I'm looking to get a circuit breaker tracer to find the breakers that control receptacles mostly in commercial buildings with either conduit or armoured cable installations. I have a cheap sperry one that is nearly useless and want to replace it with a good one. I notice amprobe has one that they claim you can actually trace the wire path inside the wall. Anyone used this tool? Does it work in commercial buildings with conduit? What tool would you recommend?
I have an EDN and my impression is the same as Doug's on his Sperry. It gets you close but seldom exactly right unless you are willing to play with the adjusting pot. The one I have actually seems to be looking at the overload coil in the breaker so it is useless on wires.
I remain skeptical of the ones that claim to find wires in walls. They are expensive but if they work I will buy one. If they are in reliable then they could cause more trouble than they are worth. You need to be right when you open up a wall.
Ideal's SureTest tracer kit is supposed to have a breaker finding mode, along with everything else you might need.
How well it all works I can't say yet, but I have been thinking about getting one.
I have the Sperry and with good batteries it works almost OK. In a non critical environment (don't trip the wrong circuit or else) you can at least use it to kill your circuit with only one walk to the panel. If the first breaker it says is it isn't it, keep trying until the signal dies. Then you know you have the right one.
Even on large distribution systems where you'll have several "levels" of distribution panels feeding each other.
But you've got to watch the video that comes with it a few times and get some practice. Holding the unit the right way, using high and low sensitivity correctly, and especially how to handle grounding at each end of the circuit make a big difference. Once you know what you're doing, it's pretty easy to narrow down the search and focus in on the right panel and then the right breaker.
The first few times I used it, I discounted it as junk. Then one day I really needed it and watched the video. It worked once I knew what I was doing. I use it all the time now.
I don't know that it's the best since it's the only one I've used but I'm satisfied with it.