnose Electrical Issues, You’ll Need a Multimeter

A voltage tester is sufficient for telling you whether or not a wire or device is live, but for a more detailed reading, you’ll need a multimeter. These tools are used frequently by professionals who have completed maintenance electrician training to measure current, voltage, and resistance, and are indispensable when troubleshooting electrical problems. Prices can range from less than fifty dollars, up into the thousands, with more expensive models boasting a higher resolution, a wider range of values that can be tested, and extra features like the ability to measure capacity or duty cycle.

While analog interfaces are still available, digital has become the standard, and some models now feature an added clamp (called a clamp meter) that can measure AC current in a wire, cable, or other conductor without disrupting the flow. Shop around to find the best multimeter in your price range, and make sure that it’s suitable for the type of work you’ll be doing.

Other Essentials for Those Finishing Their Maintenance Electrician Training

Besides more specialized tools like voltage testers and multimeters, maintenance electricians will require some other more general tools for the jobsite as well. A good set of Phillips and flathead screwdrivers will be necessary, as well as a tape measure, hammer, flashlight, and utility knife.

construction school-4It’s important for your screwdrivers to have a comfortable grip and a long range

Over time, you will likely add more specialized devices to your collection, but the tools listed here will provide a good starter kit for any new electrician.

Are you interested in an in-demand career in the trades?

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