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Old 06-03-2007, 10:00 AM   #16
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Would a $10 pen style "hot wire tester" be in order here? That's what I used at first and it worked fine for me. I know they aren't nearly as good as a multimeter but they are easy to use when you have only two wires. I always had to check the wires about 5 or 6 times before I was comfortable with the results but they usually treated me really well. I would recommend triple checking with one if that route seems feasible to the pros.

And I am a bit concerned about the stranded wire too. Even the stupid 12 volt night lights that were in my ceiling had solid wire......

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Old 06-03-2007, 10:44 AM   #17
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Keyser....Best idea posted. I did not think about it.....Thanks
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Old 06-03-2007, 11:46 AM   #18
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Problem with a proximity tester is that with older wire it will most likely show hot for both. I've found them to be useless with older wiring.
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Old 06-03-2007, 12:07 PM   #19
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According to my Wiggy, that only works for DC circuits.

I use mine every day; it works on AC circuits.
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Old 06-03-2007, 12:11 PM   #20
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I use mine every day; it works on AC circuits.
Must be a new feature. My 10 year old one shows no difference when the probes are interchanged on hot and neutral. Any idea how a solenoid can tell polarity on an AC circuit (question credits to Petey)?
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Old 06-04-2007, 12:55 AM   #21
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North South East West Up Down is a relative notion that you may understand, but magnetism is in no way connected. A giro may give you a static spot in space but will not explain a Neutron star or a Pulsar (a spinning Neutron star) both have magnetic fields but are in no way electrified.
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Old 06-04-2007, 01:07 AM   #22
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Can I ask the techs. really, whats the diff. anyway?
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Old 06-04-2007, 04:51 AM   #23
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Can I ask the techs. really, whats the diff. anyway?
Between hot and neutral? Both carry current, of course, but the neutral is deliberately connected to ground. When properly installed, a light fixture's screwshell is connected to neutral, and the little tab in the bottom is hot. Safer replacing lamps that way.
There are other reasons for grounding a circuit conductor, but I won't get into that here.
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Old 06-04-2007, 05:20 AM   #24
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Using the tester of your choice, wet one finger and hold one probe with it. Test to each wire seperately. The higher voltage reading is the hot. This works well with the cheep little light bulb testers as well.
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:11 AM   #25
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Thanks for all the options.

Marc
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:54 AM   #26
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Problem with a proximity tester is that with older wire it will most likely show hot for both. I've found them to be useless with older wiring.
My wires both show hot when the switch is off and one shows hot when the switch is on. I was told this was a product of the wiring. The only thing I learned to be careful off is touching wire A and getting a beep from wire B that was close by. I didn't know they were called proximity testers. Perfect name. Shows hot for anything in close proximity.

I crushed one when it kept saying hot on everything, rubbed on a wall, hot... They are better than the wet fingers idea but only by a little. Like I said, if I'm using one I test several times.
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:58 AM   #27
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Using the tester of your choice, wet one finger and hold one probe with it. Test to each wire seperately. The higher voltage reading is the hot. This works well with the cheep little light bulb testers as well.

Are you seriuos? Wet fingers holding one prope while touching the other prope to a live wire????

I was going to suggest the proximty tester, but that may not work since they will indicate current in close proximity. The one I have seems to pick up current in the wall. In no way depend on the switch be wired to the hot wire. I have been there done that several years ago, never again!
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Old 06-04-2007, 12:45 PM   #28
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They are better than the wet fingers idea but only by a little.
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Are you seriuos? Wet fingers holding one prope while touching the other prope to a live wire????
I am totally serious. I do this all the time on 120 volt circuits, have done the math, and have even used two testers to see what voltage and amperage one tester will allow through.

Without going into the specifics of how electrical testers work, I can assure you that this method is safe. Just be sure you have it set on the voltage scale not the amperage scale.
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Old 06-04-2007, 08:16 PM   #29
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Gotcha JohnJo and I salute you, makes perfect sense.
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Old 06-07-2007, 02:07 PM   #30
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Decaying wire insulation is probably from heat from the light itself. Unlikely, but possible, there may be slack in the bx cable; you could pull out 6-10", carefully cut the sheathing, and have fresher wire. Another alternative is to use heat-shrink tubing to cover each wire as far into the sheathing as it goes. Wiring the fan will move the wire around, shedding more of its rubber coating. The plastic tubing will help keep it from shorting out. Don't bend the old wires more than you need to, they're fragile from age and use, and it's a real pain if one breaks. Splice in a couple of braided wire extenders and leave the old wires at peace at the top. Mount the ground right to the box.
Also remember that the fan must have good support from the box. You don't want it falling on your diningroom table or bed. Many older light boxes are mounted right onto the old gaslight tubing, which it good; you can tell from the box mount fitting. Try wiggling it ( or hanging off it ) to see how sturdy it is. If it's not, there are special hanger boxes just for fans and chandeliers. But putting one in will move the wires even more, so be gentle.

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