PCWI Compact DC Porosity Detectors

A small and lightweight Unit with a clip-on battery pack, and features digital display of applied voltage, constant test current, fully adjustable voltage and sensitivity controls.

It can be used in most applications including pipelines, steel structures and tank work.

Proudly manufactured in Australia by PCWI.

Click images to enlarge
PCWI Compact DC Porosity Detectors
  • PCWI Compact DC Porosity Detector - Side View
  • PCWI Compact DC Porosity Detector - Control Panel

The PCWI Compact is a High Voltage DC Porosity detector. They are also known as holiday detectors, spark testers, porosimeters and jeepers.

These are used to ensure the longevity of coating systems by locating pin holes, air bubbles, and porosity in non-conductive coatings on conductive substrates, including concrete.

PCWI also hire DC Detectors to clients within Australia.

Complies with the requirements of

AS3894.1-2002 (R2013) and Nace Standards: SP0490-2007; SP0274-2011 & SP0188-2006


  • Used for detection of coating porosity (pin-holes, or holidays) in dielectric (insulation type) coatings on conductive substrates, including concrete
  • Suitable for Production Pipeline coating operations, Tank-work and Structures. Ideal for use on storage tanks, valves and pipelines
  • Housed in a fully portable ABS case, the Detectors deliver stabilised DC output of up to 30kV. Constant current source maintains applied test voltage. Full test current at low voltages (where it is needed most) when testing at low film builds (eg 150µm, as per AS3894.1-2002)
  • Incorporating momentary-on and continuous-on switches (mounted on the front panel), allowing the units to be switched on momentarily for safety, or to run continuously
  • No need to swap probes to change voltage - the detectors have clip-on battery packs which must be separately charged. Fully recharged in 4 hours. Regulated DC output fully adjustable. Applied voltage and battery condition are continuously shown on the Liquid Crystal Display.


  • Lightweight with ABS case
  • Momentary on switch allows for auto shut-off
  • Digital display of applied voltage with integral battery condition indicator
  • Regulated DC voltage
  • Voltage ranges of 0-15kV or 0-30kV (depending on the model), fully adjustable
  • Clip-on battery pack
  • Constant test current
  • Sensitivity control
  • Overcharge protection
  • Single power supply
  • Earphones for noisy environments

Complete with:

Industrial Kit:

  • Detector with clip-on power pack
  • Universal Charger
  • Probe handle with neon and 2m lead
  • 60mm connector for flat brushes
  • 7m earth lead with clamp
  • Fan brush
  • 250mm flat brass wire brush
  • 450mm probe extension
  • Air-operated earphones
  • Shoulder & waist harness
  • Kit case
  • Operating instructions with calibration certificate
  • Battery Clip

Pipeline Kit

  • Detector with clip-on power pack
  • Spare clip-on power pack
  • Universal Charger
  • Probe handle with neon and 2m lead
  • 60mm connector for flat brushes
  • 7m earth lead with clamp
  • Fan brush
  • Coil joiner with 450mm connector
  • Air-operated earphones
  • Shoulder & waist harness
  • Kit case
  • Operating instructions with calibration certificate
  • Battery Clip


  1. PCWI Compact DC Porosity Detector - Side ViewLCD display (including battery condition indicator)
  2. Voltage control (10 turn)
  3. Visual alarm indicates when fault is found
  4. On switch
  5. Off/test switch
  6. Sensitivity control for the alarm
  7. Audible alarm when fault is found
  8. High voltage probe connector
  9. Fuse (1.6A slow blow) 5 x 20mm
  10. Earth connection point
  11. Charge connector - allows operation while charging is in progress
  12. Clip-on battery pack
  13. Earphone (connected on opposite side)
 PCWI Compact DC Porosity Detector - Control Panel

Proudly Manufactured in Australia by PCWI


View all FAQ's

Ask a Question

  • How do you connect the earth when working under wharf jetty half kilometre from shore?

