A practical technique for the detection of cracks emanating from holes was investigated for non-ferrous materials using the eddy current method. This technique is suggested when more appropriate test equipment is not available. An unshielded absolute pencil probe and a meter display instrument were utilized in the study. It was determined that holes with a minimum diameter of 6.5 mm can be tested efficiently for the detection of cracks at least 0.15 mm deep. For the equipment used, the hole depth that can be tested is limited to about 11 mm if access from the other side is not possible. The detection capability was confirmed by an impedance plane display instrument using rotary differential probes. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.