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takingtoolong 02-08-2014 08:30 PM

Electricity but no light
 
3 Attachment(s)
I live in an old house. I cannot see a neutral or ground wire in this box or light fixture. Light does not work. Electronic tester says that there is electricity everywhere, including on the entire lamp. I can touch, without feeling a thing. No other tester, so I cannot tell what the voltage is. Please see pics. Help much appreciated!

How do I fix this?

Colbyt 02-08-2014 09:31 PM

If you have used those CFL bulbs in that fixture for some time, I suggest you try a real light bulb first and a second fixture second (you can buy a single bulb pigtail for a few $.

Those wonderful CFLs may have fried the wires in your fixture. Only two wires in a switch box usually means there should be more wires in the box.

Also that switch does not look like it belongs with the wires in the box

plummen 02-08-2014 10:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by takingtoolong (Post 1303535)
I live in an old house. I cannot see a neutral or ground wire in this box or light fixture. Light does not work. Electronic tester says that there is electricity everywhere, including on the entire lamp. I can touch, without feeling a thing. No other tester, so I cannot tell what the voltage is. Please see pics. Help much appreciated!

How do I fix this?

Its either set up for a switch or for a fixture cant be both with only 2 wires.
Didnt see other pictures.doh

takingtoolong 02-08-2014 10:14 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Colbyt (Post 1303567)
If you have used those CFL bulbs in that fixture for some time, I suggest you try a real light bulb first and a second fixture second (you can buy a single bulb pigtail for a few $.

Those wonderful CFLs may have fried the wires in your fixture. Only two wires in a switch box usually means there should be more wires in the box.

Also that switch does not look like it belongs with the wires in the box

Thanks Colbyt. I tired changing the bulb and fixture. See pic. No luck. There is still every electricity everywhere, including on this new fixture (ceramic, I believe?)

Thanks!! BTW, what did you mean that the switch does not look like it belongs with the wires in the box?

Thanks!!

k_buz 02-08-2014 10:14 PM

You, very clearly, have knob and tube wiring. If you have no experience with electricity or troubleshooting, you should call an electrician. You need to be able to actually meter these wires in order to start figuring out what is going on.

It could be something as simple as a bad switch and a switched neutral (which was very common), or something much more extensive, such as a bad "flying" splice somewhere behind the walls/ceiling.

takingtoolong 02-08-2014 10:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plummen (Post 1303581)
Its either set up for a switch or for a fixture cant be both with only 2 wires.
Didnt see other pictures.doh

Thanks plummen. I think I may be misunderstanding the difference between a switch and fixture. This is just a switch to turn on a light.

plummen 02-08-2014 10:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by takingtoolong (Post 1303592)

Thanks plummen. I think I may be misunderstanding the difference between a switch and fixture. This is just a switch to turn on a light.

Yeah I didnt see all the pictures you posted,im too lazy to walk to the basement to turn computer on so I was trying to see everything on my phone screen. Hahaha
Have you tried installing the fixture and just tying the wires in switch box together with a wire nut to see if theres any differance.

takingtoolong 02-08-2014 11:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plummen (Post 1303597)
Yeah I didnt see all the pictures you posted,im too lazy to walk to the basement to turn computer on so I was trying to see everything on my phone screen. Hahaha
Have you tried installing the fixture and just tying the wires in switch box together with a wire nut to see if theres any differance.

Connected a light fixture directly to the wires coming out of the box, but still no luck. Again shows electricity on the surface of the light fixture.

Stubbie 02-08-2014 11:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by takingtoolong (Post 1303584)
Thanks Colbyt. I tired changing the bulb and fixture. See pic. No luck. There is still every electricity everywhere, including on this new fixture (ceramic, I believe?)

Thanks!! BTW, what did you mean that the switch does not look like it belongs with the wires in the box?

Thanks!!

Like K Buz said you need to be able to meter the voltage. Saying electricity is everywhere isn't telling you anything.

Knob and tube was commonly done with open splices and taped & I 've even seen splices soldered.

Is there an attic above this light fixture ? Cause there has to be a splice somewhere .... :)

plummen 02-08-2014 11:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by takingtoolong (Post 1303615)

Connected a light fixture directly to the wires coming out of the box, but still no luck. Again shows electricity on the surface of the light fixture.

Did you try hooking the light to the wires from light fixture then take the two wires from light switch anf just tying those two together?

takingtoolong 02-09-2014 12:19 AM

Thanks folks. Nothing seems to work. I will give this a break for a few days while i get an electric meter. Will be back at that point. Thanks in the meantime.

dmxtothemax 02-09-2014 01:04 AM

If your tester says it live !
But the light don't work !
Youv'e probably lost your neutral !

Also testers can lie !

You need to load the line down for an accurate test !
If a load makes it go away,
It's a ghost voltage !

gregzoll 02-09-2014 01:11 AM

This does not happen to be a 3-way switched light per chance. In other words, two light switches control it. See the following, regarding Carter System for Knob & Tube wiring. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carter_...#Carter_system There is also the California system that was used back in that day.

Also they used to use fuses for both the Hot & Neutral in Knob & Tube wiring. For more info, see. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knob_and_tube_wiring

takingtoolong 02-09-2014 01:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dmxtothemax (Post 1303634)
If your tester says it live !
But the light don't work !
Youv'e probably lost your neutral !

Also testers can lie !

You need to load the line down for an accurate test !
If a load makes it go away,
It's a ghost voltage !

Thanks dmxtothemax. But what does "load the line down" mean. I did some googling on what's load and line, but what I learned did not help me interpret the meaning of "load the line down". How do I "load the line down"? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

dmclean701 02-09-2014 01:19 AM

If you're using a non-contact tester it is easy to get a false reading. I can make mine show "hot" by touching my finger to it. Get a real volt ohm meter and take some measurements.


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