    Simply just drop the earth into the water, a trailing earth lead made from Stainless steel cable would be suitable. We have 10 & 15 meter trailing earth leads in stock and can also make them to any length required

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  • Is it necessary to have a separate ground or earth lead?

    Yes! This is supplied as standard with all PCWI High Voltage Detectors. This is provided against the possible build up of static charge of the metal substrate should the substrate be above or potentially above the ground. To ensure an adequate test, it is essential that a positive earth return loop connection exists between the metal substrate and the Detector, and preferred also is an earth from the metal substrate to earth (ground) as well.

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  • What is the function of PCWI Detectors?

    PCWI Detectors are test instruments that detect and indicate the location of pinholes and bare spots (Holidays) in non-conductive coatings, linings or films that have been applied for corrosion protection on metal and concrete surfaces.

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  • Will wire brush electrodes ensure good inspection even in corners and around irregular shapes where pinholes or bare spots (holidays) are likely to occur?

    Yes! PCWI Detectors can accommodate a complete range of brushes (see Brochure for illustrations).

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  • What types of non-conductive coatings are applied in corrosion prevention?

    Thin epoxies, vinyls, paints, polyethylene, rubber, porcelain, enamels etc, hot applied coal tar, asphalt, and heavy mastic materials. Most anti-corrosive coatings are of a dielectric material and in order to detect defects through these surfaces a suitable test voltage is applied.

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  • What is corrosion and how is it caused?

    Corrosion is the gradual wearing away to destruction of material. It can be caused by atmospheric exposure or by chemical reaction with corrosive agents – hence the necessity to apply complete sealing coatings to eliminate moisture permeable defects.

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  • When would a PCWI Detector be used?

    PCWI Detector would be used both pre and post installation by the contractor (manufacturer), to confirm the efficiency of his original sealing coat, and by the maintenance engineers in periodic examinations.

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  • In what industries is corrosion of major concern?

    Because corrosion is of serious concern over almost all aspects of industry, both operationally and cost-wise, a short list of major industries would include: Mining: Fabrication: Engineering and Construction: Paint Companies: Oils and Petrochemicals: Municipal and Government Authorities such as City Councils, Electricity, Water and Sewerage, Defence: and so on.

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  • How is the testing of coatings by PCWI Detectors cost effective?

    For newly constructed tanks, pipelines and other installations where corrosion prevention coatings have had to be applied, specifications will normally call for a specific coating to a specific thickness. With the use of a PCWI Detector in verification of the competency of the sealing coating, the contractor can be assured that his coatings responsibility has been met. In terms of cost effectiveness, with the low capital and operating costs of PCWI Detectors, the contractor will have substantial freedom from claims at a very low price. The approximate labour time in PCWI Detector checking should be no longer than the time taken for a single spray coating application by power equipment.

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  • On what principle do PCWI Detectors operate?

    The PCWI preferred principle employed for general application is a low frequency high voltage detector that delivers a stabilised pre-set pure DC output via a probe to an inspection electrode. As the electrode moves over the coating surface, if it encounters a pin hole or bare spot, a small current flows actuating a visible (non-hazardous) spark at the point of contact and a visible and audible alarm in the unit. A neon alarm in the probe handle provides 360° visibility to the user (DC15 and DC30 units only).

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  • How is the applied voltage pre-set?

    The voltage required is pre-set manually on the unit to a minimum level determined by the thickness of film of the coating product and its generic type ie: Rubber, Vinyl, Epoxy etc. Detailed instructions are set out in the unit Operator Handbook. It is important to follow these instructions in setting voltages as some surfaces have a much higher dielectric strength than others - consequently offering a high resistance to the conduction of electricity. Applied test voltages should only be sufficient to detect faults, otherwise overstressing of the dielectric strength may occur with possible surface rupturing.

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  • What are the minimum and maximum film thicknesses that can be tested with PCWI Detectors?

