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Discussion Starter #1
If there is such a thing as a "basic" circuit breaker finder, can it (or any other tester) identify a breaker from only the hot wire or is the neutral needed also?
I have never seen a breaker finder, but was thinking of buying one.

I asked this particular question because I am semi-frequently faced with tracing a circuit to find a shorted or absent neutral connection, and wondered if a breaker finder would work under those conditions.

Thank you for any replies and help,
 

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DGR,IABD
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Man... I don't know of one. Even if it was a de-energized circuit, you'd still need at least two good conductors to use a fox and hound type tracer. I know you could do it with one conductor with an underground tracing rig if you set the sensitivity way down, but now you're in the thousands of dollars. For a circuit without a neutral, I tend to use a non-contact voltage probe held on the conductor by the helper and a set of two way radios and start flipping breakers. If you're in a commercial setting, you can't really use that method without getting run out of the place. If you must find the breaker, and the neutral is absent, .... err ... I hate to suggest it but we've all done it... hard short it to ground and the breaker will declare itself.

Best I got.
 

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I hate to suggest it but we've all done it... hard short it to ground and the breaker will declare itself.
:Thumbs: Yep that'll find it in short order, you have the helper do that too? :Thumbs:
 

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Electrical Contractor
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I have an Ideal breaker finder. It is a simple standard plug in tester with the three LED's and a GFI tester. But it also is the sender for the handheld beeper you run down the breakers to find the one feeding that circuit.
I know there are cheaper ones, although this one was not too bad, but I'm not sure if this one is still made.
 

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Electrical Contractor
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I can't say for sure but I would guess it would. As long as the ground is intact.
Actually Ideal does have a couple of different versions available. I noticed today my supply house has two different ones on the rack.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks again,
The two electrical supply houses in my area dont seem to sell very many tools, so I looked for one today a Lowes and Home depot. There I found a few differant models but the info on the outside of the packages only talks about how great and simple they are. There is no instructional or how-to info that I could find on any of the packages that would answer my question about working without a neutral.

Thanks,
 

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Wow, this is an "oldie" thread. I have noticed that there are three breaker finders (that I know of); Ideal, Sperry & Hi-Tech. They all are in the mid $30 range & all have a transmitter that plugs into the outlet & a receiver that you wave over the breaker box once to program & the second time to locate the right breaker. Any body here know if one works any better than the others?
Steve
 

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Baltimore Electrician
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I use this one - not very fancy, but has worked fine for me on single phase panels.
I also have the accessories that you can get (not shown) where I can screw it into a lamp socket, or a set of alligator clips.
 

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Oops, you are right once again MD. Oh well, it was the only breaker finder post on the whole Forum. It is amazing how you have not aged in your photos from 2005 to now & not a whisker hair is out of place. Ha ha, I know that is not your photo.
I have found several more brands of breaker finders since yesterday. The technology seems similar, but I'm sure at least one of them stands out as being more reliable.
Steve
 

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Electrical Contractor
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I think this may be what you're looking for, I know it's on my list of things to try. Google Greenlee model 2011 circuit tracer.
 
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