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Topic Title: Amtech Fast Test
Topic Summary: Any tricks?
Created On: 06 March 2015 05:25 PM
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 06 March 2015 05:25 PM
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I have been using Amtech Fast test for the first time on a significant sized job this week.

Do you have any tricks to make it a bit more user friendly?

In particular, it doesn't copy and paste like a spread sheet will so putting LIM into the four boxes for an insulation resistance test means typing Lim into every box one by one right down the whole three phase board, so four times for each circuit.

Also, I made a novice blunder on one cert by putting the breaker ratings in before I put in the type of breaker from the drop down menu. As soon as I put the types into the boxes it deleted all the ratings and sent me back to the beginning on that column. I was mighty annoyed by that.

You have to mouse up and down and can't use the up and down arrows...I was amazed by that.

Putting N/A in for an RCD test button involves 5 clicks of the mouse for each box, one by one down the list. Do you know of a way of copying a line all the way down like you can with a spread sheet?

The certificates look great and I will probably keep using it, but I found myself wondering why Fast Test does not have some of the capabilities of more common place software. I'd love to know how you get round it.

I sort of found myself thinking that Amtech have decided to make it difficult so that the cut and paste brigade don't over step their marks... but the extra time involved is going to have to go on the price of a job in future and with the cost of the Amtech, I'd rather expect them to make life easier than any other available software. Like, pay us loads of money and you will never regret it because we will make you look so good and give you time for a tea break.

I'm looking forward to seeing how you deal with it and I don't half hope you have some tricks to share. I can already see a love/hate thing brewing.

 06 March 2015 06:40 PM
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Use F5. This will allow copying of a number of functions for a column or row depending on a number of factors. Typical use might be for N-E insulation resistance, polarity, horizontal row copy for insulation resistance - particulary useful when the test uses LN/E test configuration. Using a hypen - will help with the N/A. Also, if entering N/a use the 'Fill all Blanks' tab at the top.

Let me know if you want any further help.



P.S been using FastTest for over 10 years now. So, I think I Have most of the short-cuts and tricks covered.
 06 March 2015 08:04 PM
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Mike, that is fantastic advice and I can't wait to try it out. Thank you so much for that. I might well take you up on your offer.

I have decided not to mess with this week's certs because they are so far down the line after three late nights in the hotel trying to get them looking good that I don't want to take any chances with them. But I've not instructed them to publish yet and my smaller certs did something to themselves at that stage, not least they asked me if I want NICEIC or Amtech publishing... but I've not got to that stage with them yet.

In the meantime, I'm going to pass some advice I've had on a text to you for the archive. One of our more clever members doesn't post on here because of one of his business relationships - a bit like when you become an NIC area inspector you have to agree to keep a low profile - but miles more worthy than that. Anyway, he says 'Fill in the details on fast test as an installation certificate (Amtech Model). Then sync files between fast test and EICR fast test. The reason for this is that you can set default circuits that you can then paste super quick.'

That too is something I can't wait to try.

Strikes me that this is going to be something like using Relux lighting design software (Except that Relux is free of charge and this cost thousands,). You see, that doesn't come with step by step instructions and it doesn't half take some doing to get yourself to the stage of being able to produce a credible lighting design. Especially when your chosen fitting isn't on their list and you have to know how to fudge it in, or you are doing the emergency lighting in that room. But, because I did that and so few people learn how to use it to its full potential and how to get the benefit from it, Relux has become one of my Unique Selling Points.

I reckon this Amtech certification software is going to be the same kind of thing. I'm actually tempted to delay my planned distance-learning course in something else electrical by a few weeks in favour of re-allocating the time to getting to grips with this. I can tell that it is going to take some time but I understand that when used well, this will present me with an Amtech model (kind of thing). I might put some energy onto this and see what USPs it can add.

What a road we travel? Four year's ago my USP was good handwriting and copper-plate, handsomely bound, certificates using printed versions of the model forms from Big Red.

Believe me, if it turns out to be too much of a song and dance, I'll be letting you know.

