Introduction: Pocket Cable Tracer
Get wired with gigabit speed. Trace your network cables with this tiny tester.
Fast, cheap, and easy to build. No soldering needed.
You need a wired home network for gigabit speed.
This little gadget will help you find both ends of your network wiring when you have a bundle of wires coming together in the basement.
It sends a pulsed 90+ volt DC signal down your CAT5 and other wires so it can give you a startling, but harmless shock if you touch the leads.
Step 1: Parts
Your local discount or dollar store probably carries this battery-powered alarm for about a buck.
You will also need a package of alligator clips, also about a dollar.
Get a neon voltage tester for a dollar while you are there.
Step 2: Internal Mods
- Slide off the battery door.
- Remove the batteries so you don't get shocked while clipping the leads.
- Remove the Philips screw which holds the case together.
- Cut the wires leading to the flat piezo buzzer disk.
- You will be using these wires as your test leads in the next step, so clip them right at the disk.
Step 3: Open Notch
Use a knife to open up the notch in the edge of the plastic case.
Feed the two loose wires around the tab out through the widened notch.
Put the circuit board back in place.
Close the case and screw it back together.
Step 4: Add Alligator Clips
The alligator clips should have a screw terminal, or a crimp fastener.
Attach the bare metal ends of the two short wires from the circuit board to the alligator clips.
Step 5: Trace Time!
First test the tracer by connecting the alligator clips right to the leads of your neon voltage tester.
The neon bulb should glow brightly. Remember, if it can light a neon glow bulb, it can give you a harmless, electric sting if you grab both leads. Now you are ready to go.
I like to unscrew the wall plate for network, telephone, or coaxial cables.
Then I attach the alligator clips directly to stripped ends of the pair (usually blue and white for Ethernet) I want to trace.
Another way, shown here, is to clip the to the red and green wires of an RJ11 standard telephone plug.
An RJ11 can be used with either phone or RJ45 Ethernet jacks for testing.
Step 6: Find Your Wires
- Strip half an inch of insulation from the blue and white pair. Now test with a dollar store neon volt indicator
- Untwist the pairs as shown. Now any pocket radio will pick up the beeping tone.