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Old 02-09-2014, 01:43 AM   #16
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Electricity but no light


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Originally Posted by dmclean701 View Post
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.
Thanks dmclean701. On my agenda to get a volt ohm meter next week. Will be back after that. Thanks.

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Old 02-09-2014, 01:51 AM   #17
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Electricity but no light


Well .... another question. Would you guys recommend a volt meter? I see that Home Depot has many, but I am not sure which one to get. Suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks as always.
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Old 02-09-2014, 01:55 AM   #18
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Electricity but no light


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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
I am afraid that I do not know if it is a 3-way, but I strongly suspect not. Moved into this house recently and now getting around to dealing with this room!! The light never worked in this room. I doubt that it is 3-way though, because it is a bedroom and there is only one light switch in the room, which is located right next to the door. Thanks though!!
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Old 02-09-2014, 04:23 AM   #19
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Electricity but no light


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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.
To load the line down means to put a load of some description on the line !

For instance just a 100w light bulb would do nicely !
So test the line before !
Then attach a load (light bulb) and see if the test still indicates live ?
If the reading changes with a load on it, then there's a good chance it's
a "ghost voltage". or "phantom voltage"

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Old 02-09-2014, 09:00 AM   #20
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Electricity but no light


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

Thanks!!

Answering your question in non-technical terms, two of the ways switches may be wired are:

1. source, cable to switch, cable to outlet. This means at least 4 wires in the switch box usually 2 white and 2 black ( plus grounds on modern stuff).

2. source cable ran to the outlet box, and then a cable routed to the switch box where the white is recolored to black. This means only two wires (plus maybe a ground) in the switch box. With this method the entire cable going to the switch box is simply providing a switched loop for the hot wire. I forget the name of this type and it is/was only permitted at the end of circuits.

A simple piece of advice, leave all the fancy electronic testers in the tool box and buy a simple tester to use. Something like this http://www.amazon.com/Michigan-Indus...lectric+tester All those toys have a purpose but for finding live wires without false readings, simple can't be beat.

I also agree that it looks like K&T and you may be reading feedback over the neutral.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:18 AM   #21
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Electricity but no light


A three way switch is not labeled On or Off. A single pole switch will be labeled On and Off.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:34 AM   #22
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Electricity but no light


Since there are ony 2 wires in each box there has to be a splice in another location. With K&T it is usually in the attic or basement.

After you get a meter that reads actual voltage run an extension cord from a known working receptacle test from the cord to each of the wires at the fixture box with the switch on and off.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:34 AM   #23
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Electricity but no light


Meters are useless without the knowledge of how to use them. What do you meter to what in the case of K&T?
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Old 02-09-2014, 01:17 PM   #24
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Electricity but no light


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Originally Posted by takingtoolong View Post
Well .... another question. Would you guys recommend a volt meter? I see that Home Depot has many, but I am not sure which one to get. Suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks as always.
Yes you should have one. I have a Sperry 10 setting for testing Resistance, Ac & Dc voltage, and continuity.
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Old 02-09-2014, 01:18 PM   #25
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Electricity but no light


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A three way switch is not labeled On or Off. A single pole switch will be labeled On and Off.
None of the Single Poles that I have, are labeled On or off.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:56 AM   #26
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Electricity but no light


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Originally Posted by Colbyt View Post
Answering your question in non-technical terms, two of the ways switches may be wired are:

1. source, cable to switch, cable to outlet. This means at least 4 wires in the switch box usually 2 white and 2 black ( plus grounds on modern stuff).

2. source cable ran to the outlet box, and then a cable routed to the switch box where the white is recolored to black. This means only two wires (plus maybe a ground) in the switch box. With this method the entire cable going to the switch box is simply providing a switched loop for the hot wire. I forget the name of this type and it is/was only permitted at the end of circuits.

A simple piece of advice, leave all the fancy electronic testers in the tool box and buy a simple tester to use. Something like this http://www.amazon.com/Michigan-Indus...lectric+tester All those toys have a purpose but for finding live wires without false readings, simple can't be beat.

I also agree that it looks like K&T and you may be reading feedback over the neutral.
Many thanks Colbyt. I got myself a proper voltage meter. See my next post.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:03 AM   #27
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Electricity but no light


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Since there are ony 2 wires in each box there has to be a splice in another location. With K&T it is usually in the attic or basement.

After you get a meter that reads actual voltage run an extension cord from a known working receptacle test from the cord to each of the wires at the fixture box with the switch on and off.
Thanks rjniles!. I did as you suggested. I ran an extension cord to the box. See first picture below. I tested for electricity at the exposed wires going into the extension cord. There is 120V there. A light bulb from these exposed wires also works. However, there is no electricity at the light bulb on the ceiling. See 2nd picture below.

Any suggestions on what I do from here? If it matters, the false electricity readings I was getting with the electronic meter has changed somewhat. The electronic tester shows voltage only in the brownish/creamish wire, not the black wire.
Attached Thumbnails
Electricity but no light-20140219_085402.jpg   Electricity but no light-20140219_085422.jpg  

Last edited by takingtoolong; 02-19-2014 at 08:07 AM. Reason: Forgot pictures
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:25 AM   #28
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Electricity but no light


If you can operate a light from those two wires in the switch box there should be two more wires in the box going to the light...hot and neutral.

Also you only have two wires to test on knob and tube, how are you determining which wire has voltage on it? And what was the voltage reading?
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:33 AM   #29
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If you can operate a light from those two wires in the switch box there should be two more wires in the box going to the light...hot and neutral.

Also you only have two wires to test on knob and tube, how are you determining which wire has voltage on it? And what was the voltage reading?
Thanks Stubbie. I can operate a light going from the exposed bits of the 2 wires in the switch box. The reason I did this was to confirm that the wires in the switch box were getting electricity from the drop cord. Volt meter also says that there is voltage on the exposed bits of the wires.

I am not sure I understand what you are saying ..... I just rigged up a light from the exposed wires ..... I disconnected the the light when I took this picture.

I don't know how to determine which of the wires has voltage? The electronic tester says that the creamish/borwnish one has electricity. Thanks!!+
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:42 AM   #30
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Electricity but no light


Were those 2 wires in the switch box connected to the switch when you took it out? Or are there two more wires in the box ?

Reason I'm asking is if you can operate a light bulb (normal brightness) from those wires then you have a incoming hot and incoming neutral wire. If that is the case when you operate the switch it would be a dead short and a fuse should blow or breaker should trip.

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Last edited by Stubbie; 02-19-2014 at 08:44 AM.
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