Mapping household AC electrical circuits

We have a problem with circuit breakers tripping when we use kitchen appliances. A few days ago my brother tripped a breaker by using the toaster oven and a microwave at the same time.
I would like to map all the outlets in the house to see which breaker each one is on so that we can put the high current items on different breakers. Is there an easy way to do this? I would rather not turn off all the breakers one at a time. Is there a gadget that I could plug into an outlet and then use a sensor on the other outlets to see if they are on the same circuit?
Thank you in advance for all replies. -- Whenever I hear or think of the song "Great green gobs of greasy grimey gopher guts" I imagine my cat saying; "That sounds REALLY, REALLY good. I'll have some of that!"
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You could just plug in a radio and see if it works. But regardless, it sounds like you need to run a dedicated circuit to the microwave or counter outlet. A toaster uses at least 9-10 amps. A 1000w microwave uses the same.
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That must be some kind of BO dacious toaster you got there. Mine's only 7A.
s
You could just plug in a radio and see if it works. But regardless, it sounds like you need to run a dedicated circuit to the microwave or counter outlet. A toaster uses at least 9-10 amps. A 1000w microwave uses the same.
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I stand corrected. I just looked at my toaster and it's 900W or about 7.5 amps My Farberware electric coffee perculator is 1000W, or about 8.5 amps. So right there is a reason you need at least 2 dedicated circuits just for the counter. You might get away with running both if nothing else is being used, but your pushing it.
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On Thu, 13 Mar 2008 03:48:20 -0700 (PDT), Mikepier

You think taking the cover off of the breaker box will be easier than turning all the breakers off once? I don't think so.
You can also map your ceiling fixtures etc. if you do it by turning off the breakers.

And/Or lamps. This is a bigger project than just finding one breaker.

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One of these?
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
JK
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Anybody know if those devices work with shared nuetral circuits?
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

. They work by putting a current signal on the circuit. The signal will be on the common neutral, but you are looking for the signal on the hot wire - specifically the circuit breaker. The one I used was sometimes hard to single down to a single breaker. If I pulled the panel cover (not necessarily a good idea for everyone) I could get a clear indication on the wire connected to the breaker.
Before the circuit tracer prices became reasonable I used a 150W light bulb on a flasher and found the right wire with a clamp-on ammeter.
For limited tracing, Mikepier's radio is simple. Or 2 people and a light bulb.
Or if you are mapping the whole house, you can turn off one breaker at a time and see what is dead.
--
bud--

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Big_Jake wrote:

I've got this one: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber934
Works swell.
You can save an immense amount of time in the mapping project with two people and a pair of walkie-talkies.
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year 2 people. although the kitchen will need more outlets on new breakes
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I have one of those. It works reasonably well, if you hold the pickup end in the correct orientation with respect to the breaker; there's a diagram on the back that shows how.
Without taking the front off the panel, you can generally narrow it down to one of 2 or 3 breakers supplying the outlet that the tone generator is plugged into. Then, to be sure, turn off the breaker you think is most likely. If the beep tone disappears completely, you found the right breaker. If the tone continues, you guessed wrong, and so you try the next breaker over.
However, there's a problem with this if you have two-circuit kitchen counter outlets supplied by dual 15A breakers. (This is very common in Canada). The breakers are tied, so you can't turn off just one at a time, so you can't verify which half of the breaker a particular half of the outlet is connected to. For that, you need to go into the panel.
If you can get the pickup right against the hot wires, you might be able to tell which of the two is the one you want. Or you might have to actually disconnect one side of the circuit from the breaker to positively identify the one in use.
    Dave
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On Sat, 15 Mar 2008 02:52:54 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@cs.ubc.ca (Dave Martindale) wrote:

They are required to be 20A here in the US.
That would be another good way to find them. If you panel has 15A breakers then they ain't it.
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On Thu, 13 Mar 2008 00:00:49 -0700, Daniel Prince

I suggest you throw your worthless brother out on his ass, then you won't have that problem. It will also solve the problem with him doing your wife.
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On Thu, 13 Mar 2008 00:00:49 -0700, Daniel Prince

The radio is really about the best thing to use. The kitchen is supposed to be on separate breakers from anything else in the house.
You should also have two circuits in the kitchen.
When you find those two you really don't need to map anything else as the kitchen is expected to have high power appliances.
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kitchen should have 2 seperate 20 amp GFCI protected convenience outlet circuits, plus the dishwasher should be on its own circuit, refrigerator on its own circuit, and its a good idea for disposal to be on its own circuit too.
kitchens use lots of power.........
and all these new circuits may max out your main service panel.............
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A tip I learned years ago. Use a portable plug in radio. Turn the volume to the max, and plug it into the socket. Go to the panel. Switch breakers one at a time, until you find the breaker that silences the radio.
Alternately, use a hair dryer and toaster, and deliberately overload the outlet to trip the breaker. Go see which one tripped.
the job is infinitely easier, if you have two workers and a couple walkie talkies.
I've seen toner tracker rigs sold at Home Depot, and some other places. Don't know how well they work.
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On Sat, 15 Mar 2008 08:50:29 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

Noting which outlets don't work next time it happens in the kitchen would be about the easiest way to find out. (Use a radio)
You should have about half go off and half stay on.
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