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Hipot

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Hipotisanabbreviationforhighpotential.Traditionally,hipotisatermgiventoaclassofelectrical
safetytestinginstrumentsusedtoverifyelectricalinsulationinfinishedappliances,cablesorotherwired
assemblies,printedcircuitboards,electricmotors,andtransformers.
Undernormalconditions,anyelectricaldevicewillproduceaminimalamountofleakagecurrentdueto
thevoltagesandinternalcapacitancepresentwithintheproduct.Yetduetodesignflawsorotherfactors,
theinsulationinaproductcanbreakdown,resultinginexcessiveleakagecurrentflow.Thisfailure
conditioncancauseshockordeathtoanyonethatcomesintocontactwiththefaultyproduct.
Ahipottest(alsocalledDielectricWithstandingVoltage(DWV)test)verifiesthattheinsulationofa
productorcomponentissufficienttoprotecttheoperatorfromelectricalshock.Inatypicalhipottest,
highvoltageisappliedbetweenaproduct'scurrentcarryingconductorsanditsmetallicshielding.The
resultingcurrentthatflowsthroughtheinsulation,knownasleakagecurrent,ismonitoredbythehipot
tester.Thetheorybehindthetestisthatifadeliberateoverapplicationoftestvoltagedoesnotcausethe
insulationtobreakdown,theproductwillbesafetouseundernormaloperatingconditionshencethe
name,DielectricWithstandingVoltagetest.
Inadditiontooverstressingtheinsulation,thetestcanalsobeperformedtodetectmaterialand
workmanshipdefects,mostimportantlysmallgapspacingsbetweencurrentcarryingconductorsand
earthground.Whenaproductisoperatedundernormalconditions,environmentalfactorssuchas
humidity,dirt,vibration,shockandcontaminantscanclosethesesmallgapsandallowcurrenttoflow.
Thisconditioncancreateashockhazardifthedefectsarenotcorrectedatthefactory.Noothertestcan
uncoverthistypeofdefectaswellastheDielectricWithstandtest.
Threetypesofhipottestsarecommonlyused.Thesethreetestsdifferintheamountofvoltageapplied
andtheamount(ornature)ofacceptablecurrentflow:
DielectricBreakdownTest.Thetestvoltageisincreaseduntilthedielectricfails,orbreaksdown,
allowingtoomuchcurrenttoflow.Thedielectricisoftendestroyedbythistestsothistestisusedona
randomsamplebasis.Thistestallowsdesignerstoestimatethebreakdownvoltageofaproduct'sdesign
andtoseewherethebreakdownoccurred.
DielectricWithstandTest.Astandardtestvoltageisapplied(belowtheestablishedBreakdown
Voltage)andtheresultingleakagecurrentismonitored.Theleakagecurrentmustbebelowapreset
limitorthetestisconsideredtohavefailed.Thistestisnondestructiveandisusuallyrequiredbysafety
agenciestobeperformedasa100%productionlinetestonallproductsbeforetheyleavethefactory.
InsulationResistanceTest.Thistestisusedtoprovideaquantifiableresistancevalueforallofa
product'sinsulation.Thetestvoltageisappliedinthesamefashionasastandardhipottest,butis
specifiedtobeDirectCurrent(DC).Thevoltageandmeasuredcurrentvalueareusedtocalculatethe
resistanceoftheinsulation.

Hipottester
Ahipottesterisanelectronicdeviceusedtoverifytheelectricalinsulationinadeviceorotherwired
assemblythatcouldsubjectsomeonetoashockifitfailed.Itgenerallyconsistsof:
1. Asourceofhighvoltage,

2. Acurrentmeter,
3. Aswitchingmatrixusedtoconnectthehighvoltagesourceandthecurrentmetertoallofthe
contactpointsinacable.
Hipottestersmayalsohaveamicrocontrollerandadisplaytoautomatethetestingprocessanddisplay
thetestingresults.
Ahipottestercanbeverysimilartoacabletesterandoftenthetwoarecombinedintoasingledevice.
Inatypicalwiredassemblyahipottestshouldconnectallcircuitsincommontoground.Then,oneby
onethetesterwilldisconnectagivencircuitfromgroundandconnectthatcircuittohighvoltage.The
currentthatflowsismonitoredtoverifythatitislowenough.

Externallinks
ElectronicsandElectricaltestandmeasurementequipment
(https://www.dmoz.org/Business/Electronics_and_Electrical/Test_and_Measurement/)atDMOZ
"InsulationResistanceTesting:HowandWhy?"
(http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_insulation_resistance_testing_3/).ElectricalConstruction&
Maintenance(EC&M).Retrieved20081116.
"UnderstandingInsulationResistanceTestMethods"(http://www.testguy.net/understanding
insulationresistancetestmethods).TestGuyElectricalTestingandEngineeringResource.
Retrieved20140510.
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