Identifying The Circuit Breaker At The Panel

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Old 04-02-14, 09:13 AM
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Identifying The Circuit Breaker At The Panel

I was considering buying a Circuit Breaker Finder, but then Ideal told me if I plugged their transmitter into a non-working outlet, it wouldn't work because the transmitter signal needs to go piggyback on the circuit signal.

What methods do you all use to find the breaker at the panel? I assume there's a power off Circuit Breaker Finder, but guessing it's a lot more expensive?

What I have been doing after I figure out which breaker it is... remove the HOT and Neutral from the breaker, then hook-up Fluke Networks Pro 3000 (handheld)
Tone Generator & Probe in order to identify all the outlets on the circuit. Then I plug in a 3-prong circuit tester (with the three lights indicating OPEN Neutral, Open HOT, HOT/Ground Reverse, etc.) on each receptacle on that circuit. Then I determine where best to start looking first, according to the pattern of ON or OFF, or partially lit testers I observe.

Better methods gladly accepted!
 

Last edited by plumducy; 04-02-14 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 04-02-14, 09:34 AM
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What methods do you all use to find the breaker at the panel?
I use a tone generator when I'm faced with wiring that I can't get power on. Otherwise, I use my Circuit Breaker Finder and, when needed, my wiring adapter from Klein.

I assume there's a power off Circuit Breaker Finder, but guessing it's a lot more expensive?
Yes. The last time I checked the least expensive one with decent quality was somewhere north of $600.
 
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Old 04-02-14, 09:49 AM
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I was posting while you were replying evidently. I use the tone generator also (I edited that post), but how do you ID a breaker at the panel if there's no power in the outlet you want to plug into with your tone generator? Maybe I'm just not thinking and realizing that there is always at least one outlet on the bad circuit that does have power? If there weren't, then just look for the first outlet from the breaker or bad connection at the breaker? Yes? No? A relative beginner here, so I might not be understanding exactly what you were saying ( or what I'm what I'm saying for that matter!)
 
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Old 04-02-14, 09:57 AM
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The $40 breaker finders work on energized circuits. A Fox and Hound toner will work on de-energized circuits. They are about twice that price or more.

A long extension cord can be used between receptacles to check for continuity if you have a multimeter. Looking at the layout will also help visualize the circuit. You could also turn off all the other breakers except the one you suspect powers the circuit to see what is not part of that circuit.
 
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