I'm trying to determine which circuits are controlled by
which circuit breakers on a sub-division home built in
Southern California in 1980. I want to minimize the process
of shutting off one circuit at a time and then walking
around checking lights and wall outlets. I'm hoping some
experienced house construction electricians can make my task
easier using the information provided below.
There are two black toggles, mechanically linked, with the
label 125 amps.
There are two black toggles, independent of each other, with
the labels 50 amps.
There are two green toggles, independent of each other, with
the labels 30 amps.
There is a single black toggle with the label 20 amps.
There are four red toggles, independent of each other, with
the labels 20 amps.
There is a single black toggle with the label 15 amps.
There are four blue toggles, independent of each other, with
the labels 15 amps.
There are cryptic handwritten letters (perhaps remnants of
faded words) like R, V, Fau, and DG next to some of the
Former slayer of dragons; practice now limited to sacred
From your post the only thing I can tell is that the panel was made by
Zinsco or Bryant. The 2-50 amp breakers should be tied together so they trip
simultaneously. They probably feed an electric range. The 2-30 amp breakers
should also be tied together. They probably feed an electric dryer. While
there are tools designed to make this process easy, I personally have never
been successful using one, so I just run around with a test light or radio
and flip breakers
radio is best.
do this when wife or GF isnt home to minimze complaints.
a buddy of mine added labels to every switch and outlet with a breaker
myself I would of written the number on the back side of the covers,
he put the labels on the outside, i think it looks tacky.
The 50 amp breakers, probably hot tub, or electric range. 30
is often water heater, or dryer. Either could be the outdoor
unit for the AC.
As to the others, the usual way to trace sockets is either
with a tracer (Harbor Freight, $20 or so). Or, you can plug
in a radio and turn it up loud. Go see which breaker turns
off the radio. As to the lights, having a buddy and a couple
walkie talkies is very helpful.
You're too lazy to hook up a light bulb and throw the switch.
You're gonna trust your safety...you're gonna risk DEATH
by relying on input from someone who has never seen your house???
You're gonna risk DEATH on ANYTHING you get off the internet.
NEVER, EVER, DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT believing a circuit is OFF
without TESTING IT, EVERY TIME, no matter what is written on the panel
and ESPECIALLY based on some input from the internet.
How stupid are you?
The guy was obviously just asking for advice on narrowing his search.
The size of the breakers is something that the average home owner does
not have to know.
You seem to think the OP was just going to label the panel without
doing any tests. It is smart to ask for advice. He has been given
good solid advice on how to narrow his search.
As the OP on this thread I'd like to thank Larry, RBM,
Hallerb, Stormin, HeyBub, and Metspitzer for your courteous,
rational, and constructive replies.
I was aware of the tracing techniques mentioned, but I don't
plan to use them until we return to Daylight Time, or there
is a local power outage. My home has 3 computers that are
always on, a dozen or more electric clocks and timers, and
several other electric devices, all spread over two floors
and a dozen rooms, that are a pain to reset twice a year and
whenever there is a power failure. By waiting until then I
can save myself one round of resetting.
The links to electric ranges, electric dryers, and hot tubs
are useful. My water heater is gas, and I don't have AC, so
those ideas aren't immediately useful.
I would put most of those on UPS, power failures and brownouts are
tough on computers.
UPSs are pretty cheap today, at least for short outages.
next power failure is the time to do all your testing, since you will
have to reset everything anyway
Computers not on UPSes? tsk, tsk.
seriously, I wouldn't be without one, did it for years but eventually
had to buy a new computer because the OS got corrupted due to constant
rebooting due to power dropping out for a few seconds all the time.
(I could have fixed it but it was old and not worth it.) If you
really leave your computer on all the time, it's a worthwhile
investment. (also, when I am working on the electric in a room with a
computer, I can just run an extension cord to another circuit, unplug
the UPS, plug into extension cord. Done.)
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