Locating Circuit Breaker(s)???

As a result of two major renovations and an upgrade to 200A service it seems that the handwritten identification of circuit breakers is quite incorrect.
Finally I decided the time has come to identify them and label them correctly for easier location when a particular circuit needs to be switched off.
I tried one of the cheapie circuit breaker wands from HD and needless to day it didn't work very well at all and was returned. I then searched the internet and finally purchased a GB Instruments GET1200 Circuit Tracker pair. It seemed to offer a cord mounted wand with a narrow pointer connected to a receiver with about 12 LED's for signa strength and it appeared I was all set to go.
This morning I actually had to change a ceiling fixture so the power needed to be cut. Great! I plugged in the separate transmitter in a wall outlet in that room and went to the basement with my receiver and cord mounted wand. Boy - was I read to solve all my electrical problems.
Unfortunately, the received indicated that EVERY circuit breater in the main box was "THE ONE" I was looking for. The audio and visual indicators couldn't have been stronger. There's got to be something wrong. Finally I removed the transmitter module from the wall socket in the particular in question and to my surprise, still each breaker was indicated "The One". I think there must be some serious interference causing this.
So, does anyone have any experience with the product and in eighther case, are there any electricians reading that can elighten me as to why there is so much interference?
What was going to be a rather simple task has now turned disappointing and troublesom.
Thoughts???
Thanks
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To sort out breakers in a panel I use a high tech device, a radio! Plug it into the outlet, turn it up so you can hear it in the mechanical room and start flipping breaker untill it goes off. Same with light fixtures, but I have a light socket adaptor to plug the radio into. I have been on construction sites and seen electricians do the same! One electrician commented a simular experiance with the high tech circuit tracers, he claims a loud radio has yet to fail him! Greg
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On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 14:46:40 -0600, "Greg O"

Wow! Thanks for all the "great" ideas. Looks like I may have wasted my $$$ and the radio trick or assistant is the best way to go. I was hoping to be able to "scientifically" solve this situation.
Oh well... maybe my son-in-law, a new home owner, might not mind getting a "circuit tracker" in his Christmas stocking!!!
Thanks again - all.
Bob
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I have done pretty much the same thing except I took one of those old buzzer type doorbells and matching transformer and mounted it on a piece of wood with a long cord and lightbulb adapter. Plug it in, and turn off breakers till it stopped buzzing. On that same board I mounted a handybox with an outlet, and the wires coming from that outlet have a set of aligator clips in case I want to test a wire stub or a suspicious breaker. That outlet also doubles as the place I store my ground tester (one of those things with the 3 colored LED's). The board has a handle to make it easy to carry too.
Mark
On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 14:46:40 -0600, "Greg O"

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wrote:

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No No No........
You hook the alligator clips to a wire. Then plug the cord from the doorbell transformer into that outlet on the board. In other words that outlet is just an easy way to hook to a wire without having to remove the plug on the end of the doorbell, or risking double ended alligator clip wires that come too darn close together when clipped onto a plug. And, like I said, that outlet is the place to store my ground tester too.
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Uhhhh... if you use a portable radio, make sure you take the batteries out of it first. :)
Tom (with hair like Kramer) Flyer
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Isn't there a sensitivity control? These thigs seem to be a bit touchy between no indication and "the one".
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On 12/18/2004 3:47 PM US(ET), Greg took fingers to keys, and typed the following:

I bought a "Circuit Detective" from Radio Shack" on-line. $30.00 It works pretty good. I used it trace a circuit for an outlet that I was tapping off for a new outlet. It found the breaker. It only has an outlet plug for the transmitter. I also had to remove a 3 way switch and box to put in a double switch box to add an additional switch for the newly installed outlet. I was hoping that I could use it to trace the circuit of a light fixture, but I didn't have a screw in outlet for a standard bulb socket handy, so I don't know how well that would have worked. Through the old method of having someone call out when the light went off as I pulled breakers, I found the breaker that controlled the kitchen ceiling labeled as "front door light".
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I'm a thirty plus year electrician. I bought one of those GB toys a year ago. It seemed to work OK the first time I used it, but never again. I think it was just pot luck the first time. I remember stud finders being about as accurate when they first came out.

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On Sat, 18 Dec 2004 15:52:48 -0500, "RBM" <rmottola1(remove

The best Stud Finder I ever knew was the blonde next door, where I used to live. She could find studs faster than any tool in the world. She went to a lot of bars to find studs. She even took a lot of them home with her for a night or two. :)
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On 12/18/2004 12:52 PM RBM wrote:

They're better now? I've got, like, three. One is a magnet on a pivot which my Dad used to find nails, presumably driven into studs. Yeah -- like that works. Half the time the original nail was sufficiently off the stud centerline that every nail I drove in afterward hits air. The other two operate on some mysterious principal possibly employed in fish finders or divining rods. They have various colored LED lamps on them. With their help I have found blintz-shaped areas on walls that seem to move around mysteriously depending on which finder I am using. My latest technique is to smash a paint-filled balloon near the wall. The blotches of paint indicate the location of studs with about the same accuracy as my stud finders. I can then proceed to pound in nails with confidence that I will find plenty of "wall air."
--

Mike "Rocket J Squirrel" Elliott
71 Type 2: the Wonderbus
  Click to see the full signature.
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Another tool with an elaborate answer to a question no one has asked: a tool box stuffer of extremely limited use. Return it! I just get my wife or friend to "be" the wand. She either watches ceiling fixtures etc go out, then tells me status on the cell phone or cheap walkie talkie. We also use a lamp-socket/plug adaptor (with the prongs on one end and the bulb socket on the other), screw a light into it, and walk around the baseboards/walls and tie the circuits to the breakers. Can also use a $1.99 two wire outlet tester.Takes only minutes per room to map the whole house.
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Roger wrote:

And you get a good workout, besides! :)
Realistically, if it's a good sized two- or three-story house, the breaker panel is in the basement (or even better, the attic, and yes, I've seen it), and you're by yourself, the tester in the baseboard route can get to be <quite> time-consuming.
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The old "trip it and see what turns off" is a good plan if you plan on spending all day mapping the panel and all night resetting all the clocks, VCRs, coffee makers and other stuff that doesn't like losing power. .
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easiest way i find have someone stand at the box,then you go around whole house turn on every light switch,then have the person flip one breaker see what goes off,label it,flip another label it etc.takes less then an hour
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Finally I removed the transmitter module from the wall socket

I do not know about the particulars of your particular tracer. I was lent one made by Sperry. It has a dial which allows you to adjust the sensitivity of the receiving unit. At its most sensitive it lights up all breakers as you mentioned. On the Sperry, the switch you use to turn the receiving unit on is a dial switch and you use it to adjust the sensitivity. If you dial it back it stops squaking at all breakers and isolates the correct circuit. This worked on almost every circuit I tested (one exception that I posted about here a few weeks back). In my area it costs about $27. I would not buy one but found it convenient to use.
Roland
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Bob_M wrote:

And while you are checking them, why don't you make a sketch map of the house and mark the map so you can just glance at it and see which breaker to turn off to kill any particular outlet/light.
Bill Gill
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