I have been receiving shocks from my washing machine.

My proximity voltage detector beeps near the chassis, drum and ground wire.

My voltage testing screwdriver also lights up when touched to them.

But when I test them with my multimeter I get no readings of any kind.

My multimeter has been tested and works well.

What is going on here? Thanks.

  • Well, if you were getting real voltage on the chassis and grnd wire, where are you putting the common at? That could be a situation similar to testing voltage with both leads on the hot wire --- or the voltage is too small for it. Jan 14, 2015 at 4:53
  • Just try that experiment with rubber shoes on, and without. you may find that your body is creating the circuit used for the LED. in which case, you have a live wire leaking to the earth. You will also find that the shocks on the washing machine only happen with no shoes.
    – Hightower
    Jan 14, 2015 at 7:41
  • 2
    @Hightower You don't need a ground to light up a neon tester, the slight capacitance of a person is enough. Try it - hook up a tester and don't touch it then try touching it and jumping.
    – Ariel
    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:00
  • Sorry, yes, you are right. I thought I read LED there. Stupidly did not see the reference to the single contact neon type testers
    – Hightower
    Jan 14, 2015 at 8:05

1 Answer 1


It is because there is no current on the chassis you are testing. It is static electricity. Cheap neon pen testers will flicker if there is a strong source of static electricity on the object being tested which is why are supposed to use them only on grounded sockets, not electrical machinery.

  • 1
    If it was just static electricity it would light up only briefly. ( Unless you are including Inductive coupling and capacitive coupling as static electricity. ) Jan 15, 2015 at 16:29
  • @BradGilbert True enough, but I will bet dollars to donuts that is what is happening here. Jan 15, 2015 at 16:54

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