Breaker tripping,locate short

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  #1  
Old 08-18-14, 05:22 PM
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Breaker tripping,locate short

Long story but I will attempt to keep it short.
According to the former residents they were using a blow dryer and it tripped a breaker,when they went and reset the breaker it sparked and it burned a portion of the wire below the box. A splice(and junction box) was added and yet the breaker continued to trip. At this point in time is when I begin to work on the problem:
The breaker itself is faulty,it will not reset even when power is off,an obvious mechanical failure.
However,there is an open breaker to which I attempted to attach the feed to the circuit,it immediately tripped.
I used a length of wire and 'jumped' directly from the box to the load end of the circuit,all lights and exhaust fans worked with no problem.
I have located one wire "end" that when connected always trips the breaker. My question is this:
Is there a way to trace/locate the wire that is shorting without buying an expensive tester?
The end that I have located is connected to an outlet,it obviously feeds the entire circuit but I have no way to trace it from the outlet backward.
Any help is truly appreciated.
 
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Old 08-18-14, 05:25 PM
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Sometimes the simplest quickest fix is to just run a new cable and abandon the old one in place.
 
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Old 08-18-14, 06:39 PM
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Problem is I can't locate the old one.
 
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Old 08-18-14, 07:42 PM
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You don't have to locate the cable just the ends of it. You know which end is in the breaker panel and:
I used a length of wire and 'jumped' directly from the box to the load end of the circuit,all lights and exhaust fans worked with no problem.
so you should know where the other end is. Just cut it as short as possible at both ends and shove into the wall. (That's what abandon in place means.) Then run your new cable from the breaker panel to the first working load.
 
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Old 08-18-14, 07:56 PM
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It may be an over-driven staple in which case you'd never find it.
Your only recourse is to run a new cable like Ray mentioned.

There is one piece of equipment that can be used and it will tell you how far from the end of the cable the short is. It's called a TDR (time domain reflectometer). A very expensive test meter.
It can tell you how far but not the actual location.
 
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Old 08-20-14, 03:53 AM
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Now I understand!

Thank you!
 
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Old 08-20-14, 05:02 AM
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Not knowing proper terminology I will attempt to clarify:
I believe there are 4 load points (?) on this circuit,first load point is a receptacle ,at this point I can disconnect a wire and receptacle and 2 lights function,(3 wires into receptacle one free) but no current to 3 other load points. When I "jump" past this junction (?) the other load points work individually but not collectively,as I see it the "3rd " wire is the source and junctions (?) with the other three points,but when connected it trips the breaker.
When I "jumped" past that first junction(?) I had all other loads disconnected and powered only the actual fixture.
That means I totally eliminated the circuit and had no hope of finding the other end of the problem wire correct?
My intention now is to again jump past the first junction and then begin reconnecting all other loads,my thoughts are that this will in a sense allow me to work backward and locate the other end of the offending wire.
I always shut down the main,make connections,and then re-energize. It may be overkill but I always shut down individual breakers first then the main and then reverse that procedure when re-energizing.

This should work correct?
Is there any danger that I have over looked?

There is an open/free breaker in the panel,I am thinking when I locate the correct junction I will simply run a new wire and eliminate one load point from this circuit.Would this have any effect on the breakers in place? Would I need to use a lower amperage?

I again thank you in advance for any and all help.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 06:53 PM
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Just wondering.........the wire that trips the breaker when connected...if I jump to a different load point the breaker will not trip,but the "trip" shows a full 120...what would cause this?
 
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Old 08-28-14, 07:03 PM
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Are we talking wiring at the panel or at a junction box...You need to explain that a little clearer.
 
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Old 08-29-14, 08:53 AM
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Wire C when connected at receptacle (1st point) trips breaker. When wire C is disconnected 1st and 2nd points function. With wire C still disconnected I can attach wire D, 3rd point and the rest of the circuit function with no problem, when I test wire C it shows a full current yet does not trip the breaker.
 
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