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Old 05-10-2015, 11:24 PM   #15
de NO1PC
JimAspinwall's Avatar
2004 30' Classic
1988 29' Excella
Campbell , California
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 32
The Extech is in the same genre, there's also "fox and hound". I think I have 4 or 5 variations on the theme. I think the original Bell System units were probably the best in terms of generated signal intensity, and there are models that you can select a steady tone or a warble. I'll have to look at which of mine has the weakest signal, as I remember doing a wire chase and being very frustrated, replaced battery, etc. Finally grabbed the old Bell System units and ba-zinga - WIRE!

Enjoy the ride! Best 73!
de Jim, NO1PC
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Old 05-10-2015, 11:31 PM   #16
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2007 22' International CCD
Corona , California
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I'm not sure what kind mine is, but I know I have found wires buried behind plasterboard. I usually have to turn the tracer volume down a bit because the signal is so loud with a fresh battery.

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Old 05-10-2015, 11:36 PM   #17
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2004 30' Classic
1988 29' Excella
Campbell , California
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 32
Great question about the signal getting through aluminum, and it probably won't do much until you get to a seam or other opening/cavity... and then there's a bit of 'magic' in whether or not the generator is noisy enough and you may find a wire two feet up behind a wall but you're sniffing at a water line coming out - how's that work?

A bit technical but if the generator sends out not only an audio tone but some higher, even into RF noise, some of the sniffers can pick up the artifacts enough to tell you you're close.

I've dug wires out of snow and slush, sort of like divining for water - and yes people do look at you like you're a witch and step back. Two wire phone stuff is easy compared to digging around in the multi-pair network cables that feed nearly everything today. I dig out the sniffer every now and then to find signals in radio circuits instead of using a scope... letting ears be the 3rd eye while the other two watch where you pick and poke.

Luckily most of what we need to find in a trailer isn't twisted or shielded, but it is frustrating when that elusive blue-yellow wire seems to come out no where, until you expose that unexpected light fixture and see the undocumented splice to a documented dark green wire - and wonder what they were thinking. :O
Enjoy the ride! Best 73!
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:04 AM   #18
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1972 27' Overlander
Woodburn , Oregon
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Could someone post a photo of what the bell system tester looks like ? I'm curious and I think I want one for my tool collection
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Old 05-12-2015, 11:17 PM   #19
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2004 30' Classic
1988 29' Excella
Campbell , California
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 32
Test Toner pics

I've rarely seen and never owned the 139C toner (rectangular unit), only the next-gen tone/continuity unit 'cube' (shown with my legacy yellow dial butt-in-sky)

No phone tool kit is complete without the 'can' wrench (nutdriver) and a box of toothpicks (to hold relays from closing or force contacts closed.)

If you've ever thought about climbing a pole with strap-on spikes - it's not as cool as it might look and certainly not good on the ankles and knees!
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Enjoy the ride! Best 73!
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:14 AM   #20
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1964 22' Safari
modesto , California
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 499
I notice you live in Campbell, CA. Did you work in that area?
I started working for Pacific Telephone in Sunnyvale, Kiefer RD. garage in 1978. Got my contractors license and retired from ATT in 2010. I still have all of my tools and climbing gear. I still use many of the tools, not the climbers much any more.
The rectangular unit is still my go to tone gen.

As we know, cell phone don't always work. I keep a spare Butt set as part of my emergency kit for the truck and trailer.
Tip and Ring, in search of dial tone!

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Old 05-15-2015, 08:25 AM   #21
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1991 35' Airstream 350
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 125
hi all..well after much on-line searching for a "true" tone generator I was about to order the Extech 40180 as in
Extech 40180 Tone Generator and Amplifier Probe Circuit Finder Kit - Wire Tracer Tone Generator -
The going price was steep at $75.89 but..?
Then I found a "knock-off" unit from Monoprice, the 8134 at $34.93!
Looks just the same as the Extech rig at half the price!
Tone Generator w/ Probe Kit -
So, why pay more. It's on the way to me and hopefully will perform as well as the more expensive Extech model! I'll report back when tested..thanks again Jim for initiating this thread

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