I have this mess of wires in a junction box of a stucco house (built 30 years ago). Couple of these are going to the overhead fan in the room. Will a simple clamp meter help me identify the relevant wires?

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1 Answer 1


If by "clamp meter" you mean a non-contact AC Ammeter, and if the circuit can be loaded enough to trigger the reading. Yes, you should be able to isolate the circuit using such a meter. (Keep in mind that this type of meter only registers AC current so you must have current flowing for it to read.)

On a related note, however, that box looks to be severely overloaded. You may want to consider upgrading it as this may be unsafe.

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    I have both AC and DC amp clamp meters. As far as tracking by a specific load a clamp can be very handy, I used to use a Holliday light flasher on a large wattage light bulb 150-300w putting my clamp on the line I knew within 1 second if it was the correct circuit, today I use modern electronic tools but this is how I used to trace circuits before the circuit seekers , breaker finders, To tell the truth it was quite accurate . I have had the breaker finders be wrong many times but since there was a pulsing load I never had this method be wrong.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 10, 2019 at 13:15
  • @jwh20: By "overloaded" I assume you mean cramped into a small space? It's a real pain, in that the copper wires are incredibly stiff, to the point they barely bend by hand. I am told this is good in terms of safety, but it's otherwise terribly inconvenient for handling.
    – Sabuncu
    Jun 10, 2019 at 15:07
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    @Sabuncu Yes, you understand my meaning. It appears that there are too many wires/connections for the volume of that box. But it's hard to tell. Generally if it's difficult to handle, the box is too crowded.
    – jwh20
    Jun 10, 2019 at 16:38
  • @jwh20 Thank you for the clarification. I would love to be able to insert a new and bigger box in there but it requires concrete demolition which generates so much dust.
    – Sabuncu
    Jun 10, 2019 at 16:49

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