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hubbard53 11-07-2007 09:02 AM

Circuit Tracing Tool
 
So I'm in the middle of a medium kitchen renovation - grantie counters, tile backsplash, new lighting fixtures, new microhood combo to replace the simple vent hood. . . oh and the wife is replacing the pulls on the cabinets :whistling2:

So I dive into the vent hood... need to turn off the power so I look in the breaker box; nothing specific to the hood. So I turn off "kitchen lights" breaker... hood still powered... range breaker? Hood still on... so after switching every bloody breaker off, the range hood is STILL on. Guess I assume it is on a breaker less circuit? Nice huh?

I find it difficult to believe that a home builder would do this so I want to buy a circuit tracer.. i mean, its gotta be somewhere! I need suggestions.. nothign too crazy. Maybe < $100... if I find its not on a protected circuit, I'm gonna have to put it on a dedicated, breakered circuit for the new microwave.

So what are your thoughts on the tracer to buy?

thanks,,

RJ

47_47 11-07-2007 09:40 AM

How old is your home / electrical panel? Two circuits may be interconnected and the hood (and other circuits) may be wrongly on two breakers. Before spending the money, I would one by one turn off every breaker in the house and write down what it exactly controls. This may take some time, but will tell you exactly what's going on.

hubbard53 11-07-2007 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 47_47 (Post 72211)
How old is your home / electrical panel? Two circuits may be interconnected and the hood (and other circuits) may be wrongly on two breakers. Before spending the money, I would one by one turn off every breaker in the house and write down what it exactly controls. This may take some time, but will tell you exactly what's going on.

Its seven years old... i already did this; the box is labeled well except for this ONE thing. I did turn each one off (i think) and couldnt find the one that controlled the hood. I'll do the same exercise again and see if I can get it . .

spebby 11-07-2007 09:58 AM

Another possibility that happened in my kitchen remodel.

A 12-3 cable was used to wire the dishwasher/disposal and refrigerator. Either when the drywall or cabinets were hung a screw apparently penetrated the insulation of both hot wires. Both outlets had power with one breaker on and the other off. I corrected the problem by running a new 12-2 to the refrigerator outlet.

hubbard53 11-07-2007 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spebby (Post 72213)
Another possibility that happened in my kitchen remodel.

A 12-3 cable was used to wire the dishwasher/disposal and refrigerator. Either when the drywall or cabinets were hung a screw apparently penetrated the insulation of both hot wires. Both outlets had power with one breaker on and the other off. I corrected the problem by running a new 12-2 to the refrigerator outlet.

yeah, i dont think thats the problem but who knows. I probably need to trace it anyway and put it on its own circuit due to the uberness of the microwave

HouseHelper 11-07-2007 10:12 AM

Are you sure there is not another panel somewhere? Maybe in the kitchen area?

When you turned each breaker off, did you leave it off?

Does the hood turn off when you turn off the main breaker?

hubbard53 11-07-2007 10:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HouseHelper (Post 72221)
Are you sure there is not another panel somewhere? Maybe in the kitchen area?

When you turned each breaker off, did you leave it off?

Does the hood turn off when you turn off the main breaker?

no, i turned it off and back on. I wasnt able to turn off the entire house due to wife working from home.

There is no other box.

HouseHelper 11-07-2007 10:19 AM

Try turning everything off and leaving it off. You may have two breakers interconnected as 47_47 suggested.

hubbard53 11-07-2007 10:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HouseHelper (Post 72225)
Try turning everything off and leaving it off. You may have two breakers interconnected as 47_47 suggested.

that's interesting. Never ran into that before. Is there a reason to do that or is it a mistake?

HouseHelper 11-07-2007 10:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hubbard53 (Post 72228)
that's interesting. Never ran into that before. Is there a reason to do that or is it a mistake?

It would be a mistake. Only way to find out is to turn each breaker off and leave it off until you find one that turns the hood off. Leave that one off and start turning the others on until the hood turns back on. Check the 240V breakers too.

The more difficult task then becomes "Where is the inter-connection?". Look for a junction box in the attic or basement as that is the most likely location.

Have seen this occasionally, and it can be a PITA to located the crossover.

hubbard53 11-07-2007 10:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HouseHelper (Post 72235)
It would be a mistake. Only way to find out is to turn each breaker off and leave it off until you find one that turns the hood off. Leave that one off and start turning the others on until the hood turns back on. Check the 240V breakers too.

The more difficult task then becomes "Where is the inter-connection?". Look for a junction box in the attic or basement as that is the most likely location.

Have seen this occasionally, and it can be a PITA to located the crossover.

ok, so given this, would it still not be easier to use a tracing tool? :)

HouseHelper 11-07-2007 11:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hubbard53 (Post 72238)
ok, so given this, would it still not be easier to use a tracing tool? :)

Once you locate the two breakers (if that is what it is), turn just one on, everything else off. Use a voltage proximity tester to locate the hot wire and trace it from the hood back to the panel. Chances are you will find a junction box somewhere that has another cable entering. Hopefully that junction is easily accessible.

The type of circuit tracer you get for <$100 will not help much in this case.

Another thought: Since you said your wife was working from home, did you leave the circuits she was using on the whole time or were they also cycled off?

47_47 11-07-2007 11:02 AM

I would first verify if the hood is on two breakers as HouseHelper suggested. I do not know if the tracing tool will make it easier, but 100.00 for a tool to be used probably only once is your call. I personally buy all the toys that I need, but stay away from the cheapo's, you might as well just send me the money.:laughing:

hubbard53 11-07-2007 11:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 47_47 (Post 72249)
I would first verify if the hood is on two breakers as HouseHelper suggested. I do not know if the tracing tool will make it easier, but 100.00 for a tool to be used probably only once is your call. I personally buy all the toys that I need, but stay away from the cheapo's, you might as well just send me the money.:laughing:

hehe well i like tools :) and this gives me a reason to buy one... plus they have LEDs on em... we all know from Star Trek that an LED makes anything look cool and 'high tech'

spebby 11-07-2007 02:48 PM

By all means buy a tracing tool. When you hook the signal transmitter to the vent-a-hood wiring (or outlet) you should get a signal on two breakers. Then follow HouseHelper's advice. If the vent-a-hood wasn't protected by a breaker it would be obvious. The wiring would be connected directly to the bus in the breaker panel or connected in the meter base. Highly unlikely.

I too like quality tools even though I'm a DIYer. My philosophy has always been if the tool is worth having get it, it's worth the butt chewing the wife dishes out. And my butt has been chewed out many times over the years over tools.


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