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Whats the best circuit tracer for the money?

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    Whats the best circuit tracer for the money?

    Am not looking to buy one of the expensive ones.

    #2
    It's not possible for members to respond in the member's trading area, so I moved it here for the sake of discussion.

    Underground? In-wall? At the breaker?

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      #3
      Originally posted by Eddy Current View Post
      Am not looking to buy one of the expensive ones.
      Then get a bulb flasher, a pig tail socket, 100W bulb, and your amp meter.

      While your using that set up save enough money to by an Amprobe.
      If Billy Idol is on your playlist go reevaluate your life.

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        #4
        I recently bought one from Big Blue for $40 or so. You plug it in to a receptacle, then take a wand to the breaker panel. It's worked pretty good so far, I've used it 8-10 times now with good success. It didn't come with one, but I think I'll buy a lamp socket to receptacle adapter to use on light fixtures. Not bad, but limited.

        I suppose I could cobble up a receptacle with alligator clips to use on conductors. One drawback is that the circuit has to be live, but if it's not live then you can just use a regular tone tester.

        Pictured below:

        Click image for larger version

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          #5
          Originally posted by ActionDave View Post
          Then get a bulb flasher, a pig tail socket, 100W bulb, and your amp meter.

          While your using that set up save enough money to by an Amprobe.
          I am looking for a similar solution.

          Are the flashers still available? It seems like these are becoming hard to find.

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            #6
            Originally posted by MD84 View Post
            I am looking for a similar solution.

            Are the flashers still available? It seems like these are becoming hard to find.
            I personally have not used the flasher method, just heard about it and it makes sense. I have used my heat gun and/or a drill in a similar fashion.
            If Billy Idol is on your playlist go reevaluate your life.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Eddy Current View Post
              Am not looking to buy one of the expensive ones.
              "Whats the best circuit tracer for the money?"

              and you might as well buy a cheap one,
              the cheap ones all work about the same...

              if you want a good one, then the amprobe 326-B has been
              one of the best ones for about 20 years now.
              don't look at what it costs. you don't want to know.

              i've got two good ones, and am getting yet another good one
              this next week. some of them are better at something than other
              ones, and you don't have a golf bag with only one club, unless you
              are lee trevino.
              ~New signature under construction.~
              ~~~~Please excuse the mess.~~~~

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                #8
                Whats the best circuit tracer for the money?

                A good thinking brain is the best circuit tracer!
                ... a 'thinking' electrician can beat any tool .
                ... a 'dead' electrician can not draw a paycheck .

                However, to answer the posting,
                Over my 58 years, I have used :

                (1) a "neon" bulb + resistor in a screwdriver. Have four from my apprentice days in the 50's. These have been a lifesaver.
                Normally a safe "one hand" direct contact voltage tester. The other 'hand' (wire) is your body in the electric field.
                Can even do a comparative test 'hot-vs-neutral' on Knob-n-Tube lines
                ( where there is no ground ) and the conductive soot makes all the attic joists 'tick' hot.
                Frequently you can differentiate between a 'bright' hot wire and a 'not-bright' phantom voltage wire.
                My favorite at 120/240, is one where I installed a 1MegOhm resistor to make the neon burn brighter, used on 120V/240V nothing higher.
                My testor ( at 1MegOhm ) pulls 120 MicroAmps ... which will 'bite' on 440 ( so don't use it on higher voltages) .

                (2) a festoon light socket with pig-tails . I used a 15W 240V bulb, wrapped with duct-tape to help prevent breakage. Only for 120/240V circuits.

                (3) Most frequently now, I use a 'ticker' with a gain control and the automatic test turn-on beep. Non-Contact. Greenlee, $20.

                (4) Sometimes I use a Klein (Wiggy style) which will not burn-up if the circuit goes 'hot' during a continuity test.
                Worth its $40 price, but I have had to repair over-flexed breakage in the two cords leading to the two probes.
                Last time I added six inches of nylon flex wrap to make the cords less flexible near the base.

                (5) Have brought my o'scope to check multi-channel ( 3 phase ) waveforms to see what is really happening. Another story.

                (***) ALWAYS, I look twice at the situation, only probe the conductors I should be probing,
                and put my left hand in my pocket so I am not accidently 'dead'.

                Think About Your Work ... and you will Live Long.
                Glen Ellis,
                Glene77is, Memphis, TN. .....Electricity.is.Shocking.....׺`_

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