Tracking hot wires inside walls

Is there relaible device that can track hot 110V wires inside sheetrocked walls? Where can I get it?
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I have a stud finder that will find wires. I've never done a controlled test under varying conditions, but it seems to be very reliable for what I've used it for.
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Sasha wrote:

Zircon mid price range stud finder, not the most expensive, not the chaepest ~$30?
Home Depot
It will find hot wires but I'm not totally sure of the reliablity. I use it for studs but I see the AC voltage indicator light up at appropriate locations.
cheers Bob
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You don't say whether you want to find just any (or all) hot wires versus finding a hot wire for a particular circuit (or particular outlet or fixture). In the first case, some cheap stud finders and inductive hot wire detectors will usually work. I use a GB hot wire detector that can be bought at HD or Lowes or OSH for around $15. They won't work well if there is sheet metal in the wall (foil-backed insulation for example). If you want to find particular hot wires, it's a whole different proposition. You have use a signal injector/detector set. The really good ones go for a few hundred $.
Sasha wrote:

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Sasha wrote:

YES, they do make one. It finds/detects ONLY hot wires. It's mainly used to check voltage at electrical boxes, outlets, and etc., but it will detect through paneling and sheetrock.
It's called the Greenlee Voltage Detector, Cat. No. 1110 and can be purchased at HD/Lowes in the electrical department.
J
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I use a telephone pickup plugged into a Radio Shack amplifier ( cheapo box around about 2.5"x2.5"x 1" powered with a 9v battery) It works best if the circuit is loaded with a high wattage appliance such as a space heater.
Turn the volume high, a loud 60Hz buzz is heard over the speaker when the telephone pickup head is over the wires.
John

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I beleive I have the same tester and it only rings when you move close to electrical box. I tried to scan entire wall with known hot wire behind itand it didn't give any signal.
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Question: The wires within the wall were alive; but you could not get any indication; right? Was the test tried when there was current 'flowing through the wires' to some appliance/device etc. plugged in further down the circuit? Reason I ask is because I have once or twice been able to detect certain wiring location (using something that draws quite a few amps, such as a hair dryer/heat gun etc. = 12amps. 2 115 volts) not something lightweight (such as 40 watt lamp bulb = 0.3 amps) using a small powerful hand held magnet and feeling the vibration caused by the significant amount of AC current flowing through the wires! In some cases it seemed that even though the two wires carrying current, hot and neutral, are very close together and their respective magnetic fields will thereby tend to cancel, there is enough difference between them to detect in certain cases.
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Stan wrote:

You must be wearing your tinfoil hat for this method to be effective.
--
Art

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"Artemis" wrote...

Nope, the hat doesn't matter, as it's a method that will work even through the tinfoil. The foil would block the electrostatic field from the cabling (which would be negligible for 220V 2-phase power, anyway), but the electromagnetic field from the long narrow single-turn solenoid (the two phases or the phase/neutral pair) will pass through the foil (whether a hat or plasterboard backing) just fine - with a strong enough magnet, you'd be able to feel the vibrations alright, a search coil would be even better.
Dave H. (The engineer formerly known as Homeless)
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The Greenlee is a good tool, and only $15 or so. But it generally won't detect through paneling and sheetrock. You have to press it right up to Romex to detect a hot. It will also buzz hot on neutral wires that are connected to the panel. Keep a regular (neon type) voltage detector as a backup. With these drawbacks in mind, it's still pretty good and a lot easier to use (one hand operation, no chance of shorting a live circuit) than a neon detector. Buy both, they're cheap.
--
Jedd Haas - Artist - New Orleans, LA
http://www.gallerytungsten.com
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On Wednesday, April 26, 2006 12:15:31 PM UTC-4, Sasha wrote:

I use my hearing aid actually. It is MUCH more reliable than a stud finder. I have proven it with a contractor. I was closer to the wire than the finder. I was off by MAYBE an inch at the most, whereas the finder was off by 3 inches, sometimes more.
Just find a deaf guy! :)
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