I am a handyman and have run into an electrical nightmare. I was
hired to fix the doorbells in a medical care facility. Normally a
doorbell circuit is one of the easiest things to fix, but this time
it's near impossible to trace the wires. The reason is that the wires
are in an attic crawl space. They are buried in insulation, the
building is nearly a city block long, and twists and turns every which
way. The attic has fireblocks where the wires vanish into the next
section and there is no way to continue the trace from section to
section, and the worst part of all, there are literally a million
wires up there. (computer network, fire alarm, phones, cable tv,
thermostats, patient alarm calls, security, electric door locks,
intercom, speaker system, and more.......)
To add to the mess, there are 2 doorbell chimes, and 6 door buttons,
and no one knows which chime should be on which button, and the
transformers are nowhere to be found (but there is power).
With all of this, I have come to the conclusion there is no possible
way to physically trace the wires. I have already spent hours in that
attic, got myself stuck up there, pulled wires out of insulation for
hundreds of feet, only to find they get lost in a firewall, and there
are a dozen more identical looking wires on the other side of that
firewall (if I can even get to the other side). Some parts of that
attic are impossible to access.
My reason for posting this is I seem to recall some sort of radio
device that connects to a wire and sends a radio signal into the wire.
Then there is a probe that I would carry that will sense that signal
but only from the wire(s) that the transmitter is connected, and not
any other wires. Maybe I am dreaming, but it seems to me that I once
saw something like this advertised. The problem is that I have no
idea what to look for on the web or elsewhere. (what's this thing
called?). Additionally, I think the device actually tells where there
is an open or shorted wire.
This seems to be the only way that I can fix this mess. Further
tracing the existing wires, or running new wires would both require
extensive removal of walls and ceilings, because the attic is the only
way to run wires. There is no basement, and the very strict codes
will not allow surface wiring, not even for a low voltage doorbell.
Can anyone help me locate a device like this, please.
PS. Crawling around in the attic, amongst all these wires and pipes,
etc. is most likely what dislodged the doorbell wires in the first
place. There are places where heating ducts only allow 10 inches to
crawl under them on my belly, and in insulation, balanced on only two
rafters. It dont take much to get stuck on a wire and rip it apart.
I suspect this is what happened, because none of the wires from the
buttons are showing up at the chime, using a multimeter, and shorting
the button wires. Somewhere in all that mess, one or more wires got
ripped apart, and/or the building has had several additions added to
it, which only complicates things more.
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