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Old 12-14-2012, 02:14 PM   #1
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Electrical trouble shoot


I have a three switch gang box with standard single switches serving two lights and a bathroom exhaust fan. I get no lights when circuit is energized. I sniff power at the fixtures when the switch is in the off position, but no lights. There all new switches and fixtures. I wired all neutrals together as per schematic for three switch box. I have checked for loose wire and none found. I am feeding off the mainline from a junction box that also feeds another switch in the gang box that is separate from the others. I am miffed as to why I am not getting lights.

Leonard

P.S. I wired the fixtures to a outlet and they work, so that is not part of the problem.

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Old 12-14-2012, 02:17 PM   #2
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Electrical trouble shoot


Did you make sure that ou did not come from the switch leg of the other switch?
What happens when you turn that switch on?

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Old 12-14-2012, 02:24 PM   #3
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Electrical trouble shoot


The single switch works as it should and the feeds are separate (2-12/2 Romex) off the junction box.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:27 PM   #4
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Electrical trouble shoot


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Originally Posted by Leonard 7 View Post
I sniff power at the fixtures when the switch is in the off position, but no lights.
If there is indeed power at the fixture !
Then the problem must lie in the switch loop,
or the neutral line !

Can you post a pic or draw us a diagram ?
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Old 12-15-2012, 11:28 PM   #5
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Electrical trouble shoot


I have attached a couple of photos of the wire up. Mostly I get this stuff rather well, but this has me a bit miffed.
Thanks for the help guys.
Leonard
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Electrical trouble shoot-img_7237.jpg   Electrical trouble shoot-img_7239.jpg   Electrical trouble shoot-img_7238.jpg  
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:10 AM   #6
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Electrical trouble shoot


Looking at the picture, power comes in on left, three black wires are capped to it, and goes to bottom of three switchs.
Top of the three switchs go to the three feeds 2 x lights , and 1 x fan.
So if power is getting to this point with the switchs OFF
then something is wrong or switchs are wired wrong !
Are all three getting power at fixtures ?

What did you test with ?
Wiggys are not 100% reliable !
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:25 AM   #7
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Electrical trouble shoot


I tested with a light bulb in a plastic socket attached to 2/12 Romex and my sniffer. The odd thing is the sniffer goes off from the fixture out to about a foot diameter and traces the power lead in the celling. All this when switch is in closed position. When switch is in open position no light. My next trouble shoot (after I put a meter to each switch) is to pull all the switches out and connect them one at a time testing if circuit lines works.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:03 AM   #8
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Electrical trouble shoot


Seems pretty simple if cable "A" is your power into the switch box. Could be a loose neutral in the bundle of 5 neutrals wire nutted together. Take you HOT and NEUTRAL from cable ""A" and wire the independently to each of the outgoing cables switch leg and neutral and see if the devices work.

Also looks like you may have a hidden(unaccessible) junction box after wall covering is installed??

Looks like a 4-gang box. What does the swith on the far right...switch #4...control. Why does switch #4 have its own line in from that junction box?
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Last edited by hammerlane; 12-16-2012 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:08 AM   #9
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Electrical trouble shoot


Appears that both the feed coming into the box and the switch on the right are wired to the octagon box, can you pull the other switch out and snap a pic of it?
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:23 AM   #10
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Electrical trouble shoot


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Appears that both the feed coming into the box and the switch on the right are wired to the octagon box, can you pull the other switch out and snap a pic of it?
Was looking at that also. If the armored cable to the octagonal box is bringing power in, wire "H" is always hot. Wire "G" is taking power to switches 1,2, and 3. Wire "I" is taking power to switch 4. Where is the switch leg from switch #4?? What is it powering.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:32 AM   #11
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Electrical trouble shoot


I'm guessing the fourth switch works.
If it does, the armor cable is a 'switch loop' that will have no neutral.
It needs a new feed into the four gang box.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:53 AM   #12
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Electrical trouble shoot


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Originally Posted by Gac66610 View Post
I'm guessing the fourth switch works.
If it does, the armor cable is a 'switch loop' that will have no neutral.
It needs a new feed into the four gang box.
You're right.

I wonder if switches 1,2, and 3 were add ons for a remodel??
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:34 AM   #13
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Electrical trouble shoot


what voltage does your meter read when you test the wires? Pen testers are useless in this situation.
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Old 12-16-2012, 11:48 AM   #14
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Electrical trouble shoot


You have a few violations;
1. Romex connector not listed for AC cable.
2. Missing anti-short.
3. Box is grounded using cable clamp screw with clamp still present.
4. Parallel feeds to the switch box. A & E are both feeds.
5. Are you planning on burying the metal box?
6. Grounds are doubled up under clamp screw.

You only have three switch legs.
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Last edited by electures; 12-16-2012 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:16 PM   #15
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Electrical trouble shoot


My guess is an open neutral from the BX back to the source.

This can be confirmed by attaching a small load from the BX white to a known good neutral that doesn't involve a GFI or AFCI. If the lights and fan work this way, the neutral is indeed open. If not, it's something else.

I wouldn't put too much faith in non-contact voltage testers; they are notorious for indicating voltage when there is none. An actual load is the only way to be certain.

Rob

PS. What does the 4th switch do? If it's connected to white and black, it'll create a dead short.


Last edited by micromind; 12-16-2012 at 12:21 PM. Reason: Added PS
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