    This depends on the type of coating applied. Australian Standard AS3894.1-2002 states a minimum of 150µm - see Operator Handbook for coatings/voltages relationship. Refer to Operating Instructions.

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  • Do damp coatings or moist and humid conditions affect the operation of the PCWI Detector?

    As wet surfaces are generally conductive, this could affect the unit operationally. Atmospheric moisture is unlikely to do so. Some user preference exists for DC pulse units over direct DC units under wet operating conditions. This choice could be misleading, however, because the applied test voltage loss depends on the size of the electrode, the frequency of output, the depth of coating, and the possible conductivity of the moisture. These circumstances could cause the test voltage to drop to such an extent that there is insufficient test voltage to locate faults.
    Preferably use DC Pulsed Units on damp – contaminate and carbonised surface coatings.

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  • What checks are available on the functioning of the PCWI Detectors?

    A range of tests can be undertaken by employing the appropriate PCWI Detector Crest Meter. Details in Crest Meter brochure and Crest Meter Operator handbook. (ie: Voltage output and visual display; Continuity of leads etc.)

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  • What is the application for the two DC Compact Models & two Pulse Models?

    In all general corrosion inspection and detection applications where lengthy and varied conditions are met for this reason these models are harness mounted with the ability to be used with all electrodes, i.e. Brushes, Coils etc – Internal and External and an extensible wand at the same time maintaining user comfort

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  • Why are two models necessary?

    Most anti corrosion coatings or linings are made from dielectric material that can vary in their inherent electric strength offering greater or lesser resistance to the conduction of electricity. Applied test voltages should be adequate to detect faults in the particular coating but not to pose problems of possible rupture. The provision of a maximized voltage ie. 0.15 kV limits this possibility within the parameters of coating dielectric strength, type and depth; consequently the two models offer users a selection to meet their particular coating specification.

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  • It is noted that the PCWI High Voltage Detector employs wire brush inspection electrodes and not wet sponges. What are the advantages of the wire brush electrodes and the limitations of the wet sponge detectors?

    High voltage testers with wire brush electrodes are faster to use, larger areas can be covered and there is no contamination from the water.

    Wet Sponge (cellulose) electrodes are used in low-voltage detectors, having an output of less than 100VDC. The wet sponge method is not satisfactory for the detection of other than gross faults in thin film coatings, and is unsuitable for use where thicker coatings in excess of 150µm have been applied.

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  • The PCWI website shows maximum internal and external pipe-brushes at 20" (500mm). Can brushes of greater diameter be provided to complement the Detector?

    Brushes more than 20” (500mm) are large and difficult to handle. However, special large brushes can be made to order. Note: All coil sizes can be used in place of brushes where specification allows. Pipe joints and longitudinal welds should be tested with a brush.

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  • Under what conditions are Carbon filled silicone-rubber brush electrodes of advantage?

    These can provide longer life but may require the application of higher voltages. They do not lay flat, and the welded areas should be tested with a brass brush. They should not be used on heavily corroded surfaces and textured coatings.

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  • It is stated that under practical conditions, it is impossible to obtain an absolutely uniform thickness of an applied coating to a metallic surface, due to unevenness, mill-scale or other surface blemishes. Using a “dry testing technique” by applying a high test-voltage to locate faults over the thickest section of the film, the thin areas of film could be ruptured due to excessive test voltage, even though these thinner film areas are perfectly homogeneous. Under these circumstances wet sponge testing utilising a low voltage can be effective - True or false?

    This is False! Rupturing will only occur if far too high a voltage is applied when testing. Passing the electrode over a test panel with similar (thinner) coating thickness will quickly determine whether the voltage is set to a level that will cause rupturing in the thinner areas.

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  • Can cable makers use the PCWI Detector for testing? Does this require a cable tester electrode box?

    Yes - this box can be made on special order.

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  • Can the PCWI Detector be used in the testing of flaws in Heavy-Duty glass?

