What tool for tracing?

pinocchioSeptember 9, 2006

I could use such a tool that would put a tone on a power line and allow me to trace it within wall, and find opens. While there Âs plenty available for phone and data cable, I only found one for power cable and I couldnÂt afford the box it comes in.

I just wonder what the best compromise is between cost and effectiveness. Seems like a good tool for the toolbox but I would never have enough use for a pricey one to make it worthwhile


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I use a telephone/data cable device. The original use of this device is to trace pairs in a phone cable but it works pretty well tracing NM-B in walls. The signal drops off pretty rapidly when the wire turns or one conductor is open. If you play with it a bit with visible wire you can see how it behaves on the hidden stuff. The receiver will also pick up a 60HZ hum if in the vicinity of a hot wire and this also helps a bit. Can't use the transmitter on hot circuits at all.

Seems like both the blue place and Homer's sell these for around $50.00. I like them because the transmitters and recievers can be bought separately if one gets damaged. Not as good as my high dollar locater but works pretty well in walls, ceilings may be iffy. The price is right, so is the size.

The next step up is something like Ideal's Sure Test circuit tracer, which works extremely well on both hot and dead circuits - - at about $350.00. Of course, if you have spent the better part of a day looking for a problem the $350 is pretty reasonable :)

Glad to see you're still stiring it up!


    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 7:54PM
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UNK! Thanks for the reply. IÂve gotten so busy, I donÂt even know who lurks here anymore. I keep my spot warm on the Plumbing Forum nowadays. More room for potty jokes there.

I bought a G-B tracer at LoweÂs  $35  but when I finally tried to use it, I realized it was way too puny, and got a refund. The electrical guy there, used to be a telephone guy, so we talked about the Ideal unit ($90) and he had me sold on it. But I see it, too is only for data line. Will shutdown at high voltage.

While waiting for a reply, I found a unit called the Tempo 508S. It sells for about $250, online, and that is my upper limit, because, IÂm not an electrician. But as a handyman, when I do repairs, it would really help to know the wire paths in Âold work situations. And it ought to find plumbing and heating, too.

Tempo® was Progressive®; and bought by Greenlee®, which seems to be Textron® now. So, I think this is serious equipment. But, I think I have to have it. Now, I just wonder if it will perform well enough. I canÂt get the Big Box Store 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on this item.

Tempo describes this item :
" For technicians who occasionally need to locate buried or in-wall wiring but don't require all the bells and whistles of a high priced cable locator."

Since IÂve never used one, IÂd like to be sure I understand. Seems like a person can establish the tone, and not only find the wire paths, but find an open, since the signal should stop or change character at that point.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 12:16PM
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I was hoping to draw some more discussion about this product. I guess, I donÂt know what the manufacturer means about the "bells and whistles." Except for signal strength, are there features that a person would want that the Tempo wouldnÂt have? Seems like this is a tone generator and a variable sensitivity probe. What else can there be?


Here is a link that might be useful: The Tempo 508S

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 10:04AM
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Did you end up buying the Tempo? How does it work? And, would you recommend it?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 10:11AM
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well gee, it's been a couple of months now. either pinocchio got shocked to death, or fell into the toilet. either way, tombijak shouldn't be kept waiting much longer splinter-beak.
ps. www.testersandmeters.com

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 10:26PM
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Pinoke got banned again. See here

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 9:36AM
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i was given project on to trace a power line 33kva, gang insulator and pot insulator, please in your advice and answer.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 9:41AM
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