Looking for a new gadget....maybe new idea ?

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dacflyer
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Looking for a new gadget....maybe new idea ?

Post by dacflyer »

I do a lot of electrical work.. I made a small gadget that is basically a pizeo beeper attached to a lil wall wart. I plug it in and it beeps loudly.. I use this to find which circuit breaker it's connected to.. when flipped off, the beeping stops..

There are times when I have to search for a breaker, But i am out of hearing range.
So I got the idea. for something wireless.. But I don't know what i'd be looking for online..
most breaker finders aren't what I am looking for..Most you have the transmitter which is fine.. but the receiver you have to hold it near the breaker to see if it is the one or not,, then there's the issue of ghosting..
I am looking for a go/nogo hand held receiver that just only really needs 1 led and or a beeper to let me know that i turned off the right breaker.. when the right breaker is off, the hand held gadget led turns off.. that simple..
Anyone know of such a device ??
I could use a pair of walkie talkies so that i could hear it when out of hearing range.. But who'd hold the PPT button..lol
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Janitor Tzap
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Re: Looking for a new gadget....maybe new idea ?

Post by Janitor Tzap »

Why not use a Baby Monitor?

Plug the Baby Monitor Base unit into the circuit you want to check, with a radio nearby playing.
Take the hand held receiver with you to the breaker box.
You can listen to the receiver, as you toggle on and off breaker switches.
When you no longer can hear the radio on the hand held receiver.
You have located the breaker that controls that circuit.

Just make sure the radio is running off the same outlet as the Baby Monitor Base unit.
Or is running off of batteries.



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dacflyer
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Re: Looking for a new gadget....maybe new idea ?

Post by dacflyer »

That's an idea..kinda like the walkie talkie deal..
have to see if i can find one somewhere..thrift shop maybe.
Msondg44
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Re: Looking for a new gadget....maybe new idea ?

Post by Msondg44 »

Several years ago, I built a small box for my brother (a carpenter) that did exactly what you're asking for. He wanted a box that he could plug into a wall socket that would sound an alarm when the correct breaker was switched off.
I don't have a copy of the schematic for the box that I built, but in essence was a 555 timer used as a missing pulse detector that drove a Sonalert. Using a very small power transformet (approx. 6.3V/100mA) for power and signal source, I used a couple of zeners in series to limit the voltage to a safe level to feed the timer circuit. As long as power was on, pulses were supplied to the timer circuit, the Sonalert sounded. When power switched off, the timer detected that pulses were no longer available, the Sonalert was turned off.
I used this circuit because I wanted the alarm to stop the instant power was removed instead of continuing to sound off until the power supply was drained. It worked beautifuly as long as he used it.

A quick Google search revealed this link: https://www.falstad.com/circuit/e-555missing.html, which looks pretty close to what I designed for my brother. Also, here: https://circuitdigest.com/electronic-ci ... it-diagram

Hope this doesn't get to you to late,
DaveM
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Re: Looking for a new gadget....maybe new idea ?

Post by Janitor Tzap »

Dave,

I see one big problem with this.
Will you be able to hear it?

If the tester unit is on the same floor as the Breaker Box.
Or maybe on one floor above where you are.
Then you could hear it.

But if your in the Basement where the Breaker Box is,
and the Tester Unit is on a second, third floor, or higher Level floor, or even outside the house.
{Lots of insulation between you and the Tester Unit.}
You will most likely not be able too hear it.

dacflyer,
If you already have a pair of walkie talkies.
What is the range that they can receive?
Most Baby Monitor's have a range of 300 to 500 yards.
The old Kiddie walkie talkies have about the same range.

Put a rubber band on the Push to Talk button on one walkie talkie.
Plug a radio into the circuit you want to check.
Place the walkie talkie on, or next too the playing radio.
Take the other walkie talkie with you to the breaker box.
You can now listen to the radio, as you toggle on and off breaker switches.
When you no longer can hear the radio on the walkie talkie.
You have located the breaker that controls that circuit.


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dacflyer
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Re: Looking for a new gadget....maybe new idea ?

Post by dacflyer »

I see one big problem with this.
Will you be able to hear it?

If the tester unit is on the same floor as the Breaker Box.
Or maybe on one floor above where you are.
Then you could hear it.

But if your in the Basement where the Breaker Box is,
and the Tester Unit is on a second, third floor, or higher Level floor, or even outside the house.
{Lots of insulation between you and the Tester Unit.}
You will most likely not be able too hear it.
This is the issue I am having now with my simple plug in beeper.. This is why I am looking for something with a transmitter, so i can hear it remotely.
basically looking for something that transmits an audio tone or beeping. and me having a hand held receiver..
Was thinking the walkie talkie too, But a baby Monitor might be a better idea as well.
But I wish there was something ready off the shelf type of deal..
I haven't had much luck with those sniffers or tracers, especially in a over stuffed box.

