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Tracing wire in wall

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  • Tracing wire in wall

    The new addition to our house involved a lot of new wiring. The box for the switch on the rear porch has a feed wire coming from the electrical source and a wire going to the ceiling fixture.

    I should actually say that the feed wire supposed to be coming from the electrical source. We can't find the other end of this wire. Unfortunately the walls were all finished, painted, moldings in place when we discovered this.

    The other end of this wire that starts at the switch box may be hiding coiled up somewhere behind the drywall, it may have been accidentally cut inside a wall or it may be going through a junction box, not connected.

    I tried to trace the wire using a wire tracer I have, but this device was designed for telephone wires and the signal can only be picked up by actually touching the outside of the wire, it does not radiate outside of the walls, so I had no luck.

    Any suggestions of how I can trace this wire and what equipment is needed/available to do so would be greatly appreciated.
    Frank sigpic

  • #2
    Re: Tracing wire in wall

    you'll need to get a "Toner" If your local Homedepot or Lowes doesnt have it you'll have to go to an electrical wholesale. It should be around $70 and have 2 peices to it. One looks like a wand witha speaker in the back and And the signal generating part has a catv, tv(coax), and two alligator clips. If i could remeber the brand I'd tell you. I will be getting one in the next couple of days.
    "Diplomacy is saying nice dodging until you can find a rock." Will Rogers
    "If a Monkey can do your job, are you in the right profession?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Tracing wire in wall

      I do have that, as I mentioned in my original post, however that device was designed for telephone wires and the signal can only be picked up by actually touching the outside of the wire, it does not radiate outside of the walls.
      Frank sigpic

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      • #4
        Re: Tracing wire in wall

        You will need something like this...

        http://www.web-tronics.com/prcltoprkit7.html

        I've used this for the same situation. Just make sure the power is dead before you connect the toner to the wire...

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        • #5
          Re: Tracing wire in wall

          Unfortunately we are going in circles. That is exactly the device I have and tried to use. It was designed for telephone wires and the signal can only be picked up by actually touching the outside of the wire, it does not radiate outside of the walls.
          Frank sigpic

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          • #6
            Re: Tracing wire in wall

            Then either you have a different unit or it's defective, because I have the Progressive Electronics tone and probe kit and I've used it to trace a Romex cable from the attic through the walls to a bedroom. It will pick up the tone from several feet away. The closer you get to the wire, the loader the tone gets. Also, you have to ground one connection on the toner to get a strong signal through the wire.
            It could also be that you have a shorted cable close to where you are connecting the toner.

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            • #7
              Re: Tracing wire in wall

              My unit is a 77HP toner with a 200EP receiver. Do you have a different unit?

              And the wire is not shorted, I checked that already.
              Frank sigpic

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              • #8
                Re: Tracing wire in wall

                Same unit I have. Are you turning the amp sensitivity up on the probe?
                It should pickup a tone from a few feet away from the toner...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Tracing wire in wall

                  if you are trying to to track eletrical wireing through a house the easy way to do it is a EMF meter no probes or any of that just start at the source and move to the end of the wires to the termination point.
                  American by birth. Canadian at heart.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Tracing wire in wall

                    I am not sure I understand your suggestion. An electromagnetic field (EMF) emission tester would pick up the electromagnetic field from a wire that has current running through. You are also suggesting to follow this wire point to point.

                    If I knew where the wire was going, I would not need to trace it. It goes into the wall and we have no idea where it goes from there. And there is no connection to it, at least there is no measurable voltage present on it, so there will be no EMF field surrounding it.
                    Frank sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Tracing wire in wall

                      Frank

                      Being there is no electricity flowing through the wire you're very correct about the electro-magnetics. Is there a good ground connection near one end of this wire? If yes, you could connect up a very low power radio transmitter to the wire and to ground and then use a special receiver. Another idea might be to rent or borrow a metal detector, but chances are there's other metal items inside your walls that would cause problems. Can you take a good guess at where both end of this wire might be? If yes, you could try shutting off all the power in your place and connecting a D cell (flashlight battery) to one end the wire and to ground. Then using a DC Volt meter connect one lead to ground and touch the other to all the wires in an electrical box. If I can find some info, I think you might have luck with "The Fox & Hound" tracer kit. I'll add a link to this post if I can find the info on it.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Tracing wire in wall

                        Originally posted by Woussko View Post
                        Frank

                        Being there is no electricity flowing through the wire you're very correct about the electro-magnetics. Is there a good ground connection near one end of this wire? If yes, you could connect up a very low power radio transmitter to the wire and to ground and then use a special receiver. Another idea might be to rent or borrow a metal detector, but chances are there's other metal items inside your walls that would cause problems. Can you take a good guess at where both end of this wire might be? If yes, you could try shutting off all the power in your place and connecting a D cell (flashlight battery) to one end the wire and to ground. Then using a DC Volt meter connect one lead to ground and touch the other to all the wires in an electrical box. If I can find some info, I think you might have luck with "The Fox & Hound" tracer kit. I'll add a link to this post if I can find the info on it.

                        This is what you're talking about?

                        http://www.lashen.com/vendors/triplett/fox_hound.asp


                        The Progressive that he has does the same thing - in fact better, since it's the HP77 is a high-powered toner.

                        This is turning out to be more complicated than it needs to be. As I said, I have used the wire tracer to locate Romex in walls and it's worked great. I don't know what you are doing wrong
                        Perhaps you have the sensitivity knob turned to the lowest setting and it's not picking up the signal from a distant.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Tracing wire in wall

                          Volume knob is all the way to 9
                          Frank sigpic

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                          • #14
                            Re: Tracing wire in wall

                            This is very puzzling...

                            Just for kicks, I just now tried my toner and the probe set to 9 picks up the tone (along with some 60Hz hum) from half way across the room.

                            Let me ask you this - is your house wired with standard NM (Romex) or is it conduit/MC ?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Tracing wire in wall

                              Romex 14/2. White plastic covering, one black, one white and one bare copper wire inside. 5/8" drywall on 2X6 studs.
                              Frank sigpic

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