Test device & wire connector

globe199March 1, 2010

Two questions:

I'd like some sort of test device where I can plug something into a receptacle, then trace the exterior of a romex cable to find which cable connects to that receptacle. Does anyone make such a device that doesn't cost $500?

Second question: what is the official name for the plastic wire connectors used in lieu of wirenuts, and what is the general opinion on them? Thanks.

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globe199

I should clarify. The device I'm looking for is not the one that traces from the receptacle to the breaker. I want to be able to trace in an arbitrary point anywhere along the circuit. There's a bunch of messy DIY wiring in my house and I'd like to find what goes to what.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 12:29PM
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texasredhead

All of the fixtures in the house are wired to the circuit breakers where they receive power so to my knowledge you cannot do what you want to do. Are the breakers in the panel marked as to what they cover? When we do a service upgrade and install a new panel and breakers we turn everything on in the house and go through the breakers one at a time marking each breaker as to what it covers.Of course we know from the start what breakers do the furnace, and A/C. We find out what breakers cover what receptacles by using a proximity tester.

Why do you think there are problems? Are there receptacles that do not work? Do any of you breakers ever trip?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 3:41PM
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globe199

I don't have any problems, per se. I want to separate some circuits because I feel there are too many rooms/devices on certain circuits. So if I could say, "This romex leads to this receptacle," I could cut the cable and tie a new circuit to it.

Does that make sense?

p.s. Why I am I needing to log into this site practically every time I post a new message??? It never seems to save the cookie, even though it offers to!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 4:12PM
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Billl

I'm not sure something like that exists, but I'm pretty sure it would not be cheap if it does.

It is pretty easy to make a circuit map of your house. Just turn off the breakers 1 by 1 and check to see what goes off.

Once you know what outlets/lights are on a circuit, it is pretty easy to determine what order things are connected in. Just turn the circuit off, go to an outlet, disconnect the live out, turn the power back on. Everything downstream of what you disconnected will no longer work, but everything from that outlet back to the breaker box will. If you do that in a couple places, you should get a good idea of what the overall circuit looks like.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 5:16PM
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brickeyee

A regular circuit tracer with a sensitivity adjustment (my old Ideal one had this) can be used to follow cables.

Just as the signal from the sender unit is strongest over the correct breaker, it will be present outside the cable feeding the outlet the sender is plugged into.

Someone gave me a tracer with no sensitivity adjustment, and the thing is almost useless.
It will pick up multiple breakers besides the correct one.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 5:21PM
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globe199

"Just as the signal from the sender unit is strongest over the correct breaker, it will be present outside the cable feeding the outlet the sender is plugged into."

That's exactly what I meant, and probably should have initially asked that question. If the tracer can work at the breaker, it ought to work along the cable.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2010 at 5:34PM
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wired_lain

Amprobe makes wire tracers that are supposed to work well, but they're spendy. I think their cheapest model is around $350. A "fox and hound" set like the phone guys is a lot cheaper and may be adequate for your needs. You can't use it on live wires, and its range is pretty limited, but it may be good enough for you.

I think the connectors you're asking about are called Wago Wall-Nuts.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 10:49AM
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globe199

Thanks. I'll start a new thread on the wallnuts.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 11:10AM
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