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Old 04-19-2007, 12:01 AM   #1
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I have 5 outlets and 3 light switches in my living room that do not work. I have one outlet in my bedroom that does not. I have one outlet and 1 light switch in my bedroom that does work. What's the problem? I've tried everything that I can think of. There is no GFCI on that circuit. I replaced all outlets and switches. That did not work. I have a non contact voltage tester and it's telling me that I do have voltage in those areas. I have a 3 prong outlet tester and it reads that there is an open hot but I'm not really sure. The one outlet that does work is wired correctly. Are there any other suggestions, please? Thank you!

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Old 04-19-2007, 12:14 AM   #2
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it sounds like an open neutral to me check all of your neutral connections in anything on that circuit that could be feeding those plugs.
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Old 04-19-2007, 05:57 AM   #3
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Thanks Gooch!

I went through all of the outlets and switches again and all of the nuetrals seem to be in place and secure. Is there any other way to check? Could there be a possibly be a problem in the breaker box? What about light fixtures? 2 of the switches control hallway lights and 1 the outside porch light. Should I check those?
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Old 04-19-2007, 06:54 AM   #4
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Have you flipped ALL possible circuit breakers completely OFF before flipping them back on?
I am NOT a pro electrician, and of course I have no idea of what you're working with, but I've seen similar circumstances where there was an exterior or interior opposite-wall outlet that had a gfci receptacle that was tripped, causing the rest of a circuit to not function.
Check for a gfci (possibly "hidden" like that) in the wiring somewhere, too, and test/re-set it.
Could be a number of things.
Good Luck!
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Old 04-19-2007, 09:14 AM   #5
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Check the connections on the neutrals for all the receptacles and switches on that circuit that are STILL working. You could have a loose connection on an outgoing wire that is causing your problem.
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Old 04-19-2007, 10:56 AM   #6
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Is there any event that precipitated the failure? Things usually do not stop working for no good reason. Also, you may have compounded the problem by swapping out the switches and outlets if you didn't get everything back exactly like it should.


I am borrowing this picture from
http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/switc...tion/index.htm

It is a common DIY mistake when replacing outlets that, if necessary, the bridge (labeled 4 and 11) are not removed. These are not always removed but are when you have separate feeds for the top and bottom of the outlet (Like when half is switched). If you have your old outlets look at them and see if any have this tab removed.
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Old 04-19-2007, 11:54 AM   #7
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Brik,

At the time when the power went out I was actually vacuuming. I did check the old receptacles and yes those tabs had been removed. What now? Am I getting closer?

Thanks to all for the responses!
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Old 04-19-2007, 11:57 AM   #8
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do you have a multimeter??? if so, check voltage between the black wire and ground (bare copper) and the white wire and ground and then test from black to white. Tell us what your readings are after you test that stuff and we can probably tell you what it is. Sounds like an open neutral probably in a junction box somewhere. Probably overloaded the circuit somehow and melted a wirenut off causing the neutrals to open. Nothing will work without an open neutral.
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Old 04-19-2007, 12:05 PM   #9
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I don't have a multimeter but I will get one after work and try that out. Thanks!
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Old 04-19-2007, 12:09 PM   #10
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I wouln't go for an expensive one if you aren't going to use it that much, just one that will tell you voltage (wiggy) will do fine, then post your voltages here and we can probably give you a very good guess
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Old 04-19-2007, 12:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by POOK View Post
Brik,

At the time when the power went out I was actually vacuuming. I did check the old receptacles and yes those tabs had been removed. What now? Am I getting closer?

Thanks to all for the responses!
Well, if one or more of the old ones had the tabs removed the new ones should most likely also have the same tabs removed. Any chance you know which came from which location and you can make that change? Once you do at least, if you put all the wires in the same spots, you will be back where you started.

As for multi meters - No need, in my opinion. One of those neon light testes is all you need. Multi meters can be too sensitive for this job.

Hopefully your original problem was just a bad connection or a bad outlet and properly putting in the outlets, configured the same way, will fix your problem.
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Old 04-19-2007, 12:49 PM   #12
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configuration of the wires has nothing to do with it. and if not breaking a tab off was the problem, then the breaker would trip. again not the problem. if he was vacuuming when it happened, it is probably a melted wirenut or connection of sometime. Needing to know the voltage on each conductor is a BASIC part of troubleshooting a circuit. the little neon light will still show voltage on the neutral from devices upstream. you need to know voltage. not just if voltage is present.
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Old 04-19-2007, 07:46 PM   #13
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Okay hbsparky. This is what I got. Hopefully I did this right. I tested each outlet, including the one that is working. The one that works read at 124V. The rest of the outlets didnt even make it to 1. I read them at 00.1 at the highest range and .066 at the lowest range. Did I do that right?

Oh! I should mention that the outlets were all two prong outlets with no grounding wires. Also two of those outlets have 2 hot wires and 2 neutral wires.

Last edited by POOK; 04-19-2007 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 04-19-2007, 09:26 PM   #14
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yeah the ones with two of each are feed thru's to the other outlets. the voltage you are ready is just stray voltage. are you sure that you have flipped ALL the breakers off then back on???
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Old 04-19-2007, 10:09 PM   #15
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Yep. All breakers have been turned on and off. Could it be a bad breaker? I have 2 empty breakers. Should I switch with one of them and try that?

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