Circuit Tracers: Not Just for Tracing Breakers

Electronic RepairsThe most common use of a circuit tracer is pinpointing which specific breaker is supplying a given 120 volts load. However, did you know that circuit tracers also have other uses apart from finding a breaker?

  • Locating Wires – Utilizing a circuit tracer, also called a circuit breaker locator, you could eliminate the need for locating wires manually, which is an approach that’s both error-prone and time-consuming. In addition, you could even locate wires hidden in ceilings, walls, cable trays, underground, raceways, as well as other hard-to-reach areas.
  • Tracing Shorts for Grounding – Let’s say breaker trips and it can’t be reset. You probably have a few minutes to sort it out before the production team comes calling. While you could try to manually sectionalize the feeder wiring, this is extremely time-consuming, so what do you do? Reach for a circuit tracer to locate the fault. Following the directions in your manual, clip the transmitter at the circuit breaker and walk the length of the raceway with your detector until you find the signal disappearing. There you have it — the location of the ground fault.
  • Detecting Insulation Leakage – Let’s suppose that the network you’re servicing is down probably because of lost signal from the main cable. You could easily remedy this if you find the exact spot where there’s damaged insulation. You just have to use a circuit breaker locator and another power source beyond the one that came with the transmitter. Check your unit’s manual for specific instructions on how to go about this.
  • Tracing Dead Circuits – Let’s say that a client asked that you get rid of unused cables and wires or dead circuits from a very confined and hard-to-reach space. Your men get there armed with drawings from the clients and gets rid of everything and not only the unused cables and wires. Take note that actual installations and drawings could significantly vary and usually do. However, if you utilize a circuit tracer, you could easily map out the drawings provided by your client to demonstrate where the actual wires are.

It is crucial to note, however, that like all test instruments, circuit detectors also have their limitations. However, they also offer distinct benefits that will enable you to take advantage of limited resources like labor hours and troubleshooting ability. This could essentially translate to an increase in profits and potentially higher revenue.