Tone and probe tracing kits come in handy in providing exceptional tracing capabilities for low voltage connections such as telephone, wiring security alarms, and data cables (Source).
Their functionality makes it a must-have tool for structured wiring specialists who need to confirm that cabling is appropriately connected.
This tool traces wires inside walls, above ceilings, and under floors as well as manages pre-existing alarm wirings in security systems work. They effectively determine and verify that such cables are connected properly.
There are several models of tone and probe tracing kits with different features, making it quite daunting to find the best kit to buy.
Some common features include the method of conductivity, cadence shifting, selection tones, and loudspeakers.
To ease your search process, our tone and probe tracing kit review outline some of the best tone generator and probe kits you can find.
Why Do I Need These Tracing Kits?
Tone and probe tracking kits help with simplifying your work of finding the correct cable. With a tone and probe tracing kit, you can quickly trace wires above ceilings, under floors, inside walls, etc.
Furthermore, professional kits can even identify the wires connect to various devices or not. You can also use a probe with any tone generator without any issues. That makes it quite a versatile tool for tracing wires.
How Much Does A Tone and Probe Tracing Kit Cost?
There are plenty of tone and probe tracing kits available online and at local stores. And, several of them are available at varying costs. That makes it hard for you to decide the right one based on your budget.
However, if you are planning to use a tone and probe tracing kit for necessary identification around your computer table, telephone wire panel, or ethernet connections, etc., then a basic package would do just fine. Such kits are available within $20 to $40 for serving your purpose favorably.
However, if you are a professional technician looking for a robust and versatile tool to help you find tricky wires and cable through complicated wire systems, like in a data server, then you got to have a professional kit.
Such tone and probe wire tracing kits start at $80 and can reach as high as $150. Using them would undoubtedly add a difference in the identification work.
Comparing The Best Tone And Probe Tracing Kits
|The Fluke Network Pro3000 Tone and Probe Kit|
|The Fluke Networks MT-8200 Pro200 Probe Kit|
|Extech Instruments TG20 Wire Tracer and Tone Generator|
|Greenlee 710K-G Tone and Probe Tracing Kit|
|Elegiant RJ11 RJ45 Wire Tracker LAN Cable Tester|
1. The Fluke Network Pro3000 Tone and Probe Kit – Best Rated Tone and Probe Kit
The kit comes with an angled bed of nail clips with an RJ11 plug that connects to an inactive network to trace and locate wires, cables, and wire pairs. It does so by sending a loud tone; ranging up to 16km or 24AWG twisted pair coupled with 3.3kms of SmartTone signals.
This fluke toner will virtually work on any cable or wire such as security wires and de-energized AC wires, all coax cables, speaker wires, telephone, voice, and data classified cables.
Additionally, it provides five distinct cadences or tones used to identify different wire pairs as well. Besides that, it features an easy to use and adjustable volume speaker that expertly amplifies the tracing tone, too.
More on the Fluke Network Pro3000
In cases of discrete toning or situations with noisy environments, the kit’s 3.5mm jack allows the users to attach an earphone. However, note that the earphones are not included in the package; thus, buyers ought to find their pair.
To ease its use, the kit allows users to select either solid or alternating tone options often indicated by dual-colored LEDs. The colors could be solid or flashing, with red indicating continuity while red and green indicate the polarity of a DC powered cable/wire pair.
- SmartTone technology provides five distinct tones
- Easily identifies and isolates the exact pair
- Works on de-energized AC wires and various wire types
- No need for adapters as RJ11makes connection to telephone jacks easy
- Angled bed of nails makes it easy to access individual pairs
- Additional nylon pouch makes it portable
- Loud and easily adjustable speakers
- Relatively expensive
2. The Fluke Networks MT-8200 Pro200 Probe Kit – Best for Combined Digital and Analog Toner
This device is equipped with presumably the most powerful cable location and verification technology which perfect for both active and inactive networks. Unlike the initial model that uses SmartTone technology, this device uses IntelliTone technology to detect digital signals.
Moreover, this tone tracer has the ability to reject noise and false signals as well. Besides that, it also locates between 500 to 1200Hz of analog signals on inactive networks.
