identifying a electical circuit

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The nice electricians that replace the knob and tube in my house removed all the labels I had on the panel.
What can I use to identify the circuits for the baseboard heaters and plugs and light?
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Test light and marker pen works for me
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*A helper comes in handy. Some pros and homeowners use a radio plugged into the outlets. A floorplan could be useful.
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I like to use a new Sharpie (r) marker.
--
Christopher A. Young
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snipped-for-privacy@uvvm.uvic.ca wrote:

HF has a circuit breaker detective:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber–934
I've got one and it works as expected.
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On 8/3/2009 5:31 AM HeyBub spake thus:
>

Same here. Works fine.
I made one modification to correct a design defect, though. If you use the receiver (the detector part) as-is, the battery (9 volt) will go dead in no time flat. So I added a small slide switch on the front cover to turn it off when not in use.
--
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism

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snipped-for-privacy@uvvm.uvic.ca wrote:

Someone else to tell you when the device goes off while you turn individual breakers off. Make a list for all the outlets, lights, heaters, and other devices, then label the breakers appropriately.
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Do not enlist your significant other for this project. Things will not go well.
Get a friend/neighbor/total stranger - someone who will not hold a grudge after the yelling and screaming starts.
Trust me.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

A pair of cheap walkie-talkies can help.
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on 8/3/2009 4:51 PM (ET) Bob F wrote the following:

There is also a tool that can help. Circuit Detective (http://www.circuitdetective.com /). One part plugged into a outlet, and the other part passed over the circuit box.. It will beep when the outlet part is discovered. It can be used for a light fixture if a light socket to outlet adapter is installed in the light socket. Usual disclaimers apply.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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A pair of good walkie talkies can allow you to communicate.
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Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Or, these days, a couple of cell phones.
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Make it more challenging! Start at 10pm (after dark). Turn off all the lights in the house, then turn off all breakers. Turn them back on one at a time and have the helper run around the house with the tester trying to find the outlets that are energized! (might want to move any breakables out of the way!)
wrote:

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Oh, that's a pussy thing to do. Have the helper turn the breakers on and off, one at a time. Half second on, half second off. You run around the house in the dark (no flashlight allowed) with the walkie talkie. Report to the helper what's turning on and off. Then, he can turn on and off the next breaker, while you run around.
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On Aug 3, 3:53 am, snipped-for-privacy@uvvm.uvic.ca wrote:

I built an Excel spreadsheet detailing the inner workings of my breaker box since I have rooms/areas that are controlled by more than one breaker. Putting all the correct info on a little label next a breaker would be impossible. I have entries such as:
Breaker 9 - Garage receptacles except for Breaker 10. Not garage lights. Breaker 10 - Dedicated freezer receptacle in Garage Breaker 11 - Garage lights, exterior lights for front door and garage door Breaker 15 - NW bedroom plus upper landing light
I put the sheet in a plastic document holder and taped it to the breaker box. Updating the sheet is a breeze when I make a change, add a receptacle, etc.
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On Mon, 3 Aug 2009 12:44:49 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

North lighting N Lite West power W Pwr Makes it easy enough to find without getting too detailed.
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...except when W Pwr is controlled by 2 or more breakers and/or some W Pwr is inside the house, some is external.
For example, I've got dedicated circuits that I ran for computers in bedrooms so the curling iron//lamp/stereo doesn't crash the system. If I've got 4 outlets on 1 breaker and 1 on another, I have to be detailed.
Breaker 9 - West Bedroom Power just won't cut it, but
Breaker 9 - West Bedroom Power except Breaker 10 Breaker 10 - West Bedroom Power, South East corner only
tells me what I need to know about that room.
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On Tue, 4 Aug 2009 04:59:36 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

Yeah.....or 09 W pwr 10 Mstr Bed Computer
It is not rocket surgery. :)
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Feel free to stop over and check out my actual breaker box layout. You'll see that it is no where as simple as you are trying to make it. The house was built in 1956 with just a few fuses and some shared neutral circuits. Over the years, the upgrade to breakers, the splitting of circuits and the addition of new circuits, overhead lights, etc. have resulted in rooms with multiple circuits that don't fit into a simple N-S-E-W, 1st floor, 2nd floor pattern.
There's also a serious hazard associated with your suggestion.
Let's say the Mstr Bed Computer is on the W side. A user, wanting to kill the power on the W side of the house, reads the Breaker 9 label (W pwr) and says "That's what I'm looking for" and shuts it off. Now he thinks the west side is dead because there was no indication on the *Breaker 9* label that there are other receptacles on the west side of the house that are not on that breaker. Sure, he could read every label to make sure he got the entire west side, but is just as easy (and safer) to point it out on the sheet entry for Breaker 9 so that there is no question.
Besides, how do I know there will always be a computer plugged into that outlet? Noting the location is much better than noting the use, except obviously for cases like "bathroom exhaust fan". The dedicated GFCI I installed for the fish tank in the living room years ago now powers the flat screen and sound system. It's always been labeled as Living Room - North Wall, never as Fish Tank receptacle. It's also mentioned (by breaker number) on the listing for the breaker that controls most of the first floor as an "exception". (see listing examples below)
My simplest entry reads: Garbage Disposal
My most complicated reads: Basement, First Floor, Second Floor Landing Light, Front House Lights - Exceptions: See Brkrs 1-7, 17-19, 22, 24-26
This cross-referencing takes care of dedicated receptacles for microwaves, computers, *fish tanks*, etc. when they are on the same floor/same wall as a number of other receptacles controlled by different breakers.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Start out by numbering the breakers on each panel. Allow for expansion of the panel isn't already maxed out. On a sunny day, turn off all breakers except for the main and one load. Then search around for anything that has power. Make a note of which circuit the load is on. If the cover plates aren't painted in place you can note the circuit number on the inside of the plate -- or even on the outside if aesthetically acceptable. Then keep a list or chart of what load is protected by what breaker.
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