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Old 08-18-2012, 08:20 AM   #16
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Thanks to all - one last question.....just thought of something quirky.

Let me start by describing what was in the four boxes at the end of the circuit first when I found the bad receptacle:

1 - Last and furthest. Outside light box with a disconnected and capped hot, neutral, and ground. Fixture removed.

2 - Next in. The light switch, with a hot connected to a two way switch going to #1, and one going to #3. Neutral nutted - one going to #1, and one #3. Ground connected to #1 and #3.

3 - Good receptacle, with a hot going to #2, and a hot going to #4. Same for neutral and ground. Originally tested "correct" with receptacle detector, even with bad receptacle #4 in place.

4 - Receptacle with neutral tab missing as described above. Properly connected to #3, and the outlet preceding in line. Originally tested "correct" with receptacle detector even with tab missing.

While working my way down the line, I didn't notice the tab missing on #4 initially, and proceeded to #3, identifying it as the last connection before the switch. As I disconnected the line to #2, the receptacle tester picked up the open neutral for the first time on #3.

Here is the quirky part. With the line to #2 disconnected, #3 showed open neutral on the receptacle tester. By connecting the neutral temporarily from #2 to #3 to receptacle #3, in addition to the neutral to #4, the receptacle tester shower "correct" for #3 again, even though this neutral wire was simply nutted in the switch box and terminated capped in the light box outside (around 20 feet away). Disconnected the line from 2 to 3, and I got open neutral again.

I didn't have a multitester at this point. I found and replaced the obviously damaged receptacle #4, and all showed "correct". I was able to properly wire the original light at the switch (#2) as an initial test, and outside receptacle (#1) and it lit properly for the first time both times.

Checked voltage (hot to ground and then hot to neutral) at all receptacles and switches (all new and all installed properly) with identical 120 volt results after purchasing a multitester the next morning. Everything is working properly, and the new light is installed.

Does this all sound OK to you all - would reconnecting an essentially disconnected neutral (terminating in the box outside) to #3 add enough resistance to show "correct" on the receptacle tester? Should I be doing any additional tests on the neutral from #1 to #2 and #2 to #3?

Thanks for the comments, patience, and advice. Last thing I want to do is cause a problem, and I may well be over-thinking this one. Appreciate you all!


Last edited by dhartlein; 08-18-2012 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 08-18-2012, 09:22 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
I wonder why the original electrical contractor didn't figure that out during construction?

Let's see...
Lazy, rushed, didn't care, new guy covering mistake, not my problem, won't see it from my house, didn't check it, etc. Just pick one.


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