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Old 11-10-2013, 05:15 PM   #1
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Circuit half dead/half alive


My electric space heater failed on a 15 amp circuit (it was most certainly overloaded) and now stuff isn't working. The breaker did not trip, rather the heater just went off. I traced the circuit from my breaker, and it seems that the stuff on the first half of the run is fine (kitchen ceiling light, switch to an outdoor light, living room ceiling light, and living room ceiling fan.) After that point, every else is dead. First is a dining room ceiling light, then four living room receptacles. The heater was on one of the receptacles, and I believe that was the one at the end of the run, since it only had one wire to it. I replaced all the 4 receptacles. Still with no change in results. Wire tester says everything on the circuit is getting electricity. Don't have a multimeter to check actual voltage.

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Old 11-10-2013, 05:20 PM   #2
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Circuit half dead/half alive


bad/burnt neutral ..??

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Old 11-10-2013, 05:25 PM   #3
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Circuit half dead/half alive


I checked them all, especially the on the receptacle that the heater was on. They all looked fine.
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:41 PM   #4
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Circuit half dead/half alive


since you do not have the proper equipment to answer your own questions let alone mine ...hang on a second ... i'll check ...LMAO
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:44 PM   #5
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The problem is upstream in a receptacle that appears to be working.
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:04 PM   #6
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Actually, there are no receptacles on the circuit that work. Only lights or fans that are on switches. Problem in a switch?

Here's a weird thing I noticed: When I flip on the switch to the dining room light (which doesn't work) my wire tester says sounds off on both the hot and neutral wires for the 4 receptacles that are not working. When the switch is off, just the hot wire sets off the wire tester.
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:07 PM   #7
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Circuit half dead/half alive


how many black and whites wires are in the switch box ??
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:11 PM   #8
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Actually, there are no receptacles on the circuit that work. Only lights or fans that are on switches. Problem in a switch?
Where was the heater plugged in if there are no receptacles?
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:35 PM   #9
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Circuit half dead/half alive


Sorry Jim, I thought you referring to part of the circuit that was still working when you said "appears to be working". The heater was at the end of the 4 not-working receptacles.

The switch to the dining room light has one black and one white (just one line to it). I expected to see a black in and a black out with whites pigtailed. The white is the hot "in" and the black is the hot "out" - at least according to the wire tester.
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:43 PM   #10
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Circuit half dead/half alive


One thing to remember is that many devices act as a splice point between the pair of wires coming in and the pair out to anything downstream. While the incoming may work, the downstream connections can be compromised or completely failed.
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:50 PM   #11
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Circuit half dead/half alive


Thanks. I'll try taking the light fixture apart and seeing if there is anything obvious in it, that's the only thing I haven't completely disassembled/reassembled.
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:54 PM   #12
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Circuit half dead/half alive


Use a piece of paper, draw a layout of the house,
Draw in everything you know was on that circuit,
Draw in the cables between everything
Note where you have power and where you dont,
Somewher in between those two points is the most likely place
for the burnt out splice/joint.
Pay particular attention to the neutrals.
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:00 PM   #13
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Circuit half dead/half alive


OK. The light fixture appears to be the first part of the circuit that isn't working, so hopefully something will turn up there.
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:01 PM   #14
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Thanks. I'll try taking the light fixture apart and seeing if there is anything obvious in it, that's the only thing I haven't completely disassembled/reassembled.

agreed ....
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:22 PM   #15
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Circuit half dead/half alive


While you are up at the light, I would mark that white feeding the switch with a black sharpie. You do not want to confuse it with the other white neutrals in the box.

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