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Thread Pirate
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a big remodel and I need a good toner/circuit tracer to trace down a mess the other guy left. The last guy was not an electrician but he knew enough to be dangerous and I am at the point where I have to trace every piece of romex in a 4kSF house with three and four ways in just about every room. Honestly, I might be better off just starting over.

Would any of you be able to recommend a circuit toner/tracer that does not cost an arm and a leg? I need something I can put a tone on a line then go in the attic and trace it down to where it drops.

This is the kind of stuff I am finding in the walls, with no clue where the switch legs are going.

155469
 

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I have a big remodel and I need a good toner/circuit tracer to trace down a mess the other guy left. The last guy was not an electrician but he knew enough to be dangerous and I am at the point where I have to trace every piece of romex in a 4kSF house with three and four ways in just about every room. Honestly, I might be better off just starting over.

Would any of you be able to recommend a circuit toner/tracer that does not cost an arm and a leg? I need something I can put a tone on a line then go in the attic and trace it down to where it drops.

This is the kind of stuff I am finding in the walls, with no clue where the switch legs are going.

View attachment 155469
You can't trace those w/o a toner? All youneed is another hammer. There's probably 9 different hammers in your tool bag.
 

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I've got a fox and hound, it works good but you gotta practice with it to figure what to do
I've got a fox and hound hot wire. It's RF based, so you have to watch if you have a lot of wires close together it can jump wires. BUT I can do live circuits with it, which is super handy.
 

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Back before tracers, we used an extension cord, a male cord cap and a desk lamp.
Cord cap had two wires hanging out of it.
Turn off every breaker in panel if possible.
The cord cap was wire nutted to the wires you were trying identify then plugged into the extension cord, or if the receptacles were still there the cord was plugged straight into the receptacle.
The extension cord was run outside where you could see it from the panel.and the lamp plugged in.
Start turning breakers on then off, one at a time, until the lamp lights.
Note breaker and mark wire.
One man job, inexpensive, time consuming.
If you plan on staying in the business, I would recommend buying a tracer.
I've used a Tasco that could trace conduits underground, under concrete, above ceiling tiles (without removing tiles), up to 480 volts, nice but a bit pricey, $400.00.
Plenty of good ones on the market for 120 volt operations.
 

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Wow. That first picture was all i needed to see.... tear it out and do it right.

I don’t know what tracer would do the job for that, but I’d also be worried about finding something to take care of all the anxiety and stress that comes along with that job! Ugghhhhhh
 

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Open all of the splices.
Make a map of the house
Trace out each piece of rope
Assign each cable an alpha numeric
Install boxes as needed.

it’s not as bad as it looks.
The more you get labeled, the less the unknown become.
By noon on day one, you should be more than 1/2 done.
By the end of the day, all should be identified and your receptacle boxes mounted and spliced.
Second day, all of the simple switches complete, multi-gang boxes figured out.
Day three, switches complete, lighting tested.

Do not pre- twist your splices.
 

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Open all of the splices.
Make a map of the house
Trace out each piece of rope
Assign each cable an alpha numeric
Install boxes as needed.

it’s not as bad as it looks.
The more you get labeled, the less the unknown become.
By noon on day one, you should be more than 1/2 done.
By the end of the day, all should be identified and your receptacle boxes mounted and spliced.
Second day, all of the simple switches complete, multi-gang boxes figured out.
Day three, switches complete, lighting tested.

Do not pre- twist your splices.
The advice to not pre-twist is very wise. I have regretted many times that I made up a beautiful splice wrong.
 

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It looks like your ceilings are still in place. I would start with marking all your switch legs. Then ID your travlers and move on to your circuits and be carful not to mix up your neutrals.
A good circuit tracer is not that cheap and the cheap ones don't work that well. I think you can figure most of it out with a meter or tonner.
Greenlee CS-8000 - Circuit Seeker works good but even at a mid range price it's too expensive unless you use it a lot.
I have not had an opportunity to use the fox and hound but the price is very reasonable and would probably be your best value.
 

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Cut


I found this on a job a couple years ago. Contractors told me they were taking a couple walls out and would leave the wires hanging for me.

I took note of which breakers were off.
Flipped them back on.
Would find one circuit at a time. Flip it off and label all the cable’s jackets with what breaker turned it off and if it was a power line or switch line.

I used a circuit breaker locator like you see in the photo with the alligator clips that let you attach to any terminal, plus a multimeter.

There was some crawling around in the attic too. I like to get a fish stick and shove it through the bored hole in the 2x4 plate up into the attic so I can find it fast when I get in the attic.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Cut


I found this on a job a couple years ago. Contractors told me they were taking a couple walls out and would leave the wires hanging for me.

I took note of which breakers were off.
Flipped them back on.
Would find one circuit at a time. Flip it off and label all the cable’s jackets with what breaker turned it off and if it was a power line or switch line.

I used a circuit breaker locator like you see in the photo with the alligator clips that let you attach to any terminal, plus a multimeter.

There was some crawling around in the attic too. I like to get a fish stick and shove it through the bored hole in the 2x4 plate up into the attic so I can find it fast when I get in the attic.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Ughhhhhhhh........... that gives me the shakes just looking at it!
 

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Back before tracers, we used an extension cord, a male cord cap and a desk lamp.
Cord cap had two wires hanging out of it.
Turn off every breaker in panel if possible.
The cord cap was wire nutted to the wires you were trying identify then plugged into the extension cord, or if the receptacles were still there the cord was plugged straight into the receptacle.
The extension cord was run outside where you could see it from the panel.and the lamp plugged in.
Start turning breakers on then off, one at a time, until the lamp lights.
Note breaker and mark wire.
One man job, inexpensive, time consuming.
If you plan on staying in the business, I would recommend buying a tracer.
I've used a Tasco that could trace conduits underground, under concrete, above ceiling tiles (without removing tiles), up to 480 volts, nice but a bit pricey, $400.00.
Plenty of good ones on the market for 120 volt operations.
I do this with a amprobe and flasher. Let load flash and find it you dont have to turn thing off and on. Pigtail needed for lights or flasher button
 

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Thread Pirate
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Open all of the splices.
Make a map of the house
Trace out each piece of rope
Assign each cable an alpha numeric
Install boxes as needed.
This is how I spend my days now. My cheapo Klien tracer sort of works.
Today I discovered the separate garage has its own panel tapped off a gutter at the service, and all the landscape lighting is fed from it, only all the switching is located in the main house and there are three ways at every exterior door for the landscape lighing. Imagine my confusion after turning the main breaker for the house off and still finding energized circuits.
 

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you cannot assume the old wiring was correct, learnt that lesson the hard way
domestic wiring for a qualified electrician is generally easy to trace
do they have a PV system ?
 

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Thread Pirate
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
you cannot assume the old wiring was correct, learnt that lesson the hard way
domestic wiring for a qualified electrician is generally easy to trace
do they have a PV system ?
No PV. I got on top of it last week. It was not right and took some time to sort out but it's right now and my business card is taped on the cover of the panel, so I own it now.
 

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Ok broke down and bought an Ideal Suretrace. Still learning how to use it.

Cant spell... sigh.
I avoid using them whenever possible. It’s more art than science. Def read the destructions though if your not the type that normally does. Good luck and have fun with the learning curve.


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