    This depends on the thickness of the glass and the voltage required.

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  • Do the PCWI Detectors provide the same voltage automatically on various pipe diameters without resetting and what is the tolerance?

    Yes – the feedback circuit automatically adjusts for this.

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  • Does the PCWI Detector have earphones?

    Yes – Air operated.

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  • Can the PCWI Detector be operator belt mounted?

    No - the unit is supplied with an adjustable harness for waist, chest or shoulder mounting. The waist mounting is equivalent to a normal belt position.

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  • What are the important operational features of the PCWI High Voltage Units?

     •   Regulated test voltage
     •   Constant test current source
     •   Fully adjustable voltage output
     •   Fast testing speed
     •   Optional spare battery
     •   Battery over charge protection
     •   Wide electrodes with no output loss
     •   Air-operated earphones

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  • As Detectors are a working tool, what user comfort and safety is provided?

     •   Lightweight
     •   Fully adjustable shoulder & waist harness
     •   Clear digital display
     •   Sound and visual alarms
     •   Momentary “on” button – for safety (on DC detectors only)
     •   An Ergonomically designed probe handle

    (Refer to schematic drawings – features and user benefits)

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  • When passing brushes over inspection surfaces what scanning care should be taken?

    Multi cross directional scanning should be employed.

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  • How are the Detectors cleaned?

    By wiping with a mild detergent or isopropyl alcohol. Do not use solvents or aggressive chemicals, turpentine etc as the housing is PVC based.

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  • What certifications of compliance do PCWI Detectors carry?

    Australian Standard AS3894.1-2002. This standard sets the guidelines for equipment type, voltages for specific coating types and voltages applied. The Detectors also meets the EMC directive 89/336/EEC, amended 92/31/EEC & 93/68/EEC and carry the CE marking.

    However, due to the method of operation, PCWI Detectors will generate broadband RF emissions when a spark is produced at the probe, i.e.: when a defect in the coating is located. These emissions may interfere with the operation of sensitive electronic apparatus in the vicinity.

    In the extreme case of a continuous spark of length 5mm the magnitude of the emissions at a distance of 3m was found to be approximately 60dBµV/m from 30MHz to 1000MHz.

    It is therefore recommended that this equipment is not operated within 30m of known sensitive electronic equipment and that the user does not deliberately generate continuous sparks.

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  • Is AS3894.1-2002 accepted and/or would the Australian Standard comply with a relative International (ISO) Standard acceptable in other countries?

    We believe that AS3894.1 is the world leader in Porosity Standards and should satisfy all International criteria, as there is no equivalent International Standard for Porosity Detection.

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  • It is understood that the Australian Standard AS3894.1-2002 permits both DC high-voltage and DC pulse units for testing coatings of a depth thickness less than 500µm (micron)!

    The PCWI Detector has constant test voltage and current.

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DC15 IndustrialDC15 PipelineDC30 IndustrialDC30 Pipeline
Packed Weight 6.0kg
Voltage 0 to 15kV0 to 30kV
Resolution 10V
Short Circuit Test current 0.5mA max
Power NIMH 3.3Ah Slide-off
Dimensions 260 x 160 x 70mm
Alarm Audible & Visual
Probe Handle 2m high-voltage silicon-rubber lead
Battery Condition LCD Display

Product Options

Select any product options you wish to enquire about:

  • PCWI Compact DC15 Porosity Detector - Industrial Kit

  • PCWI Compact DC15 Porosity Detector - Pipeline Kit

  • PCWI Compact DC30 Porosity Detector - Industrial Kit

  • PCWI Compact DC30 Porosity Detector - Pipeline Kit


Calibration is done by comparison to Certified (NATA endorsed Report) equipment and complies with the applicable PCWI Reference Documents WI001 and/or WI002.

Accuracy: ±5% of reading or ±50V below 1kV

View all calibration & certification services

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