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When an alternating current is passed through a Growler, it sets up a magnetic flux in the iron of the armature or stator spanned by the jaws of the Growler.

As this flux passes through any coil, it induces a potential. A current will flow if the coil is short-circuited. When current flows, it sets up a magnetic field around the shorted coil which can be detected with an iron feeler. (The increased load on the Growler sometimes changes the tone of the hum; hence the name "Growler".) In many cases a meter can be used to measure a change in magnetic flux, or to measure the increased current requirements of the Growler

The most common way of using a Growler is the "feeler method" in which the Growler spans a slot containing a coil, and a "feeler" or iron, such as a hack-saw blade is held about 1/4" above the slot containing the other side of the same coil 

If the coil is shorted the feeler will be pulled down to the slot and will stick and vibrate. The action is very positive and is recognized instantly.

The feeler can also be used on the same side of the coil that is spanned by the Growler, either a separate feeler or the convenient built-in feeler.

Open circuits can be detected by shorting adjacent commutator bars with a screw driver, or any other piece of metal. Good coils will spark as the bars are shorted. No sparks indicate the coil is open.

Growlers will work on any armature where the coil can be isolated magnetically. Typically these are found in DC armatures, though some AC rotors, depending on how they are wound, may also be tested. In an AC motor, if there is a squirrel cage or other type of ring that prevents individual coils from being isolated magnetically, then this may interfere with a growler’s ability to function.

Whitelegg WH-GR2

Heavy Duty Hand Held Growler

Heavy Duty Hand Held Growler (internal/external)

For testing short circuits in armatures 6-12 inches in diameter and stators 2.5-12 inches diameter. For DC and AC motors depending on design.

Whitelegg WH-GR4

Desk mounted armature tester/growler with meter indication

External meter type for locating short open circuits and grounds in DC armatures only 0.5-8 inches diameter.

Whitelegg HHG Series

Hand Held Growler for detecting shorts and open circuits in armatures and stators.

For DC and some AC motors depending on design. HG1 = 19mm/ HG2 = 9mm  poll spread. Red and green LEDs and acoustic warning indicate fault or healthy status.