Trace path of Cat5 network cable inside home


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Old 05-21-14, 07:19 AM
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Red face Trace path of Cat5 network cable inside home

Hi,

I have a Cat5 network cable whose path I would like to trace inside walls and floor. Walls are stone and floors are tiled. The cable is inside plastic conduit that is embedded a couple of inches below the surface. The wire run should be under 200 feet.

After a bit of googling, it seems that a tone generator should do the trick. My questions are:

1. Will tone generators be able to detect such a wire (depth of 2 inches, conduit, cement, etc)?
2. Can you point me to a model. Please appreciate that I will probably only use it once.

Thank you
Alan
 
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Old 05-21-14, 09:48 AM
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Trace path

If you have two computers, one with your internet connection from your provider,and another one(maybe a Laptop,you could connect one end of the CAT 5 line on the first computer,and the other CAT5 end of the line on the Laptop,and you should be able to see if they are connected. This way you will not have to spend money on a tone generator.
Good Luck!
 
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Old 05-21-14, 12:19 PM
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Tomononi I seriously don't know what made you think he needed to know if two ends connected. He said very specifically that he needs to find the PATH of the cable through the house.

You will not be able to 'trace' its path through the house with a tone generator. They don't work like that. The tone does not 'leak out' of twisted pair cable along its intact length - the receiver can only pick it up at a cut end. And it definitely won't find it behind concrete/tile/whatever. There is no way to do it.

Why do you need to know where it goes?
 
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Old 05-21-14, 01:04 PM
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Old 05-21-14, 01:13 PM
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To clarify, I know where one end is I want to find out the path it follows through the house. If I had access to both ends I would perform a connectivity test.
 
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Old 05-21-14, 01:23 PM
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That's a tone generator, Ray. It won't work as I said above. It might help you find a cut end behind half an inch of drywall, but it will not pick up anything along the cable's intact length. Fox/Hounds are designed to locate a specific cable/pair/jack among many in a wiring closet, not to trace the path it runs. Utility companies are able to trace underground cable and pipe because it there is an antenna wire in the cable or pipe specifically to radiate the tracer signal. Cat5 doesn't have that.
 
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Old 05-21-14, 04:04 PM
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Never used a F&H. Was just going by the limited on line searching I did.
 
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Old 05-21-14, 06:45 PM
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I have been able to trace the general path of cable behind sheetrock, plaster or wood floors with a tone generator but 2" of stone + PVC pipe is probably a lost cause. The way I do it is to short all eight conductors together and connect only one alligator clip from the tone generator. This will give maximum tone radiation. When you connect to a single twisted pair, the twist is designed to attenuate signal leakage.
 
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Old 05-21-14, 06:58 PM
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Depending on how important it is to trace it, a cable locating tool should work, though they aren't cheap. You may be able to find a company who can do it inexpensively since it should be quick and easy since it's only a few inches buried.

Not exactly a DIY solution, but it is a possibility.
 
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Old 05-21-14, 10:43 PM
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The way I do it is to short all eight conductors together and connect only one alligator clip from the tone generator.
That method will yield the least positive results.

To do basic cable tracing when the cable is in a bundle you connect to two different pairs. Connecting to only one pair yields next to no signal at all.

I use a hi power injector/amp that I built for this use but it won't help you there. I also use a directional loop for pickup. Works great as long as there are no AC lines nearby.

You are going to have to locate an electrician that has an underground tracing system like Z mentioned.
 
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Old 05-22-14, 08:15 PM
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Fill conduit with water, use divining rods to follow the water! In all seriousness, if you absolutely can't fine another solution, I wonder if you could have someone use an air chisel or something along those lines to rattle on the conduit. Then you MIGHT be able to listen for a vague sound to follow said conduit.
 
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Old 05-22-14, 09:04 PM
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You'd need something like this Greenlee Model 501. I have one but live in Texas. They run a few hundred dollars. The standard office telecom toner/amplifier set won't work.


 
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Old 05-23-14, 08:27 AM
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Plan "B": If you have a good relationship with one of the installer from your cable provider,they might be able to help you out.
More than likely they will have the proper tools to trace your cable.
My local Brigthouse installer is very helpful, and he has cooperated in the past with some minor problems,I had in the past.
Which cable provider do you have? Where are you located?

Good Luck
 
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Old 05-23-14, 04:59 PM
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I don't think his ISP will help him trace the wires. He's not in the US. It looks like he's in Malta. European houses are solid stone. It's not the same as tracing wires through a stick house.
 
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Old 05-24-14, 01:37 PM
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One time at work we were trying to trace some pvc at a school that another crew had installed.
I was smoking a cigarette and blew some into the stubbed pipes and POOF! suddenly a box had smoke pluming out of it. From then on I'd get calls once in awhile when my boss had to locate a pipe: "Hey Nick, come smoke."

And if you have pvc with your cable going into it, then in theory there should be another pvc pipe elsewhere with cable coming out of it. Have you looked around your modem for more pvc?
 
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Old 06-11-14, 01:24 PM
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Actually Matt, (whether it actually works or not notwithstanding) according to the product description, it will do what the OP wants to do. The product description states that it is for locating wires that are in walls/underground.

That said, I agree that chances are it won't work, as it just looks like it would be way too underpowered to be effective.
 
 

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