For utmost efficiency, the Fluke Networks MT-8200 Pro200 Probe Kit features eight multiple LEDs that light successively with an increase in signal strength. This prompts the isolation of a single cable within a bundle. The LED feature makes it easy to work with this device even in a noisy environment.
Further Reviewing the Fluke Networks MT-8200
Professionals like the fact that this kit produces four different analog songs that sing alternately every time the test cable is shorted. Alongside that, it features a cable map capability that, as mentioned, identifies the common cable wired wrongly. This eliminates the need of having a wire map.
The device’s cable map functionality help in validating RJ11 and RJ45 connectors by testing its continuity as well as discovering short circuits, open circuits, and cross-wired faults in the system. This way, it’s easier to repair the wiring systems. (Here’s a useful tool for this purpose.)
- Eliminates cable location confusion
- Simplifies signal interpretation with multiple levels LED indicators
- Simple and easy to operate knobs
- Cablemap connection eliminates the need for wiremap tool
- Easy to detect signals in patch panels, cable racks, and behind walls
- May sometimes misidentify wires especially where cables have less than four pairs
- Can easily be lost
3. Extech Instruments TG20 Wire Tracer and Tone Generator – Best for Cables within a Group
This device is a non-contact amplifier that probes and easily identifies selected wires or cables; making it easy to trace from the source to termination.
It is an RJ11-compatible toner that injects traceable signals into the cables. This not only makes it easy but also fast and accurate to trace phone lines and continuity checks.
Unlike other models, it features an adjustable sensitivity control that improves on wire identification and eliminates chances of false detection. The Extech Instruments TG20 Wire Tracer and Tone Generator kit includes a wire tracer probe, transmitter with RJ11 phone connector, one pair of alligator clips and two pairs of 9V batteries.
- Effective in testing and identifying phone lines
- Identifies wire pairs
- Checks continuity in telephone line polarity
- Traces wires from source to end
- Adjustable sensitivity controls
- Batteries do not last
- Has no auto-shut off button
4. Greenlee 710K-G Tone and Probe Tracing Kit – Best for Internal Wiring Technicians
Technicians attest that this device can check voltage on wire pairs, then generates a tagging tone on the wire, which is picked up by the tracing probe. Supporting this is the 200EP-G amplifier that allows the users to identify cables and wires without making direct metallic contact with conductors.
The Greenlee 710K-G Tone and Probe Tracing Kit amplifier come with a powerful speaker for noisy environments and adjustable volume control with single button operation. Besides that, there is an audio shock-protected headset jack with a replaceable tip for use with earphones.
More on the Greenlee 710K-G
Moving on, this device comes with a high-power tone generator that comes in handy with identifying a conductor within a bundle of wires and cables at cross-connect points and remote ends.
This tool can be used on twisted pair wiring, coaxial cables, and single conductors and de-energized AC wiring.
Other features of this toner include polarity and continuity testing feature with LED and beeping responses.
- Rugged nylon case enhances portability
- Easy to use
- Extremely reliable
- Adjustable volume control
- Large speaker for use in noisy environments
- Easily identifies conductors in a bundle of wires
- May not be sensitive enough
- Interrupted by environmental noise
5. Elegiant RJ11 RJ45 Wire Tracker LAN Cable Tester – Best for Sorting Out Cable Ends
No products found.The Elegiant RJ11 RJ45 Wire Tracker LAN Cable Tester is a good toner of choice for sorting out cable ends from a bundle of twisted pair lines. It can be used to test LAN connection from an ONT – Fibre Optic Network Terminal.
Furthermore, this device is easy to read and operate. It comes with a carrying case and is lightweight for enhanced portability.
Additionally, the amplifier provides clear and loud tones that indicate the correct wire. Plus, the adjustable volume control makes it best for noisy environments, too.
Readings with the Elegiant RJ11 RJ45 Wire Tracker LAN Cable Tester are correct when the default CAT 5e cable is used than when testing a mix of CAT 5e and CAT 6 cables. For enhanced portability, it has a little flashlight on the end that helps when putting in the carrying case.
