Quality Q&A : What is the difference between a continuity test and a hipot test?
By: Jean Champlain, Operations Manager, Pro QC International
What is the difference between a continuity test and a hipot test?
Many people are more familiar with a continuity test. A continuity test checks for "good connections." You do a continuity test by seeing if current will flow from one point to another point. If current flows easily enough, the points are connected.
Many people are not familiar with a hipot test, or often also known as a dielectric withstand test. "Hipot" is short for high potential (high voltage). A hipot test checks for "good isolation." You do a hipot test by making sure no current will flow from one point to another point. In some ways, a hipot test is the opposite of a continuity test.
Continuity Test: "Make sure current flows easily from one point to another point."
Hipot Test: "Make sure current won't flow from one point to another point (and turn up the voltage really high just to make sure no current will flow)."
In it’s most basic form, a hipot test takes two conductors that should be isolated and applies a very high voltage (the high voltage to apply depends on which country the product will be used) between the conductors. Ideally, not much current will flow between the two conductors. If too much current flows, the points are not well isolated and they fail the test.