I'm fond of connecting wires ("alligator cords," "jumper leads") that have alligator clips on both ends. I'm also fond of miniature bulbs (flashlight bulbs) in miniature sockets. We put three flavors (2.5-V, 6.3-V, and 14.4-V) of mini-bulbs to good use.
But getting back to the wires. The alligator clip connecting wires that we've been using for many years (Radio Shack and Sargent Welch) are more about "
A wire can fail at any time. When it does, it's not obvious to physics learners that the wire has failed. This can lead to frustration. I scurry about as best I can, troubleshooting circuits as students ask for assistance.
If I suspect a bad wire, what's the best/quickest way to check it for continuity while the lab is in progress and other groups may be waiting for help? I'm not sure. Here's what I've been doing:
I connect the suspect wire to a Genecon and crank. A good wire will offer noticeable mechanical resistance. A bad wire will offer no more mechanical resistance than would occur if the Genecon's leads weren't connected to anything.
I've found that you have to "bounce" the wire a bit while cranking the Genecon to find pesky intermittent failures. It's fairly quick and painless, and doesn't require a meter of any sort. Better still, it garners quizzical, "What the heck is he doing?" looks from students. Later, they will use the Genecons, too. Then I'll be able to ask them how my continuity check worked.
Still though, I'd be willing to pay double (or more) for alligator cords/jumper leads that were built to last.
In any case, what's your preferred method of continuity testing during a lab?