Pete Monfort of Monty Electrics and Arena Training tries out the IDEAL 33-856 VDV tester.



The IDEAL 33-856 VDV tester is a really simple tool to use. It must be because it took me just five minutes to get to grips with it! 


VDV stands for Voice, Data and Video and the unit tests end-to-end wiring, continuity and correct wiring. It is suitable for testing twisted pair, coaxial and phone type cables.   


The unit feels robust and has three buttons to select which type of cable you are testing. A small remote unit unplugs from the base of the tester and can be plugged into one end of the cable under test, whilst the other end is connected to the cable tester. Testing occurs automatically and is clearly indicated on the screen.   


Video/coaxial cable testing will check for open or short circuits and utilises a link out connector which is conveniently housed in the remote base. When used on data and phone cables it will check for shorts, opens, out of order wires, reversals, and errors with split pairs.   


While testing leads can literally be achieved with the handheld unit, outlets require the use of a proven fly lead so buyers may consider buying this unit as part of a kit which also comes with a range of connectors and fly leads to permit the testing of a range of outlets and coaxial leads. Alternatively, you can do what I did and make some up pretty easily yourself.  


Another useful feature that I found with this unit is the ability to put a tone signal onto a cable. Again, the tester can be coupled with an amplifier probe to permit the tracing and identifying of cables that may be muddled up in large unlabelled bundles. This is a real time saver! 


Although this product is a little more expensive than some of the cheaper testers that utilise sequences of illuminated LED indicators, this handy tool certainly won’t break the bank and gives the user a much clearer read out of the faults. If you’re involved with domestic or small commercial wiring of VDV systems this unit will prove to be worth every penny.