What should I do before I take the personal voltage detector (PVD) into the field?
Access the training material on Scholar (Ameren employees only) or from your supervisor and review the PVD policy.
Be sure to press the test button on the unit before each use. The test circuitry generates an internal voltage, which the unit then detects by turning on the lights and sounding the beeper. The test check verifies the unit is functioning properly, and that the battery is still charged.
How can I determine if the battery is low?
When the battery becomes low, the V-Watch activates the beeper and lights. The beeper gives a constant tone, and the lights remain lit (the same indication as pressing the self-test button). The low battery signal continues until the battery is completely discharged or removed. When this happens, the V-Watch is no longer operational until the 9-volt battery is replaced. It is recommended that you carry an extra battery with you.
How should I wear the PVD?
The PVD uses a directional sensor that should be worn in the direction that you are walking or working. The unit comes with a lanyard, shielded bag and a carrying case. The PVD should be worn per the manufacturer's instructions. Do not cover the PVD.
Will the PVD always go off near energized lines?
As the training states, the PVD works by detecting electrical fields. The PVD emits a series of beeps and flashing lights when it detects high voltage. It beeps and flashes faster as it gets closer to high voltage. A very fast or steady beep and flash, indicates a close proximity to high voltage.
Electrical fields are blocked by ANY conductor, such as a metal cabinet, door, wet wood, metal fences, green trees or growing shrubs and plants. Your body is a good conductor, and blocks the electrical field, and prevents the unit from alerting you.
Electrical fields are NOT blocked by plastics, dry wood or clothing. Insulation on wire does not block the electric fields, and does not affect warning distances.
If an energized line is blocked by any type of conductive material, it may not go off or the sensing range is reduced. An example of this is if a conductor is lying near the ground, the warning range could be reduced by 40% or more.
What is the reliability of the PVD?
The PVD is considered part of your personal protective equipment (PPE) and can fail. It will not be 100% accurate. The PVD will not replace any existing work rules, other equipment or work procedures. It is an extra tool to increase safety if you miss something.
What is the range of the PVD?
The PVD detects 2400V and above voltages. In optimal conditions, the PVD detects 2400V (line to ground) at 7 feet (according to manufacturer test data). Remember that any conductive material can block the field and reduce this range dramatically.
The PVD also detects secondary voltage, if it is near the energized line. Depending on field conditions that can block the electrical fields, voltages above 2400 can be detected at a greater distance. The optimal range to detect 14.4 kV is 20 feet. As stated above, this can be reduced if the electrical fields are blocked.
Will the PVD alert me if a fence is energized?
It may or may not alert you if a fence is energized. Never touch a metal fence until you can confirm that no energized lines are in contact, or in close proximity to the fence.
How can I acquire the PVD?
The PVD is a stock item that can be ordered by a supervior, as needed.
Can I turn the PVD off if it gives me a false alarm, or I am working under transmission/sub-transmission lines?
The PVD does not have an on-off button. It wakes up when it is removed from the shielded bag. The device is always on when out of the shielded bag.
Some units have a built-in mute feature. When near a known energized line, this feature mutes the beeping but continues to flash. The mute lasts for 3-5 minutes then returns to beeping. The mute can be cancelled by pressing the test button.
The mute button must be used with caution, as it will not warn you if the hazard changes while muted. The unit remains silenced for 3-5 minutes, and caution must be used during that time.
How should I store the unit when not in use?
When not in use, the PVD should be kept in the shielded bag that comes with the unit. Storing it in the shielded bag extends the life of the PVD, extends the battery life and protects it from damage.
Will the PVD detect if something has a stored charge?
No, the PVD will not detect a stored charge or DC voltage.