Some of the technical specifications of the Elegiant RJ11 RJ45 Wire Tracker LAN Cable Tester include:
- Uses a DC 9V battery that is not included
- Uses multi-frequency pulse signal transmission format
- Features a flexible interface
- Comes with a set emmter, set receiver and PC earphone
- Easy to operate and reliable
- Extremely portable
- Light touch switch saves energy and power
- Has an indicator and sound reminder
- Adjustable volume control
- Headset for use in a noisy environment
- Cannot be used in a mix of CAT 5E and CAT 6 cables
- Flashlight switch turns on in the carrying case
What Is the Purpose Of A Tone and Probe Tracing Kit?
You often have to trace the route of wires of various types, including telephone cables, data cables, etc., as an end-user or a professional. Such wires are usually spread through hidden spaces, like walls, out of reach.
In a situation where a wire connection requires fixing, you might find it hard to identify the correct cable. That’s where a tone and probe tracing kit comes in handy. This useful tool kit comprises a tone generator that has two conducting wires (a positive and a negative).
You clamp these to one end of a wire. Additionally, you have a probe tool that catches the sound made by the tone generator. Toners can generate multiple sounds, which you can select as per your need.
Therefore, upon connecting the tone generator to a wire, you can bring the probe near it to check the sound that it emits at that end of the cable. Bringing the probe to the other end of the cable should generate the same tone.
How Does A Tone and Probe Tracing Kit Work?
In a tone and probe tracing kit, the tone generator induces an electrical signal into a cable that needs identification. Usually, it is a warbling tone or a square wave that conducts through the toner, also known as an Inductive Amplifier.
However, technically, a capacitive coupling operates the tone induced on the cable. The tone or signal generator works as an electronic device to create artificial sounds at various frequencies. These sounds are generally created electrically, but that is not always the case.
In short, the electrical signal is transformed into sounds that a technician can trace easily. The signal is then identified with the help of a probe tool, which is a portable device. It determines the relevant wire within a group of cables without causing trouble to the insulation.
Some probes are capable enough to trace the right wire accurately, even if there are dozens of them bundled together. The probe amplifies the signal to emit the corresponding sound precisely. That way, it is easier to trace the wire.
As the sounds are distinct, it becomes easier to filter out the wire with the relevant sound being emitted at a particular frequency.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Tone and Probe Tracing Kit
As mentioned, there are numerous tone generator and probes present in the market currently. Therefore, customers ought to consider various factors before settling on one kit. This will ensure that they find the best tracing kit matching their needs.
Some of the main feature details of the best tone and probe tracing kits include:
Various tone and probe tracing kits provide different levels of cadence/tones. Note that cadence comes in handy when identifying individual wire pairs. The best models provide up to five distinct cadences used to identify individual wire pairs with others providing a lesser number.
Probe-tracing kits have a speaker that enables the users to easily identify the traced cable. The best tone and probe tracer ought to feature an easy to use and control adjustable speaker that enables easy amplification of the tone for tracing.
Some kits also feature a jack that allows the user to use an earphone, which is sometimes not included, especially where there are cases of discrete toning or when operating in noisy environments.
Perhaps the best thing that ever happened to tone and probe tracing kits is the inclusion of LED colors. Otherwise, how would professionals identify alternating tone options?
That said, always go for a kit that allows you to select either solid or alternating tone options guided by dual LED lights.
This provides certainty, especially when working on multiple cables without identification. Note that the red color indicates continuity while green indicates polarity for DC powered wire pair.
Common mix-up errors during wiring results from wrong wiring and short circuits. However, a tone and probe tracing kit with cable map capability can identify wires that are wired wrongly especially in twisted pair cabling. This eliminates the need for a wiremap.
Such kits test continuity and discover short circuits, crossed pair wiring faults, and open circuits. This helps in eliminating common electrical faults.
Ready To Buy The Best Tone And Probe Tracing Kits?
Tone and probe tracing kits are essential tools for network administrators, electricians, security installation professionals, and other utility workers. Some models are easy to operate and are favored by novice enthusiasts.
They eliminate the need for calling for a professional electrician as anyone could use this tool to detect electrical faults and handle them easily. For further electrical needs though, like wire stripping with the use of the greatest thermal wire strippers, it would be safer to call a professional electrician.
However, to find the best kit, it is recommended that you gain some understanding of the different uses and applications.
That said, have you tried using any of the kits mentioned above? Which one is your favorite? Share with us below!
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