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Old 01-18-2011, 10:10 PM   #1
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Electrical problem


Lights in 3 different rooms shutting off at the same time.I have replace 3 switches and 3 recepticles that were very old. (this did not help) Lights would not stay on longer that a few seconds before shutting off again an obvious short. (On for a few off for a few) upon further investigation found a red wire from a light going to one of the switches I replaced that was broken and sparking. cut bad part out of wire and replaced it to the switch. Thought this fixed it because all lights stayed on for over half an hour. Then this started again. Breaker was replaced at the same time switches and recepticles were replaced. I nornally can figure out household electrical problems but this one is baffling me. I have not checked light fixture connections yet. Any advise would be appreciated.
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:19 PM   #2
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Sure sounds like a loose connection somewhere. Are the three rooms all on the same circuit/circuit breaker? If so, turn the breaker off and find every switch, receptacle, and light outlet that is on the circuit. Once that is done, open every one up, one at a time, and check all the wire nuts and screws.

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Old 01-18-2011, 11:12 PM   #3
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Are there any other lights on the same breaker that are not effectted ?
If it is effectting multiple lights then it should be some thing common
to them all.
Like the power feed,
Turn off power,
Beware of other live circuits,
Start at the lights and work backwards,
checking all connections and cables.
Could also be a faulty breaker or fuse holder.

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Lights in 3 different rooms shutting off at the same time.I have replace 3 switches and 3 recepticles that were very old. (this did not help) Lights would not stay on longer that a few seconds before shutting off again an obvious short. (On for a few off for a few) upon further investigation found a red wire from a light going to one of the switches I replaced that was broken and sparking. cut bad part out of wire and replaced it to the switch. Thought this fixed it because all lights stayed on for over half an hour. Then this started again. Breaker was replaced at the same time switches and recepticles were replaced. I nornally can figure out household electrical problems but this one is baffling me. I have not checked light fixture connections yet. Any advise would be appreciated.
Dennis
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:57 AM   #4
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I have opened them all up on circuit 13 (the affected circuit) and changed the outlets and switches so I know all connections are tight on 13. I am wondering if circuit n 11 is feeding 13 somehow because when #13 breaker is turned off some of the outlets on #11 give me a reading on my tester that the hot and ground are reversed (when both breakers are on those outlets are reading correct). Again I have replaced both breakers #11 and #13 so thats not the issue. Almost every outlet and switch in this house are very old except the ones I have replaced . very loose when something is plugged into the recepticles and the switch levers wiggle alot. I am going to try replacing all outlets and switches on circuit 11 today to see if this helps..Any other suggestions would be appreciated. (My mother n law Is afraid to sleep in that house)
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:52 PM   #5
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Some testers can give false readings,
especially if it is an high impedance tool, IE digital,
Try using a low impedance moving coil type volt meter,
and see if the readings are still valid.
This problem is getting deeper and deeper into the do do,
Consider calling in an electricain.
Do you use ring circuits in the USA ?

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I have opened them all up on circuit 13 (the affected circuit) and changed the outlets and switches so I know all connections are tight on 13. I am wondering if circuit n 11 is feeding 13 somehow because when #13 breaker is turned off some of the outlets on #11 give me a reading on my tester that the hot and ground are reversed (when both breakers are on those outlets are reading correct). Again I have replaced both breakers #11 and #13 so thats not the issue. Almost every outlet and switch in this house are very old except the ones I have replaced . very loose when something is plugged into the recepticles and the switch levers wiggle alot. I am going to try replacing all outlets and switches on circuit 11 today to see if this helps..Any other suggestions would be appreciated. (My mother n law Is afraid to sleep in that house)
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:34 PM   #6
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Did the lights go off because the breaker tripped, or did the lights go off by themselves with the breaker still on?

Is there one particular light that aggravates the proglem, that is, if that light was not turned on the problem does not happen?
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:39 PM   #7
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Hot and ground reversed on such testers usually means a bad neutral connection ... with the "neutral" actually being hot, due to backfeeding through connected loads.

You need to check all the neutral connections, including wire-nuts tucked into the back of switch boxes, outlets, and even ceiling light boxes. These are usually the white wires.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:14 AM   #8
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The breaker did not trip when lights go out which is why I am scratchin my head a little. I turned breaker back on last night for about 3 hours and The lights did not shut off although they flickered once. I am still not confident I found the problem because the day before they stayed on for half an hour before starting the intermitted shut offs. I did nothing else to the circuit yesterday just shut off the breaker till I got additional info. I turned on the breaker last night so I could check to be sure I know every light and outlet on that circuit. I am not sure what a ring circuit is to answer dmxtothemax.
kbsparky I have found 1 broken neutral and a broken ground and a broken red wire coming from light to switch so far. (I fixed these issues) It is better than it was . Before the lights would either not come on at all or only stay on for a few minutes.

Allanj : I do recall one trouble switch that seemed to activate problem the first day I was looking into this electric problem. I have not replaced that one yet because until last night I did not know every outlet, switch, and light on this circuit.
Thanks for assist. so far
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:32 AM   #9
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Tighten all the neutral/ground connections on the neutral buss bar?

Turn off all of the breakers.
Go to the buss bar with all the white, and bare wires, and tighten all the screws a little.
Turn the breakers back on.

Bob

Last edited by Hourglass52; 01-20-2011 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:45 AM   #10
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[quote=DENIAM72170;573614I am wondering if circuit n 11 is feeding 13 somehow because when #13 breaker is turned off some of the outlets on #11 give me a reading on my tester that the hot and ground are reversed (when both breakers are on those outlets are reading correct). [/quote]

what are the reading on the receptacles with breaker 13 on and #11 off?
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:00 PM   #11
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Electrical problem


THe problem has been fixed I found an outlet on circuit 13 that was not known to be on that circuit in the garage away from all the other ones in the house it was closest to the breaker box. The coating on the neutral wires were burned about an inch up away from outlet and bare wires exposed. Since this was a real old outlet it did not have screws on side it only had push in type connection and the holes were burned out so connection to neutral was very loose hense the intermitted lights and receptacles. I assume since it was in garage where it is very cold wires were expanding and contracting with weather. (maybe thats why lights would stay on longer sometimes and othertimes would not come on at all or only a few minutes before shutting off) THanks to all who have helped me. Dennis
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:56 PM   #12
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When I think of all the houses we stab-locked in Tennessee in the late 70"s. All junk.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:03 PM   #13
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I knew it was a bad neutral somewhere .... I have never seen hot and ground reversed, although those plug-in testers will try to tell you that on many occasions.

Glad you found it.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbsparky View Post
I knew it was a bad neutral somewhere .... I have never seen hot and ground reversed, although those plug-in testers will try to tell you that on many occasions.

Glad you found it.
I can only think it was back feeding due to neutral wires not having proper connection cause it only read like that on tester when lights, & outlets downstream shut off. It read correct when everything was on.
Thanks you steered me in right direction in what to look for.....it's been 7 hours now and everythings fine. My mother n law will sleep good tonight.

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