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Old 01-12-2009, 08:24 PM   #1
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Tracing electrical wires


I have a theory that I'd like you bounce off of someone. I'd like to be able to trace electrical wires in the wall so I know basically where they're run. I've heard that if you use a wire tracer for phone lines (see link below) you are able to locate them in a wall.

If I'm right, please tell me yes or no, you can hook this transmitter (black and red wires) to the circuit some where- outlet or fixture- which then sends a signal to the receiver. As you follow or trace the wall you'll hear the signal which shows you where the wires are run in the wall before you make holes in a finished wall.

Any thoughts will be appreciated. Thanks.

http://www.tempo-textron.com/prod_de...=803&pid=10426

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Old 01-12-2009, 08:32 PM   #2
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Tracing electrical wires


Umm yeah Dale that is what people use. It can be used on romex or phone wires

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Old 01-12-2009, 08:39 PM   #3
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Tracing electrical wires


When you use that particular device you MUST have the power off. I have used them to find open circuits which turned out to be in buried junction box.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:10 PM   #4
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Tracing electrical wires


The reason why you was probably getting a weak signal is if the wires did have voltage going through them. Make sure it is disconnect on both ends
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:43 PM   #5
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Tracing electrical wires


DaleB I carry 2 little inexpencive tester. One looks like a fat ink pen, it has a plastic tip and when it gets close to live current the end blinks red and it makes a beeping sound. This one is handy to trace wires from a switch or receptical. It comes in real handy to use before I cut a hole in a wall.

The other one has 2 parts, one plugs into a receptical and the other you bring to the braker box and slide it down the face of all the brakers untill it beeps. It will tell you which braker is connected the the receptical the other half is pluged into. Then you can turn that braker off to make repairs with out turning off the wrong brakers.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:52 PM   #6
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Tracing electrical wires


I'm curious why the power needs to be off? I thought that it fed off of the current in the wires to trace them. Apparently, the power to trace the wire comes from the transmitter itself? Also, regarding the other two testers I have both and they help alot. Thanks.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:58 PM   #7
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Tracing electrical wires


Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleB View Post
I'm curious why the power needs to be off? I thought that it fed off of the current in the wires to trace them. Apparently, the power to trace the wire comes from the transmitter itself? Also, regarding the other two testers I have both and they help alot. Thanks.
Yes on the other type mentioned above needs the power off. It sends out a low voltage ping that can be picked up by the receiver.
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:04 AM   #8
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Tracing electrical wires


They work well. Exactly how well I will tell you tomorrow. I will be using the probe and tone generator to locate buried junctions boxes in the walls. I'm going to enjoy busting open those walls to expose the junction boxes!!! Why do people think it is ok to bury junction boxes!????!?

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Old 01-13-2009, 03:45 AM   #9
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Tracing electrical wires


For DIY there are two ways to trace AC wiring, with Power OFF & with Power On.
1) For bigger bucks there is a third choice Pwr OFF or ON e.g. The Greenlee 2011.
On this puppy the receiver will operate up to a 4 miles from the transmitter.

2) The Power Off tracers are the phone type tracers. I use this tone generator/kit:
Test-Um KP100 Field Kit: TT100 & TG100 in a Cordura pouch Test-Um KP100, KP-100, KP 100
It works fine for shorter runs. The main problem is that due to the small transmitting power of the generator anything that is plugged into a receptacle will suck up the signal. Another signal killer are lights that are not turned Off.

3) The Power ON tracers center on the Circuit Breaker Finders. These I think s/b just called circuit tracers because while the circuit breaker function is valuable, they are good at tracing wires in a wall or to sort AC wires in a bundle. Here is a higher end tracer that is advertised to trace cables to a depth of 15". Try that with your phone tracer.
ECB50A - at the Test Equipment Depot

Wire Sniffers as has been pointed out are also useful.
HF Non-Contact Voltage Tester

The sniffer that I like is the Greenlee GT-16
It has an adjustable threshhold so it can be used to trace doorbell wires, Thermostats, LV Yard Lighting, or even those Xmas lights
Greenlee GT-16 - Non-Contact Adjustable Voltage Detector, AC 5-1000V


.
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Tracing electrical wires-greenlee-2011-finder.jpg   Tracing electrical wires-amprobe-ecb50a.jpg   Tracing electrical wires-hf-tester-97218-9vga.jpg   Tracing electrical wires-greenlee-gt-16-1st.jpg  
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Last edited by PaliBob; 01-13-2009 at 03:53 AM. Reason: sp
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:07 PM   #10
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Tracing electrical wires


Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleB View Post
I'm curious why the power needs to be off? I thought that it fed off of the current in the wires to trace them. Apparently, the power to trace the wire comes from the transmitter itself? Also, regarding the other two testers I have both and they help alot. Thanks.
The one pictured in the orginal post is a data line tracer. There are batteries in both halves of the device. It is mainly designed for tracing data or phone lines. Putting 120 volts across the leads would burn it up unless this particular one is capable of working on a live circuit. The one I have is not and looks very similar to the posted.
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:47 PM   #11
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Tracing electrical wires


Will the tracers work for wires in conduit? Specifically the ECB50A? I'm trying to figure out how the conduit is run through the walls.
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:49 PM   #12
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Tracing electrical wires


Quote:
Originally Posted by PaliBob View Post
3) The Power ON tracers center on the Circuit Breaker Finders. These I think s/b just called circuit tracers because while the circuit breaker function is valuable, they are good at tracing wires in a wall or to sort AC wires in a bundle. Here is a higher end tracer that is advertised to trace cables to a depth of 15". Try that with your phone tracer.
ECB50A - at the Test Equipment Depot
I know this is an old thread but the above device seems to be still available. I need to trace the source of power to this:


Sorry, the picture is on it's side but the previous owner put outlets on the stairs. I have found some lights that fit into a single gang box. These outlets are not switched, as far as I can tell. This device should work to locate the line in the crawlspace and wall? Will it help me determine if it feeds power somewhere else?

Thanks!
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:51 PM   #13
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Tracing electrical wires


wtf is with those outlets on the stairs?
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:08 PM   #14
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Tracing electrical wires


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wtf is with those outlets on the stairs?
I don't think they are receptacles. They are probably lights.
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:37 PM   #15
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Tracing electrical wires


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Originally Posted by finnimus View Post
Will the tracers work for wires in conduit?
No. But this should help:
http://www.harborfreight.com/9-volt-...and-94138.html

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