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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've got a common setup here. The old 1920s fuse box turned into a junction box. The junction box was created in 2003 by the previous owner to extend the old BX that otherwise could not reach the new 200amp panel.

We're doing renovations and I've been going through the JB and cutting and capping old circuits that are no longer needed. The goal is to replace the last runs of cloth wire and eventually remove the JB altogether but I need to do this incrementally over a few weeks.

I've carefully mapped every circuit breaker in the main panel including the circuits running from the JB. I've cut and capped 6 of the 12 circuits running from the JB. Now I need to remove the pairs that tied these old circuits to the panel. The 12 pairs are bundled together and pass through a 2" conduit from the JB to the panel. None of the pairs are labeled.

Any advice on how to safely trace out the neutral? A live wire tone and probe designed for use on an energized circut appears to be the right way to go, but pricey.
 

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I would turn off all wiring and disconnect all the neutrals. Take 1 neutral and ground it out to the conduit at 1 end. At the other end, use a continuity tester to go from conduit to each neutral wire to identify. Use a book of numbers to mark each.
 

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A "Handy Husband"
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Is the conduit short and/or straight enough that you can pup them and see which one moves?
 

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You said the 12 pairs are bundled together and pass through a 2" conduit. Are they bundled together inside the bundle? Can the bundle be undone?

Is your issue trying to determine (A) which is the neutral corresponding to this neutral coming out of the other end of this conduit? or (B) which is the neutral that pairs with that hot?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is the conduit short and/or straight enough that you can pup them and see which one moves?
Thank you @rjniles. I tried but the panel has a lot going on... as far as visuals go, the wiring from the JB is stranded, so it's easy to discern the JB neutrals from newer solid copper. But I've still got 12 neutrals and only want to disconnect 6 of them... but thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You said the 12 pairs are bundled together and pass through a 2" conduit. Are they bundled together inside the bundle? Can the bundle be undone?

Is your issue trying to determine (A) which is the neutral corresponding to this neutral coming out of the other end of this conduit? or (B) which is the neutral that pairs with that hot?
Thanks, @miamicuse - trying to get to B. On the JB side I know the pairs and have cut, capped, tapped, and labeled the pairs. On the panel side, for now, I have the breakers off but the hotwire is still attached. The neutrals are still attached to the bus, and I know which neutrals are coming from the JB because they are all stranded - and everything else in the panel is solid copper.
 

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If you have 12 pairs of conductors, and want to disconnect six of them, by determining which neutral to disconnect, and leave alone those that are paired with the hots.

But is this really necessary?

Let's use a simple example, let's say you have four pairs of conductors. 4 hots say black1 black2 red1 red2, and you have eight neutrals all white kind of all bundled together. There is no splices in any of the neutrals to the panel. On the panel side you see all eight neutral conductors connected to the bus bar.

Now on the junction box side you are trying to figure out which neutral is which, you only need four but you have eight.

What I would do is undo the bundle (whether it's zip tie or tape or whatever). Then go to the panel side. Disconnect ANY four of the eight neutral conductors from the bus. The disconnected four neutral should now be "loose" on both ends. Pull them out. Now on the junction box side you have 4 white neutral conductors. There is no need to determine which pairs with which, they all came from the same bus. You decide which white goes with which hot there at the junction box. Once decided then stick with it "downstream".
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks. that is essentially what I did. worked out perfect. I found the 6 from the 12. the only difference from your original response is that I rigged a wire to complete the continuity from the JB since the conduit is PVC. worked great! THANK YOU!
 
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