To the average person, the tools and procedures used in industry are a mystery. They could no more tell process calibrators from graphing calculators than they could differentiate a vacuum truck from a vacuum cleaner. If you're looking to get into more household maintenance, however, you'll have to become familiar with more of the tools of the trade. To do many electrical household renovation or repair projects safely, you will need to be able to use calibrators that can tell you if the current is present or absent and how strong it is. One of the most useful tools you can have when doing electrical work is a multifunction process calibrator.
A multifunction process calibrator is a digital device which looks not unlike a large, sturdy calculator or perhaps a stud finder. It has a heavy duty rubberized casing to protect its fragile electronic innards from damage caused by typical construction accidents such as dropping. It also has a digital display upon which the results of tests can be displayed and several sizes of input jacks to accommodate the various types of wires you may need to test during your project.
The primary function of a process calibrator is to determine how much electricity is present in live wires, so before using it you should always take the precautions of wearing rubber boot soles and gloves. By applying the wire ends to the calibrator jacks, the calibrator can tell you how many amps or volts are flowing through the wire. Because the calibrator is multifunctional, it can also be used to read resistance, temperature, frequency, and pressure. A quality unit can store test results in internal memory so that you can create a record of the performance of the device that is being calibrated.
Most people who aren't contractors don't need a multifunction calibrator and many people who are don't have need for all the functions a multifunction process calibrator has to offer. To that end, there are many other individual types of calibrators on the market, including pressure calibrators, loop calibrators, pressure calibrators, lab calibrators, pneumatic calibrators, thermocouple calibrators, RTD calibrators, and voltage calibrators.
Depending on the type of calibrator you need, you could end up paying between $700 and $6,500. Single function calibrators cost in the neighborhood of $700 while multifunction and process calibrators start around $1,000. For household repairs, you will probably want to borrow a calibrator or content yourself with a multimeter, an electrical measuring device which costs about $30 in any home renovation store.