Selecting a Circuit Tracer on Amazon.com
A circuit tracer is a device for locating electrical circuits in walls and floors and for identifying circuit breakers. Sometimes called a circuit breaker finder, a circuit tracer can associate the correct circuit breaker with a particular electrical outlet. Circuit tracers generally have two components: a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter plugs into an outlet or receptacle under test and sends a signal along the wire. The receiver is a handheld device or probe that identifies the associated breaker or fuse with an audible or visible indicator, such as a buzzer or flashing light.
Circuit tracers and circuit analyzers can also help locate shorts, ground faults, blown fuses, broken conductors, and other problems in concealed wires within electrical systems, so that technicians can make repairs. Wiring problems can generate heat and sometimes lead to electrical fires, damaging wiring, equipment, or structures.
Factors to consider when choosing a circuit analyzer include the voltage range of the circuit to be tested, the sensitivity required, and the maximum distance within which the transmitter and receiver will operate. The voltage range of a circuit tracer or analyzer will vary; some are rated for 120V or 240V circuits, while others can be used with circuits up to 800V. Some tracers have adjustable sensitivity that helps identify the location of breakers or wiring problems. The transmitter-to-receiver distance some devices can support may be only a few feet, but for some analyzers, the distance between the transmitter and the receiver can extend up to four miles for closed circuit tracing processes.
Circuit tracers and analyzers may measure additional factors such as frequency, impedance, ground-neutral voltage, or voltage drop. Some analyzers can measure the length of a cable or the distance to a fault. Others may test ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) or equipment protection device (EPD) circuit breakers for proper operation. Circuit tracers and analyzers are commonly used by electricians to install, maintain, and troubleshoot electrical systems. Manufacturers include Ideal and Greenlee.