The 1AC-II VoltAlert is a next gen, non-contact voltage detecting volt stick used to pick up AC current without interfering with any live cores. Okay for voltage detection for everything from home maintenance to engineers in the field, volt sticks save time and the Fluke 1AC-II has some handy extras, featuring both a readiness LED as well as a beeper.
- Self-test ‘Voltbeat’ operation
- Bright LED
- CAT-IV 1000V rating
- Voltage (AC) range: 90V to 1000V
- x2 AAA alkaline batteries
- Instruction booklet (basic online manual)
In-depth Review of the Fluke VoltAlert
The VoltAlert is good for quickly determining whether a cable is live or not – simply hold it near a wire and watch it light up and/or beep. You can also test circuit breakers, socket outlets, terminal boxes, fuses, and more, though there are limitations.
What sets the Fluke 1AC-II apart from the average volt stick is that it comes with a continuous self-test LED to indicate that it is operational. It flashes around every two seconds. This is vital as the general consensus with volt sticks is that you never truly know if the thing is working and so they’ve received a bad rap among professionals over the years. In addition are a beeper and an auto off.
The major downside with the Fluke VoltAlert is that in order to have it better pick out live cores amid many, its range is rather limiting. With that, the tip needs to be closely held near the object for it to register voltage. This would typically be a few millimeters, where others might work at an inch or more distance.
Extension cords might be especially awkward to test with this device since there are typically two non-live cores – the neutral and earth – and you never know which side of the insulation they’ll be. Running the VoltAlert right around is the only surefire way of testing. Note: It is also not great at seeing through socket outlets and light switches for this reason.
Voltage sensing range:
- US version: 90V – 1000V
- European: 200V – 1000V
- Frequency: 45Hz-405Hz
There is also another model for detecting lower voltages, such as control voltages in panel boards. The range is from 20V to 90V. All detect AC voltage only.
Typical of this respected brand, the Fluke 1AC-II VoltAlert is well made and rugged. They can take a fair amount of abuse and generally last inside of tool bags. Some may find the on/off button a bit awkward, while the compartment cover can be a pig to open up.
How to use:
Turn on: Unlike most volt sticks that are button-less and ready to go, the Fluke 1AC-II has a push button to save on battery power. You press this and receive a beep to signify readiness, after which the LED will continually blink to let you know it is still active.
Turn off: Simply press the on/off button again. The absence of the blinking LED tells the user it is no longer active.
Auto off: The Fluke VoltAlert will power itself down if it hasn’t been used for five minutes. It will beep and no longer flash to indicate it has shutdown.
If you find the beeper annoying and want to save battery power further, you can also disable the beeper by holding down the button for a couple of seconds on power-up. If the battery power runs low, the LED will stop flashing.
IP rating: IP40
Safety rating: CAT-IV @ 1000V
NOTE: It is always worth testing the Fluke 1AC-II on a known power source prior to troubleshooting, since a low battery will render the unit inactive and you may forget about the blinking LED.
Pros and Cons
- Non-contact AC voltage indication
- Continual visual indication
- Includes a beeper
- Well made
- Narrow detection range
- Not for lower voltages
- AC only
This is an easy to use, quality volt alert stick with some extra features that make it a cut above some of the others on the market. The addition of the VolBeat LED and the beeper make it especially attractive. Most electricians will have one of these handy items in their tool bag. Although they shouldn’t be relied upon solely, they’re fast for troubleshooting looms.
Alternatives: Most multimeter manufacturers produce volt sticks, such as Klein Tools. Also, there are always deals on Amazon where they are included with a multimeter, such as the Fluke 115 Combo Kit. See here for more fluke reviews…