Two visibly identical conductors, 1940s house, which is hot?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Tim222, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. Tim222

    Tim222 New Member

    Messages:
    24
    There is no visible difference in the original two conductor wires in my 1940s house. Black outer insulating layer, inside two tin-colored wires (16 gauge?) each wrapped in something like paper and thread.

    Is there a device that will tell me which wire is hot and which is neutral? All I have is the little two-tentacled squid that tells you whether there's current flowing, by lighting up.

    Thanks
    TR
  2. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Connect one terminal of your two-tentacled squid to a known ground or known neutral. Then touch the other tentacle to a wire you want to test. If the light comes on, that one is hot. If it doesn't, it is not hot.

    If you are going to do any serious work you should get a meter for $10 to $20 at one of the big box stores or radio shack or sears.

    I saw quite a nice selection at L O W S a few weeks ago.
  3. Tim222

    Tim222 New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Thanks for the help!

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