Golden Valley Hobbies Voltage and Polarity multi-tester
Reviewed by: Richard Foster Stock code: GVVOLT Price: £16.50 Availability: Golden Valley Hobbies Tel: 01981 241237 Web: www.goldenvalleyhobbies.com
If a mechanism is broken, you can normally see where the fault lies. Finding an electrical fault is not that easy. There are numerous track voltage testers on the market. These little devices sit on the rail heads and if there’s power, a light comes on; if there’s no power, the light stays off. This neat unit from Golden Valley Hobbies promises to do a bit more than that. It has three coloured lights - red, amber and green - which should indicate the voltage on the rails. Red means that you’re getting less than 5V, while green means 12V or more. The results should prove hugely useful when trying to diagnose a fault. Unfortunately, the sample received for review didn’t work entirely as intended. The unit is designed to work on both analogue and digital setups. I tried it first on my DCC layout and all lights illuminated. I followed a train around a notorious black spot and when it suddenly stopped, checked to see what the voltage tester said. When pressed firmly against the rails, all three lights came on. Just touching the track, and nothing. Using this tester is so simple that no instructions are supplied. I have to assume that what I’ve done is correct, in which case the ‘traffic lights’ don’t seem to offer much more than a less expensive unit. The same was true on a small stretch of analogue ‘OO9’ (the unit can work on everything from ‘Z’ to ‘OO’). Again, all three lights came on - except when you have the unit pointing the wrong way (it’s polarity sensitive with analogue). Another niggling issue is that it doesn’t seem to be wide enough - only by a fraction of a millimetre - to sit on ‘OO’ gauge track comfortably.