Any residential or commercial premise has a network of electrical cables that powers it. These cables are vulnerable to various electrical problems. A circuit tracer is a piece of versatile electronic equipment that makes it very convenient to trace circuits without having to do so manually. A circuit tracer is also useful for locating ground lines, control wiring, neutrals, feeders, branch lines, etc.
What is a Circuit Tracer?
A circuit breaker is an electronic device that helps to identify and trace which circuit is governed by which circuit breaker. It can help to identify circuit breakers and speed up the process of fixing electrical outages. There can be cases where the circuit diagram in a premise is not reliable or incorrect. It can also be due to frequent changes in the circuit as they can be altered, and new circuits can be added. In such cases, a circuit tracer can help you to track the circuit and circuit breakers reliably.
Circuit trackers can save you considerable time and money in identifying and resolving electrical outages. It allows you to continue the operations as you do not need to shut down the facility for getting a repair done.
Components of a Circuit Tracer
The following are the key components of a circuit tracer that ensures its proper functioning and reliability:
The transmitter is an important component of a circuit tracer. It is connected to one end of the circuit like an electrical outlet. The role of the transmitter is to transmit a signal that will travel along the wire it is connected to.
The receiver in a circuit tracer is used to detect the signal being transmitted on electrical circuits. Once the receiver is brought close to the cable carrying the signal, it will cause a trigger or notification. You will be alerted by a notification light or a buzzer that is inbuilt in the circuit tracer. This helps you to instantly detect the signal and locate the circuit fault.
A circuit tracer contains a probe that has three sensors. The electric field sensor helps to locate the end of a conductor. The direction of the conductor located above the ground is detected by the differential field sensor. The inductive sensor helps to assess the direction of the conductor transmitting the circuit below the ground. The probe can generate electrical energy using a switch. This can allow you to determine the amount of power being generated by the circuit’s signal.
How Circuit Tracers Work?
The receiver of the circuit tracer is linked to the probe, which has three unique sensors located in it. One of these sensors supplies the output selectively by using a switch. The sensor will determine the strength of a signal based on the direction to which the probe is pointing. You can swing the probe backward and forward to determine the location and direction of the conductor. While doing so, you can also check the strength of the signal on the display of the circuit tracer.
The transmitter in a circuit tracer produces a unique signal which is detected by the receiver. You need to place the circuit tracer in the correct orientation relative to the breakers being identified or the wires being traced. You can check the strength of the signal on the display. As the signal strength increases, it is marked by an increased tone in volume. The transmitter sends 32-kilohertz time-modulated fixed amplitude signal. This signal injects a voltage into the circuit being traced. An electromagnetic field is also induced on to the circuit. The strength of this electromagnetic field depends on whether the circuit is open or closed.
A distinct advantage of using circuit tracers is that they eliminate the need for physical contact with the electrical equipment being tested. This creates a safer work environment for electricians by reducing workplace hazards.
Key Applications of Circuit Tracers
A common application of circuit tracers is to identify ground fault shortages. Sometimes, a breaker trips and it will not reset. In such cases, you can use circuit tracers to locate the ground fault. You can also locate dead circuits using them. Circuit tracers are very handy and effective devices that allow you to locate the cause of electrical outages in your premises and troubleshoot them. This can help to save your time and resources in resolving electrical problems. Business downtime can be reduced drastically as you can identify the source of electrical issues instantly and resolve the same quickly.
A circuit tracer becomes even more useful for troubleshooting electrical outages in older buildings. Most new buildings will likely have clearly labeled and marked circuits. However, older buildings may have some unidentified circuits which can be difficult to identify manually. You can use a good quality circuit tracer to identify these unmarked circuits. This will save a lot of time to locate and resolve the electrical issues in such cases. They can also help you to trace wires and save your time and energy.
Circuit tracers are also widely used in hospitals. A hospital is a sensitive place that cannot afford to have electrical outages as it can compromise the quality of their service and patient care. There is also likely to be more interference in hospitals. You will need a good quality circuit tracer to locate the breaks and circuit issues. This can help to address any electrical issues immediately and ensure that the patients continue to get the much-needed uninterrupted power supply.
Circuit tracers are widely used in different industries to locate the cause of electrical outages. It can identify circuits and the related circuit breakers quickly. They provided added safety to the electricians by eliminating the need for physical contact with the devices that are being tested. A typical circuit tracer consists of three key components- transmitter, receiver, and probe. It allows you to measure the signal strength between wires and circuits. You should follow safety protocols while using circuit tracers. You must read the manual and understand its functioning thoroughly before using it.