How to Use a Circuit Breaker Finder
A circuit breaker is one of the most important parts of an electrical system. It protects against overloads and other safety hazards that arise from current fluctuations. However, one problem is that it connects to different outlets, making it difficult to find a problem. This is when a circuit breaker finder comes in handy.
This article will talk about the fundamentals of circuit breaker ( Klein Tools ET310 AC) finders, including how to use one. It might seem like a simple tool, but if you are not familiar with how it works, it can be prone to errors, making it useless.
What is a Circuit Breaker Finder?
Also called a circuit breaker locator, it is a handy device that comes with two crucial components. The first is a transmitter, which you will need to connect to a standard outlet. The second part is the receiver, which you will use in the actual circuit breaker box. You will need to move it on the panel. In turn, it will carry an electronic signal to the transmitter. The receiver will then beep or flash to indicate that you have found the circuit breaker.
Do not confuse a circuit breaker finder with a circuit tracer. The latter uses energized circuits, which draw current spikes from 6 to 10 amps. It creates a strong signal but only for a short time. On the other hand, a circuit tracer, as it is named, follows a circuit path. It has a more complicated function as it is used to trace the route of a wire in a hidden location.
A circuit breaker finder is useful when there are no labels in the panel, and you are servicing light panels and outlets, among others. This can also be functional if you want to label all the breakers in a panel and eliminates the need to locate them individually.
How to Use a Circuit Breaker Finder?
It is pretty much simple. Even beginners can do it, but make sure that you follow the proper steps. Below is a quick rundown of the things that you will need to do.
1. Put the Battery in the Receiver
The first thing that you will need to do is get the unit ready by installing its battery, depending on the requirements of a specific model. In most products, you will need a 9-volt battery. There is often a slide on the back cover for holding the battery. Without a battery, the circuit breaker finder will not work.
2. Adjust the Sensitivity Level
With the battery in the receiver, the next thing to do is to adjust the sensitivity. The adjuster depends on the specific model that you are using. In some units, it is a wheel. Adjust to the maximum level, which will make it easier to detect the circuit breaker. In most cases, there is a LED that will turn on once you reach the maximum setting.
3. Plugin the Transmitter
You are now ready to plug the receiver into a standard home outlet. In some cases, you might need to use an adapter. When there is power in the outlet, the indicator light of the receiver will turn on.
4. Test the Circuit Breaker Finder
Before you proceed with the main step, test the receiver and the transmitter to ensure they are working. Then, all you need is to put the transmitter next to the receiver. There should be a light or sound if everything is working.
5. Test the Circuit Breaker
At this point, you are now ready to proceed to the main step. Go to the circuit breaker panel and open the door. Make sure that the tip of the transmitter is pointing to the panel. Next, move the unit slowly from top to bottom, going from left to right. As you move, lower the sensitivity setting of the receiver. Once you hear a beep or see the light from a single breaker, you have found what you are looking for.
After locating the circuit breaker, you can now turn it off by moving the lever. Once this is done, the receiver will stop beeping, and the indicator light will turn off. This indicates no more energy was detected, and hence, the circuit breaker is already off.
Tips and Tricks When Using a Circuit Breaker Finder
Aside from doing the steps that have been mentioned above, here are some tips that will help you make the most out of the circuit breaker finder:
- Change the battery often. If you have not used the receiver for a long time, it is best to have a new battery. If you don’t use it often, remove the battery. Any problem with the battery can result in inaccuracies.
- Scan the circuit breaker panel twice. Once you are done, label the appropriate circuit, then turn on the panel and repeat the step. This will help ensure 100% accuracy of the result.
- Use a high-quality circuit breaker finder. Do not fall for the promise of cheap products; otherwise, they can be unreliable. Also, if you are a professional, use a product that has been specifically labeled appropriate for commercial applications.
- Suppose there is no outlet near the circuit breaker panel where you can plug the receiver. In that case, you can use a light fixture and plug the receiver in a keyless socket adapter. It plugs straight into where you put a light bulb, which means no plugging is necessary.
As we have discussed above, a circuit breaker finder is a simple tool that will help find energized signals in your panel. It has a receiver that you will plug in an outlet and comes with a battery. Meanwhile, there is also a transmitter. This is the part that goes through the panel, and once the fuse has been located, there will be a beep or light.