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If you hold onto the wire, if you can't let go, its DC....
Iv twice survived 220 VAC across my chest reaching into a metal cabinet through an access pannel.
Not 100% reliable. Even AC can make you cramp shut.
So it's more like: If you can let go, it was AC. If you can't, it can have been AC or DC ... but who cares? At least not you (anymore)!
And yes, that was cynic. :-)
If you have a car in garage you have a table lamp.
Plug the lamp into your outlet and see if it the light turns ON ?
If it does not light then you you have no power = 0v ... No 220v
You are using a lamp as a voltmeter :)
What it is your trying to measure? More info would help and pictures if you got them.
+1 to more Info !
If it's main's voltage (directly from the wall) they will mostlikely be AC. You need a few components to convert to DC, like a Diode Bridge Rectifier. These components will be in a enclosure that should be easy to Identify.
+1 you should be able to "know" what your local voltage is give or take a few volts. wall current is AC throughout the world.
A generator will give AC if not a permanent magnet generator with brushes. on a commutator (a slotted copper ring that the brushes run on)
If the brushes run on a solid set of 2 or 3 rings (slip rings) then it is producing AC.
I think the usual tool is a multimeter,
But you said, "with out volmeter", that is without a multimeter?
A neon lamp style voltage tester can tell AC from DC. This page,
from the article titled "Neon Lamp" shows how AC and different polarity DC look applied to a neon lamp.
Measuring voltage magnitude, e.g. telling the difference between 110 VAC and 220 VAC will be more difficult using a neon lamp style voltage tester, unless it is specifically the kind of neon lamp style voltage tester made to do that.
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