Tips for using Amprobe tracer?

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Cow

Senior Member
Location
Eastern Oregon
I've had an Amproble AT-2005 for a few years now, but never really traced much with it. Works great as a breaker locator, but actually tracing wire in wall, I'm not so good. What's the trick?

I've got a recep in an exam room that doesn't have power. This place is wired in romex and nail on boxes and I only have one cable in this box. I have no continuity between h-n, h-g, or n-g. There is continuity between the ground wire and an adjacent receptacles ground. I've torn this room as well as the adjacent rooms apart and cannot find where it's fed from.

So out comes the circuit tracer. I follow the instructions for tracing unenergized lines, by clamping onto the neutral or hot and I put the other alligator clip on the adjacent receps ground but it just doesn't seem to trace out as well as I like. I know these things have a learning curve, the more you use it, the better you get, etc etc. So I trace the wire in the wall for a couple feet straight up behind a cupboard and then lose it. I know what you're thinking, they ran a big screw through it installing the cupboards, but the cupboards aren't new, and this device just quit working a couple mos. ago according to them. So doesn't seem likely?

Long story short, I guess I'm wondering how critical the seperate ground is to making the tracer function correctly? Do I need to stick a screwdriver in the ground outside and run a ground wire out through window?

Plan B is to pull the cupboard off the wall, cut a hole behind it and peek in.

Plan C is to run another wire from a working device and refeed it if all else fails. I checked part of the attic but didn't see any obvious buried j-boxes.

Oddly enough, another exam room had the same identical problem a few mos. ago and that recep had to get refed.

Thanks for any suggestions!!
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
Since its Romex and you do have continuity on the ground, use the energized tracer with a 9 volt battery, one lead on the outlet ground your tracing, the other lead on one terminal of the battery, then take the other battery terminal to a remote ground. This will amplify your signal greatly, and help eliminate false readings.
 

Cow

Senior Member
Location
Eastern Oregon
BTW, it's a hidden tripped gfi receptacle that's causing your problem.
That's exactly what I thought when I saw the hot/neutral with no continuity. I just couldn't picture anyone putting a GFCI before this GFCI in an exam room. I expect this kind of stuff in homes with diy'ers on the loose, but not in a small clinic!:) Either way, I'll keep that idea in the back of my mind. Thanks for the tip on the battery, I'll have to give it a try! I remember reading something about that....
 
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