Future Fast Test Supremo? Zs
 06 March 2015 08:50 PM
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Zs, have fun.

What I do when I Master a cert is to backup the database. That way you can 'Restore' to an older version if you mess up big time. One of the best suggestions I can offer is to keep backing up. This will give greater flexibility if you mess up. FastTest will assign a date & timecode each time you backup. This makes it easy to go back to anearlier version.

I'm sure that Amtech never intended it to be used this way, but it certainly allows me to correct screw-ups if I miss something and I've 'mastered' a certificate.

Also if you have an iPad you can use this to do your certs when mobile saves dragging the laptop around (however I still use pen and paper with printed out draft certs)

Anyway have fun.



Edited: 06 March 2015 at 08:57 PM by michaelbrett
 06 March 2015 10:16 PM
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I used to use fast test. It's slow! And I used to have to do around 30 certs a week.

I know that for some reason, some don't like Hollycroft, but it is so quick. It is based on Word. Copy, paste, save as, dead easy!
 06 March 2015 10:47 PM
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Oh Leckie, you strike such a chord as I sit here at the desk on a Friday night.

In general I use the certificates made by one of our forum members who hopefully will come forward. He sells them for a few pounds a set through one of the other forums and they are fantastic. If you have half a brain then these are the best. If you have no brain then best get one of those first because they don't flag the bad stuff up for you, you have to know that it is the bad stuff. But they are excellent.

As time moves on though, I find myself with clients who ask if I use Amtech certification. Well, I had to buy the huge version of Amtech pro a while back, for the designing stuff and tacked on to it was this certification. Because of being happy with what I had, I ignored Fast Test but now it is winning me work. I can hack it the slow way, like most of us I expect, but I'll learn how to get the best out of it.

There must be reasons for it being in demand from the clients. Maybe they just know how to read them and maybe they know that it costs a bit so anyone who uses it must be serious about what they do? I don't know.

At the moment it seems to be like the big secret. Oh dear, the big secret has fallen into the hands of Zs who will tell you all what it is about as soon as she knows

Pressings random buttons....does this one post it?...

 11 March 2015 11:13 PM
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The big secret.....

Probably the least user friendly and most head 'messing' (I'm being polite) software I have ever used.

This has cost about an hour 20 mins (minimum) extra for each DB plus more time on the initial pages and I am seriously not impressed. I just ran a preview of it... Things like extent and limitations, because there are quite a few, ran on to continuation pages. Well, if you want to see those continuation pages you have to go ahead toward the end of the certificate pack. But the ones that would fit are on the opening pages so they are separated by miles. Shocking and I am a touch embarrassed to present a document which my client has to page backwards and forwards through. the client asked for these certificates though.

I have one DB left to certificate. It is supposed to be going off tomorrow when the written report is back from due diligence. But in favour of getting some sleep I just shut it down.

'Are you sure you want to exit Fast Test?' It asked me politely. Yes I flippin' well do

My eyes have gone all wonky filling in boxes with N/A. I wish I had some carrot cake here.

Do not buy this software unless your client demands it, in which case add time to the job and make sure there are lots of jobs.

I use Amtech proper quite a bit as you know. I wear clean clothes and I talk the talk when I use that and I'm not walking the walk at the same time if you get my drift?

Clearly, Amtech is for office-wallers and clients who don't get their hands dirty.

I'm proper cross with this software. IMHO this is something to impress with and is not for real, busy electricians.

Rant over.

Hey ho, all in a day's work. I quite fancy a boiled egg with soldiers and off to get just that.


 11 March 2015 11:30 PM
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I've never used anything but Fast Test Zs.

I like it for EICs and find the default circuit and circuit not tested functions useful.

Its the schedule of inspections that I hate on the EICRs switching between those pages and the observations page on a big commercial job is hard work. The original EICR software was ridiculous and they introduced the separate Fast Test EICR but they really need to spend more time improving it. Maybe they can't be bothered because if they do get it right the forms will change again anyway in a couple of years.

Mike's advice from last week is very goood


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