Circuit tracing help
#11
Question    
I need to separate the lines for three rooms at my church, the rooms are the ladies room, vestibule, and a classroom. They put room heaters in the ladies room and the classroom, which is more than the single circuit can handle. 

I traced seven of the eight breakers in the service panel to determine their loads, but I cannot find what one of the breakers powers. I've checked all lights and outlets to the seven breakers, can't find anything that isn't powered by one of them.

I went into the attic where the wires run, found the line for the eight breaker, but it just comes up from the panel goes through three joists, then goes down into the apartment area. It goes down through a tiled wall that separates the shower room from the vanity room, because of the tiles the induction tracer can't follow the wire. Thought it might go down into the church hall, but that would mean going through reinforced concrete and a corrugated steel ceiling, looked anyway and nothing is coming down from above.

My last thought, and I didn't have it with me today, is drilling a hole down from the attic and using a USB camera, but if there are any noggings then I'm screwed. Also, if it makes any turns into the neighboring studs then I'm equally hosed. Any ideas?
Mike

I work on the 50-50-90 rule: If there's a 50-50 choice, I'll pick the wrong one 90% of the time!
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#12
  Re: Circuit tracing help by Scouter (I need to separate t...)
1. if its not one of the circuits you're dealing with, then don't worry about it.
2. turn it off and leave it off until somebody complains that something doesn't work.
Janus was a disaster, coming or going - K. L, McReynolds 07/01/2015

My blog: http://wcwoodworking.blogspot.com/
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#13
  Re: RE: Circuit tracing help by crokett™ (1. if its not one o...)
(02-07-2019, 03:03 PM)crokett™ Wrote: snip . . .

2.  turn it off and leave it off until  somebody complains that something doesn't work.

Sometimes a person just has to know when to ask for help.

Sometimes it is difficult to get people to help you.

Sometimes you have to be "volunteered" to help.



Yes, get "everybody" to help you find the load on that breaker.  Turn it off.  Eventually "somebody" will tell you what the breaker protected.   Winkgrin
Know Guns. Know Security. Know Freedom - - - No Guns. No Security. No Freedom

Guns are supposed to be dangerous. If yours is not dangerous you need to take it to a gunsmith and have it repaired.
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#14
  Re: RE: Circuit tracing help by crokett™ (1. if its not one o...)
(02-07-2019, 03:03 PM)crokett™ Wrote: 1.  if its not one of the circuits you're dealing with, then don't worry about it.

2.  turn it off and leave it off until  somebody complains that something doesn't work.

On 1, I'm trying to load balance, if there is nothing (or little) on the line then this becomes the primary choice.
On 2, It could take a long time until everything in the church is used, since this is a heating issue I need to resolve it soon.
Mike

I work on the 50-50-90 rule: If there's a 50-50 choice, I'll pick the wrong one 90% of the time!
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#15
  Re: RE: Circuit tracing help by Scouter ([quote='crokett™' pi...)
(02-07-2019, 03:45 PM)Scouter Wrote: On 1, I'm trying to load balance, if there is nothing (or little) on the line then this becomes the primary choice.
On 2, It could take a long time until everything in the church is used, since this is a heating issue I need to resolve it soon.

I was being facetious.  Mostly.  I've been where you are several times.   I have a breaker in my house that's labeled but it doesn't control what it's labeled for. I have no idea what it does.  the two most reliable ways I've found to trace a circuit are:

1.  leave it off until you figure out what doesn't work.  this would be independent of the work you are doing.  or turn it off and then go flip every light switch and try every outlet you can find.

2.  hire an electrician.

