Wire Tracers: Aiding in Locating Hidden Wires and Pipes
Wire tracer are specialized tools designed to assist in locating both energized and de-energized wires, cables, and pipes, whether concealed underground or within walls. These devices operate by inducing a signal onto the target wire or pipe and then using this signal to pinpoint the location of the target and determine its direction.
Innovative Circuit for Tracing Electrical Wiring
The circuit illustrated here represents half of a highly useful device for tracing the pathways of electrical wiring within buildings or identifying breaks in wires. This system draws inspiration from equipment utilized by technicians in telephone exchanges, ensuring its effectiveness in locating wire routes and addressing wiring issues efficiently.
Straightforward Operation of the Transmitter
The operation is simple and direct. You need a generator that emits a clearly identifiable signal, which, through a short antenna, is inductively linked to a basic yet high-gain receiver.
Designing an Effective Transmitter
To create a functional transmitter, a straightforward generator based on a 555 could suffice. However, as depicted in the adjacent diagram, a 556 was chosen instead. The second timer (IC1a) is utilized to modulate the tone generated by IC1b. The output frequency alternates between approximately 2100 Hz and 2200 Hz, creating a distinctive test signal easily distinguishable from other existing signals. Resistor R6 is linked to a piece of wire, around ten centimeters in length, serving as the antenna. The ground connection (junction C2-C3) is tied to the ground.
Identifying Conductors Using the Antenna
When the antenna is directly connected to a cable, it becomes possible. At the opposite end of the cable and with the help of the receiver, determine which conductor is which (though caution should be exercised with live conductors!). The detailed schematic for the corresponding receiver can be found elsewhere in this publication.