The 5 Best Tone and Probe Tracing Kits [Ranked]
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Tone and probe tracing kits provide exceptional tracing capabilities for a variety of low-voltage scenarios like data, telephone and wiring security alarms (Source).
An internal wiring technician will find this equipment essential to his daily tasks. A quality tone and probe tracing kit will enable him or her to check wire pair voltages as well as to generate tagging tones along wires, which the tracing probes are then equipped to detect.
A high-quality tone and probe tracing kit will include high-quality amplifiers and tone generators, equipping technicians to trace and identify the single conductors and or cables within bundles no matter whether they are at the remote end or the midpoint.
One buyer told us that they purchased it to trace a variety of curcuits located behind drywall in a home rehabproject. This was the tool he used to make it possible.
He explained that the tone is powerful enough to quickly locate wires behind drywall.
If you have a box with several electrical lines running into it, it will take a little patience and understanding to ultimately sort out the individual runs.
Buyers advise watching some YouTube videos to learn how to best use these tools. factor would otherwise drive you crazy.
In terms of tool quality, this reviewer said that it certainly isn’t flimsy and they expect to be able to use it for years, with normal handling. It also ships with a nice lanyard so you can hang it nearby wall boxes, so that you don’t need to hang it up by its leads.
The included case makes it easy to remain organized with all its different parts.
There are a variety of tone and tracing programs on the market today providing exceptional tracing performance, and they have become safer and faster as well as easier to operate than ever before.
Let's take a look at five of the top tone and tracing probe kits on the market today and see how they compare.
Comparing The Options
|Tone and Probe Tracing kits||Price||Our Rating||Weight|
|The Fluke Networks Pro3000 Tone Generator and Probe Kit||$$||4.6||1 lbs|
|The Greenlee Professional Tone and Probe Tracing Kit||$$||4.5||0.6 oz|
|The Triplett Fox & Hound Premium Wire and Cable Tracing Kit||$$||4.2||1 lbs|
|The GroundBlaster Tone & Probe Tracing & Diagnostics Kit||$$$||5 lbs|
|The Extech Tone Generator and Amplifier Probe Circuit Finder Kit||$$||3.8||15.2 oz|
How to use a tone generator and probe to locate cables
WHAT ARE CUSTOMERS SAYING?
- One user describes how easy it is to find wires located behind drywall.
- His only qualm with the Fluke unit that he selected was that if there is a box with a bunch of electrical lines running into it, even if you separate out all of the different lines within the box to ensure that there is zero continuity between the separate lines, there's a tendency for the signal to overlap onto all the other lines.
- For example, a box with three lines will get a signal on all three of them even though the tone generator was actually only attached to one of them. This tends to happen when all the lines are really bunched up together, which is the case inside of a box.
- That said, with a little bit of patience and ingenuity he is generally able to detect the individual runs without too much trouble.
- He has also determined that the greater the distance from the box the signal will drop off faster on non-connected lines than on connected lines.
- Another user has written that he purchased a wire and cable tracing kit to locate an open circuit in his house- he was able to apply the tone to an outlet's wire that doesn't have any voltage and then trace the tone throughout the ceiling and into a spare room where they located burned wiring terminals.
How do tone and tracing probe kits work?
The way it works is that the tone generator will insert either an alternating or constant tone into the cable- the tone and probe will enable modification of that particular tone to one of the 5 cadences designed to isolate and individual wire pair within a multi-pair cable.
The probe will be able to identify this tone so that the cable location can be determined- that is when the speaker will amplify the tone so if you are tracing through a wooden barrier or drywall you will be able to detect it.
If you are looking to purchase a tone and tracing kit, check out our comparison table above to get a sense of the best options on the market today.
They are essential tools for electricians, network administrators, security installation professionals and a variety of other types of utility workers. The quality of the different tone & probe tracing kits is really good, we have seen, and the return on investment is pretty high with many users writing that their tone and probe tools are indispensable to them.
They also can save the home repairman a lot of money- rather than calling in a professional to do the job for them, they're able to use these tools to diagnose electrical problems and deal with them themselves.
Some of the common features of a tone and probe kit include three different methods of conductivity, a cordless phone interface, signal strength indicators, adjustable sensitivity and loudness controls, cadence shifting and selection tones, adjustable speakers, a carrying case and lanyard.