Rueful chuckle. Yet another on the long list of household chores that is
trivial when you live with others, but a major PITA when you live alone.
Mapping the breakers and rationalizing and load-balancing the wiring layout
has been on my to-do list for a couple years, but living alone, it would
take a bazillion trips up and down the stairs.
Maybe tell trick or treaters that the goodies are down in the
basement and they can get them by throwing a special switch?
I would guess if the kids don't want to do it, you might be able to get
the cops to do it when they come over. With the extra added advantage of
having radio communications.
There are ways around it.
I'm a single guy living in a subdivision of (mainly) retirees, and a few
young families that bought the houses where the retirees died. By
definition, I am not to be trusted. On Halloween, I sit out on the front
porch where the parents standing in driveway can see me.
Yes, there are dozens of ways I <can> do it. I'm not a technician, but I
play one at work. It is just a matter of getting motivated.
I know a couple ways to trace breakers with some trips up the
stairs, but not as many. Plug in a radio into the socket, and
turn it up full blast. When you find the breaker that turns the
radio on and off.....
Another alternative is to plug in two hair dryers, and
deliberately trip the breaker.
Still, it's a lot of stairs. You don't know someone you can call,
and who owns a couple FRS walkie talkies?
Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
Noisy stuff doesn't work for me- I've tried. Between the hearing loss and
the tinnitus, I just can't tell without walking back upstairs. I'll probably
end up dragging out the 100-foot extension cord, plugging it in upstairs,
and connect to a droplight in the basement. That will at least narrow it
down, and only require one stair-climb per room. Light goes out, go up and
try all the other nearby sockets and fixtures with the probe. Annotate a
copy of the floorplan (that I also have yet to make), indicating what
breaker each and every device is on. Key that plan to a list taped inside
service panel door. As to the radios- I actually can stuff a couple REAL
2-ways in my briefcase at work and bring them home overnight or over a
weekend, and nobody will notice. But that requires another warm body, since
even if I tape down the button, the radio times out in a couple minutes.
Maybe a garage sale baby monitor would work better. Been trying to get my
brother, the semi-retired plant engineer who did summers as a residential
electrician as a kid, to come for a visit. (Just had my sister the
tree-hugger come visit, and she insisted on redoing the overgrown front
garden the previous owners left behind. Sweet of her, but we are having an
extended drought here, so now I gotta water the stuff every day.)
There's a 99% probability I'm about to tell you something you know
already, but here goes, just in case.
A line voltage operated radio turned up loud along with a screw in "bulb
socket to line cord receptical" adaptor can tell you which breaker
controls what to help reduce the bazillion trips.
on 8/4/2007 11:26 AM Jeff Wisnia said the following:
I use this with a screw-in outlet receptacle. It saves having to test
each breaker to find the circuit and then resetting all the digital
clocks in the house.
Very tempting, but hard to justify for a one-time use. Looks a lot like the
cable sniffers we use at work for tracing cat5 runs. I presume the 'hound'
end would also go off at any other fixtures on same string? Maybe I could
buy it, get this place sorted out, and use it as a Christmas present for my
If it was a one time use, it wouldn't be worth it, but I have used it a
number of times since I bought it a year ago.
My breaker box has had a number of additions since it was first
installed, and the notes next to the breakers aren't exactly right.
The "bell transformer" is usually attached to the closed junction box that
makes it easy to run the wires to the buttons and the bell.
In my case, the builder attached it to the box that was part of the central
vac. My point is that it could be on just about any 120 volt circuit
including "dedicated" circuits for things like dishwasher, washing machines,
If the transformer is warm and if that means the button is stuck in, I
would go check the button. If it doesn't move in and out, if it stays
stuck in pretty much and may have been stuck in, I would pry out the
button, and disconnect one side. You don't have to; turn off anything
to do this because the voltage is so; low.
If you could then ring the bell by touching one wire to the other, at
the door, and if the transformer then cooled off, you may just have to
replace the button. And like I say, you don't have to disconnect
anything to do that.
I have no idea how warm a doorbell transformer gets when it's not
doing anything, because they are indeed always running. However less
current flows through their primary when the secondary is open, when
no one is ringing the bell. So being warm may be normal or abnormal,
depending on something I don't know and what you consider warm.
A friend put in a new storm door and had to remove the button so that
only the two wires show now. So now I'm the only one who rings the
bell, by grabbing the two wires and squeezing them together. Can't
feel a thing, but no one else does it. he says.
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