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Old 08-15-2013, 08:18 PM   #1
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Testing/labeling wires


How does one test and label wires that were pulled through a conduit?

They are individual wires but they are all black and have no tape on them.

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Old 08-15-2013, 08:23 PM   #2
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Testing/labeling wires


pick one end and take an alligator clip it to the conduit then read it to the pipe at the other end ....audible on meter is cool then mark it A or 1 and ring them out

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Old 08-15-2013, 09:24 PM   #3
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Testing/labeling wires


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How does one test and label wires that were pulled through a conduit?

They are individual wires but they are all black and have no tape on them.
By using one of these http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 You find a wire to use as the common/Neutral wire, keep the Black lead on that, then move the Red to each wire as you go through and figure out which one is 1, 2, 3, and so on. What colors are the wires pulled through the conduit, and how many are there in there?
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:09 PM   #4
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Testing/labeling wires


You have invested in at least a basic multi-tester right? The continuity tester is great but will only take you so close to the altar.

An analog multi-tester will set you back $10 I guess. Digital ones will start at $20 and climb up to around $300 still I guess.

You will use it a lot. Sparkies laugh at mine for serious stuff and it set me back about $40. They do all the serious stuff for me anyhow. I just use it to keep them billing me fairly at $700 an hour or whatever.

I insist on using it sometimes to check the batteries in theirs so they never try to overbill me.

Seriously, you will get a lot of mileage out of a multi-tester. I have never used one to save money on electrician bills though.

Where are you finding this bundle of black wires, by the way? Are they at your breaker box or you uncovered them in a wall junction or something? Is anything wrong or you just want to know where they go and are trying to identify circuits? I live in conduit country so encounter these things often. Not much to be gained trying to figure out what they are in the middle of run from my experience and it doesn't matter if they are intact and working? Screw the cover plate back on the junction box and leave it alone would be my advice.

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Old 08-16-2013, 10:21 AM   #5
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Testing/labeling wires


These wires are going between two panels (a garage and a shed). There are 4 wires all of them are just plain black (hence my need to find out what is what). 1 is smaller with a green stripe so I know that one is the ground but I don't know what are the two hots and the neutral.

The garage and shed are about 40' apart.

I do have a multimeter but how do I use it to test such a long run?

Thanks,
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:08 AM   #6
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Testing/labeling wires


Connect one end of the tester to the wire with the Green stripe, then tone out the others, to figure out which one you want to mark with White Tape, the Next with Red Tape or yellow, then the next with Blue or Black.

The tester I linked, would have no problem doing it, so would most DVM's with continuity testing. I have this Sperry, which could handle it. http://www.amazon.com/A-W-Sperry-DM2...rry+multimeter
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:21 AM   #7
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Testing/labeling wires


Something that should have been done before you put the wire in.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:37 AM   #8
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Testing/labeling wires


I didn't run the wire it was already there hence the need to test it.


I have http://www.lowes.com/pd_464295-295-58290840_4294722453__?productId=50038912&Ns=p_prod uct_price|0 multimeter.

Would I still need to get the tester that was listed above? Or how would I do a test using my multimeter?


I know for some of you this may seem like a dumb question but I do greatly appreciate any help.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:37 AM   #9
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Testing/labeling wires


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Connect one end of the tester to the wire with the Green stripe, then tone out the others, to figure out which one you want to mark with White Tape, the Next with Red Tape or yellow, then the next with Blue or Black.

The tester I linked, would have no problem doing it, so would most DVM's with continuity testing. I have this Sperry, which could handle it. http://www.amazon.com/A-W-Sperry-DM2...rry+multimeter
Greg, not sure I completely agree with you. The OP seems to have working electricity. So continuity is not the issue. The wires work they are just the same color?

He is trying to trace their circuitry. Proving they all work and have continuity would help him in what way toward identifying circuits?

I admit ultimate laziness at times. And I believe I have single handed put a Sparky's kids through college at least once.

