Tracing Electrical Wires

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  #1  
Old 08-25-05, 08:58 PM
loplo
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Tracing Electrical Wires

Hello All.

I am trying to find out if there is a tool I can use to follow electrical wires through my house. What i'm looking for is something I can plug into an outlet, etc and then follow that line through the walls and into the basement and back to the box. I'm trying to figure out what is connected to what, especailly with old plugs and switches that may be tied togehter.

Please Help!

thanks!
 
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Old 08-25-05, 09:42 PM
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If I understand correctly, you basically want to know which breaker controls what outlets and switches.
Here is how I did it .
First draw up a basic layout of your house, showing every outlet and permanent lights and appliances.
Second, turn on evrything you can.
Third, switch off the first breaker and see what quit working, You can use any 120V lamp or A C radio to check outlets where you don't already have something plugged in. On your drawing mark each dead spot with a # 1.
Switch the breaker back on and repeat with breaker # 2 etc.

It takes some time, but when finished, you will have a record of what is on each circuit, making any future trouble shooting much easier. When you can look at the drawing and see that a front porch outlet, a garage outlet and one in the basement are all tied to a single breaker, it makes it easy to trace problems.
 
  #3  
Old 08-26-05, 05:44 AM
loplo
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More complicated than just the breakers

Hi GoldStar.

thansk for the info, but what I'm really trying to do is sort out a mess of wires to see even more detail. I have lights linked to switches which then come out of the wall with a bunch of others. It's an old house and has been put together like a frankenstein body of electrical.

I'm trying to find a device which will let me follow the actual wires so I can tag them, etc.

Thanks,

Adam
 
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Old 08-26-05, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by loplo
Hi GoldStar.

thansk for the info, but what I'm really trying to do is sort out a mess of wires to see even more detail. I have lights linked to switches which then come out of the wall with a bunch of others. It's an old house and has been put together like a frankenstein body of electrical.

I'm trying to find a device which will let me follow the actual wires so I can tag them, etc.

Thanks,

Adam
I understand your pain! I, too, have a problem with awful wiring in my garage and interesting modifications to the house wiring. I actually found mapping the circuits as goldstar suggested very helpful. It let me know first off what was on each individual circuit. Then there were many trips to the attic seeing where the switch wires went and where they met.

I found some incorrectly wired three-way switches and overloaded circuits this way. There may be a fancy tool out there, but I find the visual inspection much more comforting. Hope this helps!
 
  #5  
Old 08-26-05, 07:10 AM
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bink

Loplo, there is such a device that you describe, somewhat. I have one in my toolbox and can't get to it at this moment. You plug the small sender unit into you outlet and then go the the breaker box, using the small reciever, place it against each breaker and it will tell you which one is connected to that outlet. I will look in my toolbox later and see if I can find it.
 
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Old 08-26-05, 08:04 AM
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Google on "tone generator"
 
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