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Old 01-29-2011, 09:53 AM   #1
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Best tools and efficient method for identifying outlets on a circuit, please.


Looking for recommendations for the best tools and efficient method of identifying 120v. outlets for a given circuit breaker.

If you recommend a breaker finder and cable tracer of some sort, I need to keep the cost down to 100.00 or less for each tool.

Anyone have experience with the Amprobe ECB50A Breaker Finder and Line Tracer and/or the Zircon CF-12?

Grateful for any help...

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Last edited by justplumducky; 01-29-2011 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 01-29-2011, 10:17 AM   #2
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Best tools and efficient method for identifying outlets on a circuit, please.


You already have the tools necessary.
1) A portable radio you can hear from where the panel is located.
2) Your eyes.

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Old 01-29-2011, 10:44 AM   #3
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Best tools and efficient method for identifying outlets on a circuit, please.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
... tools necessary.
1) A portable radio ...
AC powered (hint, hint).

However using those tone generating gadgets can be much faster since you can set it up once and identify several outlets and in some cases even trace the routes of the circuit cables. Allso you don't have to keep flipping all the breakers on and off to find the circuit you are interested in.

Unfortunately I don't know what make and model is best or has non-contact (and therefore circuit route tracing) capability.

Get some gummed labels to use for each switch, receptacle, light, etc.) as you identify it.
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Old 01-29-2011, 08:28 PM   #4
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Best tools and efficient method for identifying outlets on a circuit, please.


Radio works good. Plug it in. Turn it up loud. Turn off breakers until radio stops. Try radio in other receptacles in same vicinity and see how many others are also on the circuit.
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:38 AM   #5
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Best tools and efficient method for identifying outlets on a circuit, please.


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
AC powered (hint, hint).

However using those tone generating gadgets can be much faster since you can set it up once and identify several outlets and in some cases even trace the routes of the circuit cables. Allso you don't have to keep flipping all the breakers on and off to find the circuit you are interested in.

Unfortunately I don't know what make and model is best or has non-contact (and therefore circuit route tracing) capability.

Get some gummed labels to use for each switch, receptacle, light, etc.) as you identify it.
" Gummed label reference the greatest not mentioned enough"
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:42 PM   #6
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Best tools and efficient method for identifying outlets on a circuit, please.


After reading all your replies (Thank You), and a few articles on troubleshooting residential circuits, I want to tell you about a strategy for my usual situations (partial outages on a single circuit in mobile homes), and see if you think it's ok, or if you have a better way to approach it.

Most recently, I was called to repair a circuit that had a vacuum sweeper plugged into it while the space heater was also running (most of the circuit was out). I got everything working again, but my method was a bit haphazard.

Now I'm thinking the first thing I should do when approaching this situation, is to identify all the outlets (& switched fixtures) on a given circuit, by turning its breaker off, then locating all the non-functioning outlets with 3-pronged outlet testers - I would actually buy enough of these testers so I could have one plugged into each outlet on the malfunctioning circuit, then turn it back on. Then I could start with the last working, or first non-working outlet.

After repairing the first bad one I find, I could simply eyeball the rest of the testers (in the outlets) to see what might have come back on (if any), then continue on in the same fashion as necessary 'till they're all working again. If the path of the circuit isn't obvious to me (most of the time it is - all the homes are single story), I could use a line/cable tracer to establish the first outlet in the circuit from the panel, and elsewhere when I'm not certain which direction it might take along the way.

I've found a cable tracer on Amazon.com that has all great reviews, but I'll wait for "my reviews" first on this approach to troubleshooting. Aw hell, what am I waitin' for...it's Fluke's PRO 3000 Tone & Probe Kit for about $67.00. 30 Reviews, all positive, if anyone's interested.

This product (link below) is obviously meant for network cabling, but the reviews convinced me it's good for Romex-types also. Of course, if anyone has a recommendation for one that works well and is less expensive...

http://www.amazon.com/Fluke-PRO3000-...6426339&sr=8-1

Thanks so much for any help.
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Old 01-30-2011, 09:40 PM   #7
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Best tools and efficient method for identifying outlets on a circuit, please.


i have one of these and they work great
http://www.electricaltools.net/produ...510-0534.shtml
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:02 AM   #8
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Best tools and efficient method for identifying outlets on a circuit, please.


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Originally Posted by awdblazer View Post
i have one of these and they work great
http://www.electricaltools.net/produ...510-0534.shtml
I checked out the reviews (Amazon.com) on this model and the one without the GFCI testing capability (61-534 and 61-532) All reviews were great or good.

The reviews were not good, overall, for the Amproble ECB50A Breaker Finder and Line Tracer.

Thank you awdblazer!
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:12 PM   #9
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Best tools and efficient method for identifying outlets on a circuit, please.


I know this thread is over a month old, however, I thought I would add my thoughts in case someone was researching Circuit Breaker Finders.

I recently purchased an Ideal Circuit Breaker Finder, model 61-532 for $36.00 from Lowes, so that I could relabel my breaker box after realizing that when the breaker box was installed 13 years ago, by another owner, that there wasn't any reliable way to tell what breakers controlled what outlets and lights...with few exceptions.

Findings: Use of Circuit Breaker Finder

1. Read the instructions. Follow the instructions on the side of the instrument and do not deviate.

A. Touch the Receiver to the first breaker in the box. Then slide it down the read of them to set the sensitivity. Next, slide it down the other side. NOT DOING THIS WILL RESULT IN THE TESTER FINDING MORE THAN ONE BREAKER PER OUTLET AND CAUSE YOU TO BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE A WIRING PROBLEM.

B. Pay attention to the orientation of the Receiver as directed in the instructions when touching it to the breakers...other wise it won't be set up correctly.

I thought that I had two circuits with double breakers...like 26 and 14 in my living room. After I reread the instructions, proper use of the Circuit Breaker Finder resulted in there only being one breaker for each circuit.

I hope this post saves you the time and trouble that I experienced.

I was mildly surprised to find outlets on one circuit in a room to have a sister in another bedroom clear across the house. It was an easy product to use...and provided reliable results, when I used it according to the instructions.

About me...home owner...DIY pretend carpenter with no affiliation to Ideal or any other circuit breaker finder company. Just trying to help those doing what I was doing.

This product is highly recommened...and it's cheap...you won't use one too often after you find what circuit breakers control what circuits, so as inexpensive as possible was good for me.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:27 AM   #10
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Best tools and efficient method for identifying outlets on a circuit, please.


Thanks for your reply Ed911.

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