Call an electrician. We can talk for ages about same color black wires running through conduit are about. We could end up hurting the OP.

Yes, the electrician will stay for days sorting things out. Actually, of all the trades I hired, sparkies are in and out the fastest. Of course a decent one is going to cost $12/hour most anywhere in the country.

Just kidding. Pay the Piper. I have yet to find an electrician more expensive than a fire.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:48 AM   #10
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Testing/labeling wires


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Originally Posted by thrw View Post
I didn't run the wire it was already there hence the need to test it.


I have http://www.lowes.com/pd_464295-295-58290840_4294722453__?productId=50038912&Ns=p_prod uct_price|0 multimeter.

Would I still need to get the tester that was listed above? Or how would I do a test using my multimeter?


I know for some of you this may seem like a dumb question but I do greatly appreciate any help.
Put the black lead into the com hole.
Red lead into the volt,ohm,ma hole.
Turn the dial to the 200 ohm setting.
Touch the leads and the reading should be near zero.
Connect any black wire to the green striped wire at one end, go to the other end, connect one lead of the meter to the green striped wire, the other lead touch each black wire until you read zero.
Mark that wire, the go disconnect the other end and retest to make sure it was the correct wire.
Test again to verify.

Use this wire as the white, as the other two wires will be used as the hot wires.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:48 AM   #11
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Testing/labeling wires


sdsester, all it takes is a flip of the breaker, and disconnecting the wires, if they are not already connected, which sounds to me that they have never been connected to begin with, so the OP is trying to figure out out of the three to have which one be Neutral, which one to be L1 & which one to be L2.

Do not need a Electrician to come out and test a dead circuit. The OP just needs the correct answer, and I would disagree with what you stated, because all that is doing, is telling the OP they are incompetent and should never do the work, when they can, and does not take hiring an electrician to trace out circuits.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:48 AM   #12
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Testing/labeling wires


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Greg, not sure I completely agree with you. The OP seems to have working electricity. So continuity is not the issue. The wires work they are just the same color?

He is trying to trace their circuitry. Proving they all work and have continuity would help him in what way toward identifying circuits?

I admit ultimate laziness at times. And I believe I have single handed put a Sparky's kids through college at least once.

Call an electrician. We can talk for ages about same color black wires running through conduit are about. We could end up hurting the OP.

Yes, the electrician will stay for days sorting things out. Actually, of all the trades I hired, sparkies are in and out the fastest. Of course a decent one is going to cost $12/hour most anywhere in the country.

Just kidding. Pay the Piper. I have yet to find an electrician more expensive than a fire.

The wires currently are not working. I would just like to hook them all back up but I do not want to screw anything up that is why I want to make sure I have the 2 hots/neutral/ground all figured out before I go hooking them back up.

I have done lots of electrical work around my house where everything is labled correctly. I just don't want to hook this up wrong.

Also by testing to make sure the wires are working will let me know if it is worth it to keep power to the shed. Or if I will have to pull new wires to the shed which costs the $$$.

Thanks,
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:50 AM   #13
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Testing/labeling wires


Are you having issues or just trying to hook it up for the first time?
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:56 AM   #14
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Testing/labeling wires


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Are you having issues or just trying to hook it up for the first time?

Just trying to hook it up for the first time. I just moved in 2 months ago and going through stuff I didn't notice.

In the garage the 4 wires are curled up above the panel (open walls). In the shed they are the only wires coming into a small panel (not hooked up). So i'm assuming the job just never got done.

The shed is 10' x 10' so I would love to use it as a little workshop.

Thanks,
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:03 PM   #15
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Testing/labeling wires


Just try the tester you have right now for Continuity. If it does not work, get the one I posted, it should work at that distance with no problem. Just follow what I posted before, using the Green striped as your Common wire that you connect the black lead to, then when you find one wire, wrap the wire with a length of colored tape, then go to the next, do the same with another color, and same for the third.

Then you can go from there.

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