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Old 03-07-2009, 03:23 PM   #1
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Default Open versus close circuit tracers

I'm currently looking to purchase a circuit tracer and can't decide whether the closed, open, or both are the right one to fit my needs. Anyone know the major differences are between the two? The features listed on Greenlee's 2007 and 2008 are almost identical.

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Old 03-07-2009, 04:27 PM   #2
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open = de-energized

closed = energized

I would buy a tracer capable of doing both, but if I had to choose between them, I would rather have a tracer for live circuits (closed).

You can use a standard tone generator (data guy tool) for dead circuits if need be.

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Old 03-08-2009, 05:01 PM   #3
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That's what I thought also, but the features list say each one operates on energized and unenergized circuits. I just found this to be confusing. I do have a tone generator so live circuits are really what I'm after, just couldn't decice if the open tracer had more features that I might "need" someday.
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:44 PM   #4
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Yeah, I was wrong. After doing a little bit of searching I have found that an open circuit is one where current can't flow and a closed is where current can flow. Check here and read the instruction manual, it explains the concept, although I have to admit I still don't really understand.

Hopefully someone else who knows will step in here and explain.

I use my circuit tracer all the time and it works great (Amprobe, not sure what model) but I couldn't tell you if it works on open, closed, or both. I would assume both because it has never failed me yet and I use it on all types of circuits, but I don't know for sure.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:15 PM   #5
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The above post got it right. Basically, an open circuit tracer only works on circuits that are broken, or not capable of carrying a load. It can be an energized wire (although this is rather unusual) or a de-energized wire. A closed circuit tracer on the other hand, only works on a complete loop circuit. This is typically a live circuit in the real world, but could be a de-energized shorted circuit also. The Greenlee 2007 REQUIRES the circuit to have voltage on it because the transmitter does NOT have a battery. So while it will work on a dead shorted circuit, the user needs to wire some sort of voltage in series with the transmitter and the circuit to be traced. A battery for example can be wired in series to allow tracing the wire to find the point of the short.
A tracer that does both is the most efficient way to go, but second to that, the closed circuit tracer would be the next most practical. Typically speaking, the open circuit tracer will be the most limited choice.
Hope that helps.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:55 PM   #6
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Thanks a bunch! I'm thinking one of the new Ideal tracers is the way to go. A tad expensive but if it works it could really save a lot of time.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:02 PM   #7
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Good luck...I haven't used the Ideal, but it seemed a little on the "less than robust" side for the money. Greenlee just introduced a new model CS8000...looks pretty nice. You might check it out....hard to beat their lifetime limited warranty on their test instruments.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:23 PM   #8
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I have used both the Ideal tracers and the Greenlee. I prefer the Greenlee, it seems to be more accurate.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:17 PM   #9
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If you do troubleshooting or need to find breakers on a live circuit in an office building ,This is a must have tool. I have the greenlee and love it. It was expensive (I think around $600) but you will get plenty use out of it. I love how you can trace the wire's path right through the wall.
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Old 04-01-2009, 07:42 PM   #10
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Try taking a look at the Greenlee 2011, it works open or closed. I've used tracers by Amprobe, Ideal (really didn't like the ideal stuff), and various toners. For tracing power circuits the 2011 is the best I've tried so far.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:55 PM   #11
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Default Greenlee CS-8000

I met with a Greenlee rep today and found out that the new CS-8000 is really just the replacement for the 2011 with newer features. They'll be phasing the 2011 out next year. I was told that the CS won't trace wires underground and has a real hard time with concrete (especially with rebar). I'm leaning towards Ideals Suretest as the video claims it works well for underground (in ideal situations) tracing. Has anyone ever used it for this as I would rather just buy one unit that does it all.

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