Pro Tips: Point, Snap, and Fall

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First Place

Don’t get the pointNeedle Tip Probes

For anyone who has ever been stuck by the sharp tips of the needle tip probes when using a multimeter, this one’s for you. The protective rubber tips that come with the probes are usually lost soon after you start using the probes. This solution will prove more permanent. Take a piece of No. 14 wire with rubber insulation (neoprene from SO cord works great) and strip off two 5/16-inch pieces and slide them over the tips of the probes. Slide the rubber pieces back toward the handles to expose the sharp tips. When not in use, slide the pieces back for safe storage.

--Tony Tonon
San Francisco


I find it helpful to take pictures and videos to record installation and retrofitting processes for training purposes. This saves time, and we use these photos and videos to help new technicians learn the steps, processes and safe shortcuts on the job.

--Dan Lapine
Portland, Ore.

Fall in place

When using a micro USB cable to charge your cellphone, or any measuring device, you must plug the cable in at the correct direction. It usually has an indicator on the plug end, and plugging the cable upside down could destroy the receptacle. To fix this problem, I cut a small piece of colored adhesive tape in a contrasting color and applied it to the plug. This ensures proper placement and does not cost extra.

--Barry caesar
Palmer, Neb.

Share ideas that have saved you time or money on the job with readers of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. Your fellow electrical professionals would like to hear about them. Be sure to include a good photo of your idea if you can; hand-drawn sketches may be hard to interpret. Note that some similar ideas are sometimes submitted by more than one person. In these cases, the one that is more clearly written and includes a photo is given precedence. 

Each published author in Pro Tips receives a $50 Lowe’s gift card. In addition, the first-place winner will receive a $100 Lowe’s gift card. 

Use the online submission tool at to send your tip and photo, or email it to or send a letter and photo to Pro Tips Editor, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5372.

DISCLAIMER: The ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Neither ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR nor Lowe’s, Inc. assumes any liability from your use of these or any other ideas. 


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