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Old 03-24-2012, 12:40 PM   #1
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Help finding where wires lead to and what switches lead to


This house was built about 1954. I bought from and electrician, which at the time i thought was good. I had another similar house and the old wireing was not apprecieated. Well this is a mess. He wired all sorts of strange things. Left lots several feet sometimes of slack in the lines.

There are switches that I cant tell where they go or went, and have tried. Some of this mess was attacked a long time ago by me, and have trouble remembering it all, and some things changed at the breakers were from hvac people. It had baseboard heat and we went heat pump. I traced some breakers and removed them cause they seem to have nothing on them or found to go to baseboard heaters. I dont know how but it seems like he wired the 240 heaters with 15 amp breakers and 14/2 wire!?!!? Can you do that?

What I reallly want right now is to find where two cables go from the attic. I think they were/are 14/2 maybe 12/2.

So there is still on baseboard on the wall with a dead wire. Where this attic wire goes down it could go to that. If I put a D battery on one end and muti meter on the other will that work? How do I follow this kind of thing to find source and termination.??

Additional info, This is a duplex and for several years they lived in both halves, with a 36 inch doorway between them, and then just walled off the door again. So some of the wirreing is messed because of that. I have found 2 that sourced on one side and ended on the other or went to both sides. That can make some sense but when you look at where they go i dont know why he did it. Anyway hope that all makes sense.

basicly just need to follow that wire.

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Old 03-24-2012, 01:25 PM   #2
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Help finding where wires lead to and what switches lead to


The baseboards on the 240 volt circuit with 14-2 could be perfectly fine within the limits of a 15 amp circuit.

You may need a toner called a fox and hound to help find where the cables go.

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Old 03-24-2012, 01:37 PM   #3
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Help finding where wires lead to and what switches lead to


When i did my baseboard heaters in another house probably around the same time he did, maybe later??
inspecter made me use 12 or 10 wire and 20amp breakers. he also had a 110 thermostat on the wall, which he told me at the time he did something so that worked but dont know what it was.

I probably should invest in that tool but dont wanna spend 120 bucks on it now. Dont ya think my battery idea will work? i cant get to that end just yet it is buried behind junk.
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:40 PM   #4
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Help finding where wires lead to and what switches lead to


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inspecter made me use 12 or 10 wire and 20amp breakers. .

It would have depended on how many heaters/wattage was on that circuit.
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:47 PM   #5
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It would have depended on how many heaters/wattage was on that circuit.
yes, that is true. I cant say for sure now but remember thinking at the time there was too much for how I understood things. i think he had a 10 footer and two 6's on one thermostat.
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:50 PM   #6
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Help finding where wires lead to and what switches lead to


Here is another type of wire tracker:
http://www.amazon.com/Gardner-Bender.../dp/B000BO6Y1O

Another handy tool to detect live circuits:
http://www.harborfreight.com/non-con...ter-97218.html

and to help find the correct circuit breaker:
http://www.harborfreight.com/circuit...campaign=4510a
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:05 PM   #7
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Help finding where wires lead to and what switches lead to


First some added info. the line has no voltage. it originates in the basement but did not follow all the way to the box. Some dead lines are still in there I think. have taken some out. so at or near the box up to the attic and down a wall. Two story house.
One of thes lines was energized last year when i was up there, pretty sure, and I may have done something when i was cleaning up the wireing mess and adding a couple of outlets to the bedrooms.
The other wire I dont remember if it was hot once or not. i am thinking of leaving at least one of them so in the future if I need a line it is there already, just need to energize it.

On the tools ; I have the breaker finder. But the gardner line tracer says up to 12 inches away. the other end (at the baseboard) Is at least 10 feet. So i assume it wont work here?? Oh ,I have the pen also.

Last edited by papason; 03-24-2012 at 02:07 PM. Reason: left out something
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:31 PM   #8
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Help finding where wires lead to and what switches lead to


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On the tools ; I have the breaker finder. But the gardner line tracer says up to 12 inches away. the other end (at the baseboard) Is at least 10 feet. So i assume it wont work here?? Oh ,I have the pen also.
It would probably work real well in that situation. The 12 inches refers to how far away from the wire you can detect it, not how long the wire is. Actually the detection distance is affected greatly by the material between the wire and the probe but in any case it should work great within residential walls and ceilings.
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:33 PM   #9
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Help finding where wires lead to and what switches lead to


Oh!! cool
pretty handy thing. at that price I will get one.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:33 PM   #10
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Help finding where wires lead to and what switches lead to


You should be able to trace using the GB detector PaliBob linked to.
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:15 PM   #11
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Help finding where wires lead to and what switches lead to


HF also has a cheapo Wire Tracker.
I don't know how well this one works:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cable-tracker-94181.html
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Old 03-25-2012, 01:03 AM   #12
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Help finding where wires lead to and what switches lead to


Jim;
i think I have seen that before. How do you do that?

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