Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical


Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-11-2012, 08:09 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4
Rewards Points: 10

Multiple "pilot" wires for heaters at the electrical box. How to figure out which is


The heating system in my house uses electric heaters. Each heater has a "pilot" wire that runs to the electrical box, along with the load and neutral wires.

The pilot wire is connected to the control system, which then sends a signal to each heater to turn it on, off, daytime, day-time.

The control system has two "zones", and so the pilot wires can be grouped into areas of heat. (ie: Zone 1 = bedrooms / Zone 2 = everything else)

The problem is that I have no idea which pilot wires are for which heater. They are not labeled.

Is there any way I can figure this out? For example, I thought about putting a 9v battery on one end of the wire and then a multi-meter to check for voltage... but I need two wires for that, and the pilot wire is only a single wire.

Any ideas?


hstraf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2012, 08:44 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nashua, NH, USA
Posts: 6,968
Rewards Points: 2,032

Multiple "pilot" wires for heaters at the electrical box. How to figure out which is

Buy a long length (say, 100 feet) of #14 to #22 insulated wire (the #22 or #20 costs less and you can get that at Radio Shack too).

Turn off the power. Disconnect one end of a pilot wire from everything and connect it to the wire you bought. Go to the other end, laying out the wire you bought as you go. Use the ohms (or continuity) function of your multimeter between the wire you bought and the suspected other end of the pilot wire. (Or use the 9 volt battery and the volts function of the multimeter.)

The second end of the pilot wire does not have to be disconnected from everything else.

It will probably be easier if you connect the first end of the wire you bought up at the radiator and do the meter tests down at the heat control panel. This way, after stringing the wire you bought once, you can try all the pilot wire ends one at a time quickly to find out which one matches.

It doesn't matter whether you leave the 9 volt battery (if you use that method) connected at the first end of the wire you bought, or you hold the battery in your hand while using the meter at the second end.

Forget super sized fries. The Washington Redskins could promote healthy eating with First Lady Obama by choosing a (red skinned) turnip for a mascot.

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-11-2012 at 08:59 AM.
AllanJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2012, 08:47 AM   #3
joed's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 8,099
Rewards Points: 2,992
Blog Entries: 4

Multiple "pilot" wires for heaters at the electrical box. How to figure out which is

Use one pilot wire to turn on the heat and see which heater comes on. Repeat until you have all the heater identified.
Do not PM with questions that can be asked in a forum. I will not respond.
joed is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2012, 09:57 PM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Huntsville, AL USA
Posts: 241
Rewards Points: 170

Multiple "pilot" wires for heaters at the electrical box. How to figure out which is

The control wires go into the panel? Wow.
fa_f3_20 is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Can you use wire nuts on a fan light switch with silvery looking wires? amodoko Electrical 4 10-28-2012 09:26 PM
Running multiple wires Lattimer Electrical 6 01-04-2012 12:49 PM
Unintended kitchen remodel Itsdanf Project Showcase 191 06-14-2010 12:23 PM
can't figure out which wires chef44 Electrical 2 02-17-2010 01:43 PM
Ballpark figure for new electrical? gbwillner Electrical 9 05-15-2009 12:08 AM

Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.