Another thing i'd love to have is something that can trace wire path deep in a wall/ across ceiling.. most only go a few inches deep.
I do have a pipehorn locator, but it's really awkward to use. Not made for indoor use. Would like something to use on dead or alive circuits.
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CeaSaR
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Re: Looking for a new gadget....maybe new idea ?

Post by CeaSaR »

Instead of a constant sounder when plugged into a live circuit, how about a unit that will be off when the circuit is live, yet will switch in a battery powered oscillator (maybe in the audio realm) to the wires so that it can be picked up by a coil at the breaker box. That way, the receiver will only sound when you switch off the connected circuit. And you could use something like an 18650 to power it, keeping charged up while looking for the breaker. Win - Win on all sides.

Start with the plug area. Power supply that keeps the 18650 board in charge/check status, while also providing power to keep the relay to the power lines NC. Once the power is cut from the supply, a sense circuit switches in the 18650, probably with a boost, to run the 555 and connect the relay to the wall socket lines, injecting the signal into the line all the way back to the breaker getting picked up by the receiving coil to drive another battery powered amp and speaker.

Presto! Turn off the right breaker, get a sound. Wrong breaker, and you get Simon and Garfunkel (The Sound of Silence).

And, the more I think about it, you'd probably need to RF couple the wires (in this case, AF via wire windings) since there won't be a complete circuit in the wires. A little experimentation will reveal what would need to be done.
Hey, what do I know?
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dacflyer
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Re: Looking for a new gadget....maybe new idea ?

Post by dacflyer »

That's a bit over my head..
I am not that good into circuit design.
I was kinds hoping to cobble something together or off the shelf..
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CeaSaR
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Re: Looking for a new gadget....maybe new idea ?

Post by CeaSaR »

Ok, how's this for off the shelf?

Power Failure alarm. Most come with light and sounder. when the power goes of, so does the alarm.
Add in battery powered baby monitor (only need audio) and then you've got a system. Transmitter stays with the alarm and receiver goes with you.

Added bonus is you get to hear the other people swear when the power goes out and the alarm goes off. Never gets old.

Where to find this stuff? Let your fingers do the walking. Or should I say typing?
Hey, what do I know?
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dacflyer
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Re: Looking for a new gadget....maybe new idea ?

Post by dacflyer »

I kinda found something I am gonna tinker with.. I found in my Junk box a remote controlled Panic Button, and the receiver. I'm gonna tinker with it and see what it's range is.. It was for an alarm system at work long ago..
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Re: Looking for a new gadget....maybe new idea ?

Post by Lenp »

I know that this post is a bit old, but here is what I used for years while checking door switches and and motion sensors in large buildings.

You need two walkies, that will cover the expected area of use.At least one needs an external mic and earphone jacks. Both radios are set on a 'private' or quiet channel. One radio has a custom micro interface that is connected to the radio jacks, and all the zones you need to test. Likely that is at the control panel. My design looked at dry contacts, but other inputs could be accommodated with a proper input interface.

You walk around with the second radio.

Here's what happens....
The micro is in a loop, waiting for key press noise at the earphone jack, similar to the control of landing lights at an unattended small airport.
Once it hears the clicks, it scans all the circuits connected and transmits their status with transmitted tones through the external mic jack.

When the micro scans input #1, a high or low pitch tone count is transmitted to indicate the input number. The Low pitch indicates an open, and high pitch is a closed circuits. Then it then scans the next input circuit until all are scanned. Click again to repeat!
Example: L L L Circuit# 3 is open, H H H H H Circuit # 5 is closed.

For hysterical purposes, the micro used is a' BS1' , an early version of the Parallax Basic Stamp, and yes, it still works!
Today's micros could offer more modes and features.

Yeah, so lets not get into a contentious thread about transmitting and the FCC rules and interference over this! They now sell radios that once required a ' license' in Walmart's sports department. I guess a cell phone interface is possible, but the obvious missing external connections need to be sorted out first. With all the models and make variants that's a big chore. They can't even standardize on charger connectors!

Enjoy!

Len
Len

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"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)
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Re: Looking for a new gadget....maybe new idea ?

Post by dyarker »

I guess a cell phone interface is possible...
No, no PTT.
For testing wire pairs I always used a tone generator and inductive pickup.

Cheers,
Dale Y
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