Many people are familiar with a continuity test. A continuity test checks for “good connections,” meaning current will flow from one point to its destination point. If current flows easily enough then the points are connected. Many people are less familiar with a hipot test. “Hipot” is short for high potential (high voltage).
A hipot test checks for “good isolation.” A hipot test checks that no current flows between points where there should be no current. In some ways a hipot test is the opposite of a continuity test.
Continuity Test: “Makes sure current flows easily from one point to another point.”
Hipot Test: “Makes sure current does not flow between points where there should be no flow (using high voltage to ensure current does not flow).”
A hipot test takes two conductors that should be isolated and applies a very high voltage between the conductors. The current that flows is watched. If too much current flows the points are not well isolated and they fail the test.
Read our full question and answers article on testing cables with high voltage which will help you understand how hipot testing works and gives ideas on improving hipot safety.