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2 Simple Continuity Tester Circuits

2 Simple Continuity Tester Circuits

If you are looking for a simple circuit for test continuity of wires and long conductors, this circuit is the one which you can try and might fulfill your requirement.

What is a Continuity Tester

A continuity tester is a device which is used for identifying the correct continuity of a particular conductor in question. Or in other words the device may be used for tracing faults or breaks in a particular conductor or a wire.

The device is actually a simple LED and a cell circuit, where the LED is made to switch by passing the cell voltage to the LED via the conductor in question.

If the conductor is not broken, the cell voltage circulates through it and reaches the LED to complete the circuit and in the course illuminates thre LED, providing the relevant information.

If the conductor is open internally, the cell voltage is unable to complete the circuit and the LED remains shut OFF, indicating the fault.

1) Using One LED and Resistor

The first circuit diagram shows a very simple continuity circuit where only a LED/resistor set up along with a 3 volt source is used.

The prods are connected across the ends of the wires or the conductor which needs to be checked. The results regarding the status of the wire is achieved as explained above.

However this circuit is quite crude and won't be able to check big cable networks where the fed voltage may drop substantially in the path and might fail to illuminate the LED properly.

For checking complex and large wire or cable bundles, rather a much sensitive circuit may be required.

Using Two Transistors

The next circuit shows a configuration which is much rugged and highly sensitive.

Moreover the wire ends may be checked via finger touches, which simply avoids th need of lengthy prods from the continuity tester.

The circuit employs a couple of cheap hi-gain transistors which are coupled together in such a way that the over all gain of the circuit becomes very high.

Even a few milli volts is enough for making the circuit conduct and illuminate the LED.

The connections can be seen in the figure, how through easy finger touch operations, even the staus of big wire bundles may be identified in seconds.

If the wire bundle is without breaks, the LED lights up brightly, and in case the wire is open somewhere, keeps the LED completely shut OFF.

This sensitive circuit can also be used as a  line tester, the 3volt point is held with hand, and the 1M end is touched to the point where the LINE presence needs to be tested.

The presence of phase, lights up the LED and vice versa.

Video Demonstration

2) Simple Continuity Tester Circuit using IC 555

In the following second project learn how to make a simple continuity checker circuit using 555 timer.  And what makes this circuit so special is that no transistor is used in it and hence this is indeed the simplest continuity checker.

By Ankit Negi

We all know the importance of 555 TIMER in electronics.

The fact that they are used even today, 45 years after their first appearance in electronics industry makes it a key component of our day to day circuit.

There’s hardly anything this 555 timer cannot do for you. From using it as a clock generator to voltage regulator. And so here we are, making yet another very useful circuit using this invincible IC.

As we already know a continuity checker is a simple electronic tool that checks the continuity between two terminals of a circuit. For let’s say you have a wire, which you want to check for continuity.

So you have to  just connect its two terminal to the continuity checker and if there’s no break in the circuit it will indicate it( either by a glowing led or buzzer) and if there’s  break than nothing will happen.


1. A 555 timer

IC 555 timer pinout diagram

2. One buzzer ( **if you do not have buzzer then use LED)

PCB mount piezo buzzer

3. 9v battery

9V PP3 battery

4. One 4.7 k resistor

4.7K resistor MFR 1%

5. One 47 k resistor

47K resistor 1/4 watt CFR 5%

6. One 10uf ceramic capacitor

10uF capacitor tantalum

7. One 0.1 uf  ceramic capacitor

0.1uF disc ceramic capacitor

8. Two connecting  probes( red and black)

meter probes red black

Circuit diagram:

There are total 8 pins in 555 timer as shown in circuit diagram make connections as shown and don’t forget to connect capacitors as they are as important as any other components in this circuit.

Connecting probes are connected between trigger terminal (2) and ground.

**If you do not have a buzzer than connect led in series with 1k resistor in place of buzzer**


Before I explain its working you must know these two points:

A. If voltage at trigger pin is less than 1/3v of the applied voltage (9v in this case), only than the output will be 1(HIGH).

B. If voltage at threshold pin is greater than 2/3v of the applied voltage then the capacitor (10 uf) starts discharging through discharge pin (7th) to ground.

As you can see in the above iC 555 based continuity tester circuit, to check continuity you place the circuit between probes (connected to trigger terminal and ground).

Case1—if there is a break in circuit

If this case arises then that means there is infinite resistance(open circuit) between pin 2 and ground which causes all voltage drop between pin 2 and ground which is obviously greater than 1/3 of 9 volt, hence(from point 1) we get 0 volt as output from pin 3 at which buzzer or led is connected. Hence buzzer will produce no sound indicating a break in circuit.

Case2—if there is no break in circuit

If this case arises then that means there is almost 0 volts (short circuit)  between pin 2 and ground which causes all voltage drop across 4.7k resistor and thus pin 2 get 0 volt  which is obviously less than 1/3 of 9 volt, hence(from point 1) we get 1 volt as output from pin 3 at which buzzer is connected. Hence buzzer will produce sound indicating continuity in circuit.


About the Author

I am an electronic engineer (dipIETE ), hobbyist, inventor, schematic/PCB designer, manufacturer. I am also the founder of the website: https://www.homemade-circuits.com/, where I love sharing my innovative circuit ideas and tutorials. If you have any circuit related query, you may interact through comments, I'll be most happy to help!

9 thoughts on “2 Simple Continuity Tester Circuits”

  1. This circuit is really sensitive. I replaced the led with a buzzer. It even works across a 1M resistor. Can this circuit be adjusted to only buzz when resistance is of the trace to test for continuity is less than 100 ohm?

    • yes that's a valid point, to solve this you can try adding a 10k or a 100k preset whichever suits better across the base and emitter of the BC547 transistor, or parallel with the 0.1uF capacitor….then you can adjust it appropriately for acquiring the desired amount of sensitivity.

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