Circuit tracer recommended

I have a 20 yr old Greenlee circuit seeker purchased for about $400. It still works but need a second one for my employee. I was hoping an electronic item like that would have gone down in price. Mistaken! Ideal brand is even higher than Greenlee. I saw a new Mastech brand on eBay for $149. Anyone know about this brand ? ( Ideal brand starts at about $800. ). Any recommendations? Trying to save money. We need one to find cables in walls and buried cables. Thank you.
 

oldsparky52

Senior Member
I don't have a recommendation other than in my experience cheap is usually not the best value.

And, just because it costs a lot doesn't mean it is good (I guess that's why you are asking here, huh?). :)
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Something with signal gain control (which your 20 YO Greenlee likely has) is very helpful. Especially when you have signal on multiple conductors and need to narrow it down to which one has strongest signal.
 

Fulthrotl

~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
I have a 20 yr old Greenlee circuit seeker purchased for about $400. It still works but need a second one for my employee. I was hoping an electronic item like that would have gone down in price. Mistaken! Ideal brand is even higher than Greenlee. I saw a new Mastech brand on eBay for $149. Anyone know about this brand ? ( Ideal brand starts at about $800. ). Any recommendations? Trying to save money. We need one to find cables in walls and buried cables. Thank you.
the money saved will be spent in wasted labor with a device that doesn't work well.
most stuff under $300 doesn't work well.

the good ideal ones are the IDEAL INDUSTRIES INC. SureTrace 61-959 at $1,600
had one i didn't need, sold it on here a while back. industry standard

or... the amprobe pasar 326-B or 326-C
this hasn't been redesigned in 30 years.

the B and C varients are the same. amprobe
bought austin wrights design of the pasar 30 years ago,
and left it unchanged. it was $900 30 years ago when i bought my first one.

fluke bought amprobe, and in typical flukerism, changed nothing but the price,
raising it to $1,600.

it is currently on amazon for under $600. i have no idea why. they have 12 left.
if i didn't already have one, that is what i'd buy in a heartbeat. it's marked limited time pricing.

it's about the best one on the market. they haven't changed the design since 1986 for a reason
 

StarCat

Senior Member
Location
Moab, UT USA
There is something to be said about time tested designs. The original " cheap " but reliable unit was named " Breaker Finder." Since they are now gone, I would lean towards the higher end devices mentioned above. ALL lower end units I have tried are plagued with bad electronic design. The most common design flaw being that they will tone on a shared neutral, and just otherwise are about useless.
Extech and low end Amprobes I have found to be in the bad engineering group and not advised. I found a good used Breaker Finder Set on Ebay to replace one that died after 20 years use.
 

ramsy

Owner/Operator
Location
LA basin, CA
Occupation
Service Electrician 2017 NEC
fluke bought amprobe, and in typical flukerism, changed nothing but the price, raising it to $1,600.
Forgot Pasar Amprobe 326C at service call. Next day, sent pictures of missing tester, with box open & closed. Never got it back.

Next year, forgot my expensive Ideal tracer at same client. They called me to come get it within 20 minutes.

The more it hurts, the better we get at remembering our tools. Probably left Amprobe in attic.

Employees can't lose tools like this and be trusted. If not self-employed, I would have fired myself several times over.
 
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Fulthrotl

~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
i didn't mention this one, as it's a bit overkill for most folks, but if you need to tone out a panel, nothing else comes close.

https://megadepot.com/product/tasco-inc-cmt42ds-42-circuit-mapper-system?format=v&p=ms&source=ads&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIzo6k-e7J5AIVuSCtBh2UJQ8WEAQYAiABEgKfcvD_BwE

you clamp a itty bitty CT on each wire in the panel and turn it on.
then you walk around with a probe, and touch a wire or put it in a blade slot,
or a lamp socket, or a wire in a box, and it tells you which wire it is.

if you have to identify an entire panel, this will pay for itself in two days.
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I have an older Pasar on the shelf. IDR when it was last used. We use a Progressive Electronics Tone generator and receiver for the light weight stuff and switch to an Ideal cable locator and fault locator for the buried. The Progressive are fairly new. Ideal is newer than the Pasar but not by much.
 
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