What do you guys find is the best ways to trace out a circuit in a finished ceiling? I'm tracing out a circuit that appears to have an open hot. I don't have a circuit tracer meter. Carpenters were renovating a bathroom and thats the vicinity where I think the problem is. I bet they covered a box or something. Any assistance on this matter is appreciated. Thanks.
If you can purchase a Harris TS 100 you can find the open in the wire. Make sure there is no power attached. If you know that your neutral and ground are good,measure those first (exp.50') then measure hot and neutral (exp 18') your open is 18' away. Now apply tone and follow the noise for 18'. Usually works but a little more accurate than an Estwing. TS 100 is roughly 300.00 but a nice tool. Also lets you know how much wire you have on a roll of romex or any other cable pair. Plus you look really really cool in front of your customer when you tell them the problem is 18 feet away.
I once had a landlord cover a whole panel in an office building with drywall and paint it up to match the other walls. We were trying to I.D. a circuit and I intentionally tripped it with my handy "U" shaped piece of #12. We looked through every room of that building twice and never found the panel. I told the owner to call me when he found it and I never heard from him again.
A tone thrower and tracer works too, but takes some time to get used to differentiating the sound through walls and actually discerning breakes & joints. Kind of like learning to listen to a SONAR echo.
It's what I used to find 4 hidden wall sconce boxes in my house.