Ideal 61-165 circuit analyzer

I am considering purchasing one of these analyzers for use in inspections, especially since the normal plug-in tester doesn’t test for bootleg grounds.

Yes, I understand that they are not AFCI testers, but really AFCI indicators and that the test/trip button on the AFCI breaker must also be tested to verify whether or not the AFCI breaker really works.

The thing is however, I have never in my decades of inspections, seen a home inspector use an Ideal circuit analyzer on an inspection. I have only read about it in a review written by a home inspector. But I have also read about an inspector calling out a voltage drop of more than 5% as a defect when the voltage drop NEC reference is only a footnote.

My questions are these:

  1. Does anyone use a circuit analyzer on inspections? If so for how long?
  2. Has it lead to additional liability or lack of insurance coverage for testing “beyond the Standards”?
  3. Has it lead to loss of business due to “mission creep” etc. and/or pissed off agents because the inspector went “too far” or on a “wild goose chase”?

Most of us are really big on electrical safety, and grounding and bonding is a big deal. But is using the Ideal 61-165 going overboard?

With the expanded coverage of AFCIs in the 2008 NEC, I feel testing AFCIs (and GFCIs) is extremely important.

How much time would it add to an inspection (on a 2,000 square foot house with a 200 amp service and 40 breakers) to test for AFCI performance (using both circuit analyzer and breaker buttons), bootleg grounds and voltage drop?

Is this really the domain of only a licensed and bonded electrical contractor?

Anyone care to comment?

Voltage drop is a design issue and not a code issue. Listing an excess of 5% in a report IMO won’t do any good since a sharp sparkie will just make the Hi look silly for reporting it. Now if you can use the information to find another defect then it might be worth it.

I have used one for the last year or so , I like it ,just do not get carried away

Would you mention 10.8%?

If you test every receptacle with your Suretest, it will add too much time to an inspection. The 20 second interval between insertions can be a pain. Just imagine a large room. A normal 3 light tester takes little time. Add the 20 seconds between insertions with the Suretest and that starts to add a lot of time over the course of a full house inspection.

I am not that worried about bootleg grounds with modern homes but if there was original k&t wiring or early wiring without ground, then I use the Suretest.

No additional liability, no loss of business. An agent wouldn’t know what you were doing anyway.

I use mine randomly through out the home. I used to use it on every plug but found it to time consuming. I use it to trip the afci before going to the service panel and on a couple of random plugs.

That all makes a lot of sense, guys. I just wanted to hear what others thought. Our mission seems to expand regularly as it is, without voluntarily adding stuff - especially since no one is going to pay for it. I guess it’s best to keep it to the AFCIs and GFCIs and forget about bootleg grounds and voltage drop. Thanks.

I’ve been using mine for nearly 10 years and I wouldn’t leave home without it.

I’m still looking for that sharp sparkie :smiley: When reported in the proper context there’s no way to make me look “silly,” but it does usually take a sharp sparkie to understand and correct the problem.