5 ways to quickly determine zero and phase - with and without an indicator

Situations when an inexperienced electrician needs to find a neutral and charged wire happen quite often. Such a need may arise when repairing wiring or installing a new outlet. There are several simple methods for finding a zero electrical conductor that even a beginner can handle.

Using an indicator screwdriver

The most common and correct method for finding a charged cable is carried out using a special indicator.

Indicator screwdriver

Every self-respecting electrician should have this device.

When the screwdriver touches the phase of the electrical circuit, a special indicator should light up, which will indicate a connection.

By color coding of wires

Sometimes a special tester may not be needed. For example, if each core is wrapped with an insulating tape of a certain color. In this case, you can determine the purpose of the wires using a special labeling table.

Wire marking

As can be seen from the figure, the neutral working element is marked in blue, and grounding is yellow-green.

Using a multimeter or tester

To test the wiring with three cores, a conventional indicator is not enough. In this situation, it is better to use a tester or avometer. These devices will help you find zero, phase, and ground.


To determine where which element is, it is sufficient to measure the potential difference between them in turn. Where there will be 220 B, there is phase and zero. The remaining wire, respectively, will be ground.

A light bulb to help you

If all the previous methods are not suitable, you can try to make a control lamp yourself. To do this, you need to find a conventional incandescent lamp, a cartridge and two stranded wires of half a meter each.

Lamp connected to wires

The cores should be connected to the socket connectors. Next, one wire is attached to a piece of metal, and the second is tested conductors. If the light comes on, then you have a phase.

This method of determining zero is dangerous. Due to the large number of exposed veins, there is a high risk of electric shock. Use of this method is necessary only in case of urgent need.

A dangerous but effective method with potatoes

Folk craftsmen came up with yet another rather funny way of "probing" the wires. For him, you need to take a half of potatoes, 2 wires per 50 cm and a resistor on 1 MΩ.

On a potato, a small cut should be made and both conductors inserted into it. As in the previous method, one of the cables must be connected to the metal, and the second to test the wires. When connected to the phase within 10 minutes, a slight darkening should appear on the cut.

This method is extremely dangerous, therefore, it is not recommended to use it. Incorrect connection or safety precautions can lead to sad consequences.

It is better to purchase the necessary tools and carry out a check with their help.

Determining the zero and phase in the wiring is not difficult even for a novice electrician. To do this, you must have special tools, such as an indicator screwdriver or a multimeter.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5,00 out of 5)
Loading ...

One comment on ““ 5 ways to quickly determine zero and phase - with and without an indicator ””

  1. Kate:

    Hello, I do not quite understand how it is?

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *