Residential wiring troubleshooting Q

I have one of those RF "breaker finder" gadgets that I've used with good
success. It's a basic no-frills type that
doesn't trace open circuits or anything. I was doing some electrical work at
a friends' house where I wanted to turn off a breaker to a branch circuit
I'd be working on. When I did my usual test with the breaker finder, it
would indicate just about all the breakers in the panel were the right ones.
I know this is impossible, but I'm just curious why this might happen. I
adjusted the sensitivity of the receiver as appropriate with the same
results. The receptacles on that circuit were working properly and tested at
roughly 120 volts. (if that helps) Any ideas are welcomed.
Reply to
John Hall
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perhaps your friend has one or more circuits that have reversed polarity causing line voltage to run through the common?
Reply to
The RF breaker finder probably expects that the breakers have a small coil winding for magnetic quick tripping. Maybe the breakers at your friend's house are an older or cheaper model with only thermal sensing? The coil would both block the RF signal from getting onto the breaker panel buss, and also create a small RF field for the sniffer to locate.
BTW, never assume that something is "impossible", as someone before may have done something strange to the wiring.
Reply to
Robert Casey
Be sure you turned off the right breaker. That outlet may also be double fed.
Reply to
Just a shot in the dark, but is it possible that you forgot to open all the breakers in the distribution box prior to using the breaker finder?
Harry C.
Reply to
Harry Conover
The signal gets coupled to other circuits when wires are closely bundled, especially if they run in the same conduit. Reducing the sensitivity sometimes helps, but not always.
Ben Miller
Reply to
Ben Miller

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