Trace wires


Old 02-27-16, 04:34 PM
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Trace wires

Hello everyone. I'm trying to zero in on what type of tone tracer I would need to figure out where a few wires go from some mystery outlets. Our house is about 30 years old. There were some old yard lights and exterior radio that have since been removed. There are two switches by both exterior doors that have wires going to them but they don't power any plugs (top or bottom) or any lights. I want to trace the wiring to the old yard fixtures and radio for new exterior lights and what not but don't know where the wires are called off. A friend suggested a tone tracer but they all seem made for data/phone u less I want to pay out the nose, which I do not. Assuming I turn off the breaker to this switch, am I then safe to alligator clip the wires and trace them or is that unsafe/guaranteed to burn up the tracer? Are there any tracers you might suggest from say, Amazon that work well for wires in walls? Thank you in advance.

Edit - a volt meter indicates a reading of 00.6 when set on VAC/200 with the breaker on.
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Old 02-27-16, 05:04 PM
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Toners that work on energized wiring are quite expensive. I use the Triplett Fox and Hound 3 which works well for wiring, but can only be used on de-energized wiring, not live circuits.

It takes some fooling around and practice to get reliable results using any toner, because the signals can couple between wires that run close to each other even if they aren't directly connected.

You may want to start by identifying which circuit breakers control every outlet and light in your house, because that can often give you clues. And it's handy information to have in any case. Helpful to have two people to do the mapping.
Old 02-27-16, 05:27 PM
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a volt meter indicates a reading of 00.6 when set on VAC/200 with the breaker on
Almost certainly a false reading due to using a cheap digital multimeter. An analog would probably show zero (even a cheap one) because of its low impedance.
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