How to Perform a Lamp Test to Verify Power

Plug drawing on the blackboard

Yagi Studio/Getty Images

If you're troubleshooting a power issue with an outlet or a power strip but you don't have a multimeter at your disposal, this simple "lamp test" can verify if power is being provided.

This test is just a working/not-working test, so it can't determine if voltage is a bit low or high, something that might make little difference to a light bulb but be important to your computer. If this is a concern, testing an outlet with a multimeter is a better idea.

A "lamp test" is very easy to do and usually takes less than 5 minutes

How to Perform a Lamp Test to Verify Power

  1. Unplug your PC, monitor or other device from the wall outlet and plug in a small lamp or other device that you know is working fine.
    1. If the lamp comes on then you know your power from the wall is good.
  2. If you're using a power strip, follow the same directions as in the last step for your power strip.
  3. Also, unplug your computer case, monitor and any other device from the outlets on the power strip and perform the same "lamp test" on the power strip outlets to see if they are functioning properly.
    1. Make sure that the power switch on the power strip is flipped on!
  4. If any of the wall outlets are not providing power, troubleshoot this issue or call an electrician.
    1. As an immediate solution, you could move your PC to an area where the wall outlets are working properly.
    2. If your power strip isn't working (even just one outlet) replace it.