For choice 1, it could be an outside light or something that you wouldn't necessarily think of during daylight.
Janus was a disaster, coming or going - K. L, McReynolds 07/01/2015

My blog: http://wcwoodworking.blogspot.com/
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#16
  Re: Circuit tracing help by Scouter (I need to separate t...)
Would this help (Free shipping started this week)?

http://www.leevalley.com/us/garden/page....0658,74759
Credo Elvem ipsum etiam vivere
Non impediti ratione cogitationis
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#17
  Re: RE: Circuit tracing help by Admiral (Would this help (Fre...)
(02-07-2019, 04:19 PM)Admiral Wrote: Would this help (Free shipping started this week)?

http://www.leevalley.com/us/garden/page....0658,74759

I have something similar, that's how I traced the outlets and lights. Problem with this is that I've accounted for all of the lights and outlets, at least the ones I can find. Somehow I need to trace the actual wires, and this isn't sensitive enough to pick up the signal through a wall. Thanks for the suggestion.
Mike

I work on the 50-50-90 rule: If there's a 50-50 choice, I'll pick the wrong one 90% of the time!
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#18
  Re: RE: Circuit tracing help by Scouter ([quote='Admiral' pid...)
(02-07-2019, 04:46 PM)Scouter Wrote: I have something similar, that's how I traced the outlets and lights. Problem with this is that I've accounted for all of the lights and outlets, at least the ones I can find. Somehow I need to trace the actual wires, and this isn't sensitive enough to pick up the signal through a wall. Thanks for the suggestion.

Is there any load on that circuit ?  If you have a Amprobe see if there is load and how much, may give a clue to what it servers.   If not turn that breaker off and place voltage tester between a known hot and the load side of the breaker that you turned off.  I prefer the solenoid type voltage tester as you will not get a false reading.   If you get a reading there is load.   The older cheap circuit breaker finders that you had to keep adjusting the gain down to find the breaker would find the wire in the wall if you let the gain up.  Don't know if it will work behind tile.   I don't know how good the circuit tracers would work behind tile either.  Roly
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#19
  Re: Circuit tracing help by Scouter (I need to separate t...)
I have a similar problem in my home (an antique). Although i have not traced them all yet, my approach has been to determine the breaker amp 15 or 20. Then think about local electrical code. Is there anything in any of those rooms that code would require a dedicated breaker? Then go on the hunt.
I have found that bathroom fans and GFI outlets are sometimes run on a dedicated circuit.

I successfully traced two circuits with this method through a mess of wires.

Hope this helped a little
PJ
Plympton, MA
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#20
  Re: Circuit tracing help by Scouter (I need to separate t...)
If someone mentioned this already, I apologize. But you could put an inductive ammeter on it to see if there’s a load on it.

If you want to monitor it long term, disconnect it, splice on a good cord with plug, and plug it into a Kill A Watt on another circuit. Make sure the cumulative values are zero, which it may do automatically whenever you unplug it but reset it if it doesn’t, then come back in a week and see how many kWh have accumulated. If any.

One advantage of the KAW is that if it’s reading a load, you can look at Power Factor (PF) and see if it’s less than 1.0. If it is, then the load is either a motor or something with a transformer, like fluorescent lights, or a power supply, like (maybe, since I’ve never tested one ) a computer. If it is 1.0 or very close, it’s a resistive load (like a heater) or incandescent light bulbs. Dividing W (watts) by VA (volt-amperes) gives PF. If the Kill A Watt is showing any load at all at the time you look at it, of course. It doesn’t accumulate volt-amp-hours like it does watt-hours, unfortunately.

If no watt-hours accumulate, consider seasonal loads, like roof/gutter heater or some office window air conditioner somewhere or a water tank heater or doghouse heater or something like that. Maybe even a small shed with security light that’s not on or burned out, where a single 120V circuit is common and may not carry current until it’s dark out or someone turns the light on.

Edit: Oooh, almost forgot - don’t forget fire alarm or smoke detector circuits. Exit signs. Stuff like that, since it’s a public space. Things like exit signs are so common that you may not even notice if they’re not lighted with the circuit off.
Tom

It's not what we don't know that gets us in trouble.  It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.











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