Keysight - Identifying an Electrical Circuit Using the Agilent Wireless Remote Connectivity Solution

Our thanks to Agilent for allowing us to reprint the following article.

Introduction

Troubleshooting electrical circuits in an industrial environment can be difficult and hazardous. Sometimes, this troubleshooting task can lead to extended equipment outages, increased costs of repairs, and lost revenue. Commercial or residential electricians often need to identify the correct circuit breaker before commencing troubleshooting tasks. This is a time consuming and incredibly frustrating task. Electricians must also identify all loads connected to the same circuit, since the electrical panel's labeling may not be adequate or correct. This application note explains how the Agilent wireless remote connectivity solution helps to accelerate electrical circuit troubleshooting.


Methods to Identify an Electrical Circuit

Without proper labeling at the circuit breaker box or service panel, electricians first have to turn off each suspect circuit breaker in succession to identify the right electrical circuits. This works well for lighting circuits that are visible from the panel. However, in most industrial environment, this method is too disruptive and not acceptable. An alternative method of identifying an electrical circuit uses a test instrument called a circuit tracer which consists of two parts: the transmitter and the receiver. The circuit breaker transmitter is connected to one end of the circuit to transmit a signal along the wire to an inline load switch or directly to the load. The receiver of the circuit tracer detects the signal being transmitted on the electrical circuit. The receiver generates a buzz sound or activates a light when the receiver is held close to the circuit transmitting the signal. With this tool, electricians hope to quickly identify the electrical circuit in need of service. However, two common problems arise. One, the electrical circuit between the breaker and the end load (or switch controlling the load) has to be open in order to inject a transmitter signal at one end or the circuit's path. Two, the transmitter signal often leaks across circuits at the panel, making identification impossible...


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