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    Signal or Wire Tracer

    Can anyone suggest a signal/wire tracer that I can use to follow wires both in a structure and up to three feet underground without paying a fortune?

    #2
    past discussions

    Several discussions on this in the past. Try 'wire tracer' under search option.

    Good hunting.
    Howard

    "You don't know the character of a man until there is not enough." Dr. Jack Letts, MD

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      #3
      Thanks! I'll take a look.

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        #4
        The amount of 'fortune' you pay is somewhat related to how well the device will perform and what it will perform.

        If you leave out the ability to locate underground wires I think you will have a larger list of possibilities at smaller fortunes.
        I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

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          #5
          Originally posted by czars View Post
          Can anyone suggest a signal/wire tracer that I can use to follow wires both in a structure and up to three feet underground without paying a fortune?
          I've used one that was intended (I think) for both uses. I would have one for each. The one I used was so powerful (needing to push through several feet of dirt) that it induced it's tone on just about everything else, rendering it fairly useless indoors.

          I'd get a $40 one for indoor use, and then see what I needed for the undergrounds separately.

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            #6
            Originally posted by czars View Post
            Can anyone suggest a signal/wire tracer that I can use to follow wires both in a structure and up to three feet underground without paying a fortune?
            I use several, depending on how well they work.

            (1) There is a Gardner-Bender that places a chirping signal on a hot 120V circuit, which can be traced towards the circuit breaker panel. Useful for tracing LIVE circuits only, and will identify circuits at the circuit breaker.

            (2) There is a ABS data-comm chirper like the telephone techs use. Pretty good. Useful for tracing DEAD circuits only. There is an art form to using a tracer like this, going past the instruction manual. Grounding to a legitimate 'ground' reference is something that must be 'learned' by experience and there is room for playing.

            (3) There is the Amprobe AT-4001 I got from Licensed Electrician .com which forces a 32KHz signal on a Hot-or-Cold circuit (working on less than a hot 600V AC), and I have been able to trace from 20 feet through air, through walls, and several feet underground. There is an art form to using a tracer like this, going past the instruction manual. The AT-4001 has a 10-step LED receiver display which is very useful, as has both level selection and gain control on the receiver. The transmitter has signal level selection. You should note that Grounding to a legitimate 'ground' reference is something that must be 'learned' by experience. But, when there is a proper ground reference, this device will trace through walls, floors, across ceilings, and can show the dead-end of a broken line. The AT transmitter works Live-or-Cold circuits, switching modes automatically. The transmitter works both DEAD circuits and LIVE circuits (up to 600 Volts). The receiver has both the voltage and current modes switch selectable to match. It has been lots of fun, has been tricky, and forces you to learn the art form. The art form must be learned by practice. But, it will trace the un-traceable.

            As I said,
            there is an art form to using a tracer,
            going past the instruction manual.
            Practice and an open-mind are required.
            These devices only provide indications, and signal-levels.
            They Never provide the 'answer',
            which is where the experienced electrician comes into the game.
            With the AT-4001, I have traced unknown circuits through walls, conduit, under floors, across ceilings, live-and-unenergized.
            Sometimes I have laid out 80' of line to tap a ground rod or cold water pipe.

            There is no magic to Circuit Tracing,
            there is an art form that must be learned,
            and that is where the experienced electrician comes into the game.

            Good luck
            Last edited by glene77is; 12-26-10, 01:53 PM.
            Glene77is, Memphis, TN. .....Electricity.is.Shocking.....׺`_

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              #7
              Thanks to GLENE77is for the insight. Like most significant activities, there is almost ART involved.

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