Is there a circuit breaker locator tool that actually works?

I've got a Sperry CS-500A that is essentially useless. It is never able to narrow its detection to a single breaker.
Would appreciate recommendations for a better tool, if one exists. The budget is ~$100.
Thanks!
Frank
Frank Denman Denman Systems (please remove the x from my email address)
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i just plug a radio into the outlet or lamp i want to kill, and turn off breakers till i find the one I want,
for safety I intentially short any device before touching it just in case
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On Sun, 04 Nov 2007 16:55:52 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

That is not a good idea for hospital work. :)
We use a Greenlee circuit tracer at work. The trick, I learned, was to hold the sensor parallel to the buss.
To be really sure, after we locate the breaker, we have an apprentice plug a drill in the circuit and cycle the trigger. You can see the pulse with an amprobe.
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On Sun, 04 Nov 2007 15:44:12 -0800, Frank B Denman

I've used a few different ones. The GB Instruments Get-1200 I have now is the best so far, but...
I would say I get the right breaker on the first try about 2/3 of the time. Maybe 75%. If you have half inch breakers or duplex breakers, it's almost impossible to pick the right one with certainty, because they are both connected to the same leg within inches of the breaker.
It's a difficult technical problem. You are trying to identify very small differences in signal strength from breakers that are all connected together very close to where you are trying to measure. The only thing that gives you any chance at all is that every other breaker connects to the opposite side of the line.
HTH,
Paul F.
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If I'm willing to pull the cover off the breaker panel and probe individual wires, am I likely to have greater success? The CS-500A that I've got doesn't seem to get any luckier when it has access to individual wires......
Frank
On Sun, 04 Nov 2007 20:27:40 -0500, Paul Franklin

Denman Systems (please remove the x from my email address)
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On Mon, 05 Nov 2007 17:35:25 -0800, Frank B Denman

It helps a little..sometimes. If you've got a nice clean panel where the wires aren't all a rat's nest it can help quite a bit. But those are usually the panels that are well labeled to start with....
Paul F.
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My old reliable tracer was an analog Amprobe and a pigtail socket with a flasher button and a 100 watt light bulb. Plug the pigtail socket into the outlet you are trying to trace and clip the Amprobe over each wire in the circuit breaker panel until you see the needle jumping up and down. This works for the neutral conductor as well.
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This sounds promising. What specs should I look for on the Amprobe? Or can I likely get probe that runs off my Fluke 77?
Frank
On Sun, 4 Nov 2007 21:30:35 -0500, "John Grabowski"

Denman Systems (please remove the x from my email address)
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On Mon, 05 Nov 2007 17:37:06 -0800, Frank B Denman

Sure, you can get a clamp on current probe for your 77.
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Frank B Denman wrote:

Here's a cheap one: $13.00
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber308
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Years ago, you could get a light flasher module, that was popular with teens and parties. Could then plug in a 100 watt bulb, and a flasher. Use analog ammeter, and go find the black wire which is jumping in time with the music. I asked for a light flasher at Lowe's, and got a blank look.
I removed the X from your email. Did I get it right?
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"Frank B Denman" < snipped-for-privacy@denmansystems.com> wrote in message
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I've got one purchased from Home Depot for about half that amount; can't remember the brand at the moment. It seems to be able to narrow the breaker down to one of 2 or 3 on its own, particularly if you rotate the pickup head to its most sensitive position (either parallel or perpendicular to the breaker, again can't remember which).
Once you've narrowed it down that far, you just turn off one breaker and see if the audio signal goes away entirely. If so, you've found the correct breaker. (The tone generator is powered by the outlet it is plugged into, and produces a pulsing audio note - it's very obvious when it goes away even in the presence of other noise).
If the tone continues, try the next closest breaker till you find the right one. This does have the disadvantage of occasionally turning off the wrong circuit for a few seconds, but it's a lot better than going through the whole panel trying each breaker. And it doesn't require an assistant to tell you when the circuit goes off.
    Dave
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On Tue, 6 Nov 2007 20:39:10 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@cs.ubc.ca (Dave Martindale) wrote:

That is the trick. Learn to use it like it is supposed to be used.
You have to align it to the magnetic field the way it was designed to line up.
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