- Hipot is an abbreviationhigh potential. Traditionally, hipot is a term given to a class of electrical safety testing instruments used to verify electrical insulation in finished appliances, cables or other wired assemblies, printed circuit boards, electric motors, and transformers.
Under normal conditions, any electrical device will produce a minimal amount of leakage current due to the voltages and internal capacitance present within the product. Yet due to design flaws or other factors, the insulation in a product can break down, resulting in excessive leakage current flow. This failure condition can cause shock or death to anyone that comes into contact with the faulty product.
A hipot test (also called Dielectric Withstanding Voltage (DWV) test) verifies that the insulation of a product or component is sufficient to protect the operator from electrical shock. In a typical hipot test, high voltage is applied between a product's current-carrying conductors and its metallic shielding. The resulting current that flows through the insulation, known as leakage current, is monitored by the hipot tester. The theory behind the test is that if a deliberate over-application of test voltage does not cause the insulation to break down, the product will be safe to use under normal operating conditions—hence the name, Dielectric Withstanding Voltage test.