Testing circuits

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  #1  
Old 12-07-05, 07:48 AM
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Question Testing circuits

I thought I had seen somewhere a two part device. One part would connect to the breaker on your panel, the other you could plug into outlets. This would help determine which outlets are on the circuit. I can't seem to find it now. Am I going nuts? I am looking for a simple device so I can check how my house is wired to what breaker.

Thanks,
Neil
 
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Old 12-07-05, 07:54 AM
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Found them. Now, anyone have experience with any brands? the one I found was not really highly rated.

Thanks
Neil
 
  #3  
Old 12-07-05, 08:22 AM
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I applaud your wanting to properly identify what receptacles, lights and appliances are on each circuit. This is something that EVERYONE should do shortly after moving into a new house or apartment. Not only is the information invaluable when there is a problem, it can save your life in an emergency.

I have no direct experience with the devices you are discussing. I have heard that some of them are not as accurate as they could be, and that they get you close to the actual breaker. Personally, I donít see them as having much value for your task, rather I see them as being better suited to trying to identify a single circuit's breaker, so that you can avoid turning off other circuits. For your task you will be turning off all the circuit breakers anyway, so using the device may not save any time.

I suggest that you get someone to help you. Turn on every light in your house and all other devices, such as televisions, radios, etc. The idea is that you want something plugged into as many receptacles as you can. Then one by one turn off a breaker and identify what no longer works. This will involve not only walking around and looking/listening for devices no longer on, but also probably moving one or more portable devices from one receptacle or another.

Keep in mind that circuits are likely to be grouped. For example it is much more likely that all the receptacles in one bedroom, for example, will be on the same circuit, rather than one circuit serving one receptacle in each bedroom, and another circuit serving the second receptacle in each bedroom, etc.

While doing this job donít assume anything. Just because two or three receptacles in one room are on the same circuit, donít assume that they all are. They may not be. A receptacle on a common wall with another room MAY be wired with that room's receptacle.

When you are all finished, make yourself two charts. One will be numbered from 1 to your highest circuit breaker number. Next to the number indicate everything on that circuit breaker. The other chart will be a floor plan of your house, one plan for each floor level. Indicate on the floor plan each receptacle, light or appliance, and indicate what circuit breaker number controls that location.

It is time consuming, but when you are all finished, you will be glad that you did it.
 
  #4  
Old 12-07-05, 08:40 AM
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Thanks for the reply. I was just thinking that the circuit breaker tester might make it a little easier since I live in a 4 story townhouse!! That way the wife could walk around and plug the transmitter into the outlets while I am in the garage with the receiver, checking the breakers. Either way, with 4 stories, it will take a little time. But I feel it is something that needs to be done, especially if I decide to start tinkering with adding lighting, etc.

Thanks,
Neil
 
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