circuit tracing

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Old 03-06-03, 01:20 AM
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circuit tracing

is there a way to trace circuits to see which breaker controls what outlet without shutting it off? If so, what kind of test equipment do i need and is it hard to use.
thanks,
Joe
 
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Old 03-06-03, 05:34 AM
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many companies make circuit tracers. they are easy to use. for the most part they consist of a transmitter and a probe(receiver). the trans usually plugs in to an outlet, or connects to wires with alligator clips. then the probe is run over (without touching) the breakres in the panel. the breaker that gives the loudest and biggest signal (on a scale on the probe) is the breaker that controls that circuit. i'll check into price and get back to you w/ what i find.
 
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Old 03-06-03, 05:42 AM
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Ideal sells a couple of testers that would probably fit the bill. they are: model 61-052 $60 Identifier kit
model 61-055 $70 circuit breaker finder
i found these items in an indust supply house catalog(Grainger)cause it was handy, you could check by you with these model #s and hopefully find what you need. BTW Ideal is a good name for electrical testers.
 
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Old 03-06-03, 06:46 AM
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Post Big box stores have them

HD sells tracers made by Sperry for $29.97

Go here..... http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS...tOID=100009260
Click on testing instruments and then on specialty testers
 
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Old 03-06-03, 08:58 AM
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Why are you opposed to turning off the circuit breakers to make such a determination?
 
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Old 03-06-03, 01:47 PM
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mcjunk, i cant turn off the breakers because computer equipment is on them, once i determine which breakers they are on, i can control a shut down and move them to the conditioned power panel.
 
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Old 03-06-03, 08:06 PM
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The circuit tracer I have at work states not to be used with computers on the circuit because it can cause interferance to the computers! Just a tought
 
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Old 03-07-03, 05:51 AM
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There are two ways I can think of other than using a circuit tracer to determine which breaker the receptacles are on. Both methods will require removal of the panel cover.

#1. Visually follow the wiring all the way back to the panel. I am assuming you are working in a commerical environment (with a drop ceiling?) and can follow the circuits back to the panel and see which breaker the wire is attached to. The wiring for the receptacles would come out the top of the walls and into J-boxes.

#2 If you have a meter with an amprobe (jaws that clip around wires to read amount of current passing through), you can plug and unplug a controlled load (say a 100W light bulb) into a receptacle on the circuit and measure the wire attached to each breaker until you find the one that shows the amperage change. In my example above (100W/120V = .83 amps). You would see about an amp of fluctuation every time you turned the bulb on and off. This is basically how a circuit tracer works. A circuit tracer sends a pulse onto the circuit which is read by a sensitive probe that is touched to the breaker. Before circuit tracers were invented, in a situation such as yours (i.e. office environment) electricians would build a tracer using a light bulb with a "flasher" that would automatically pulse the bulb on and off and could be plugged into a receptacle. The electrician would then go to the panel and then use his amprobe to check each circuit until he found the "pulsing" circuit. Your situation would require a manual pulsing of the bulb (an extra person).

Your situation may not be feasible for the above methods. However, if I needed to figure out the circuitry as you require AND could only buy one tester - I would buy a multimeter with an amprobe because it is much more versatile than a circuit tracer.
 
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