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Old 12-18-2007, 06:21 PM   #16
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lost power to 1 thing in 4 different places...


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Originally Posted by ManMythLegend View Post
I do know that the electrical outlet 4 feet away from this switch can be turned off by one breaker that doesn't seem to control anything else.
check to see if this outlet has at least 2 sets of wires in it.(2 whites 2 blacks)If it has more than 1 set it is feeding something else, your fan/light switch most likely. Check your connection for power on both sets, put one tester lead on the screw with the black the other on the screw with the white wire. Make sure there is a little metal tab connecting the top screws to the bottom screws. Also are there any other splices wirenutted in the receptacle box or the switch box that is not directly hooked up to the switch or plug.

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Old 12-18-2007, 06:21 PM   #17
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lost power to 1 thing in 4 different places...


Being an older house, the ground wires may not actually be grounded.


To test for power with your tester, you need a known ground. It can get tricky.


I am thinking that the problem is BEFORE the switch. I may have to leave in about 30 minutes but I'll do what I can till then. Let me know what you find.
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:24 PM   #18
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lost power to 1 thing in 4 different places...


This outlet has nothing to do with the combo switch. It has aluminum wires. All wires leading into the switch box are copper...Could the wiring be jacked up at the ceiling fan? I have to leave my house for a couple hours. I'll be right back on as soon as I'm back. Thanks for everything!!!
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:25 PM   #19
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I'll stick around for 30 minutes then...
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:28 PM   #20
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Alum branch wires on 60 YO house ??

i am more thinking it is copper with tin coating due the natrual rubber interact with copper.

the only surefire way is look at the end of wire if you see copperish colour in the centre then it is tin/copper clad type.

you may have to scrape a little on the end to verify it if all shiney sliver like then you got alum wire on branch circuit then this will change the whole thing for troubleshooting. belive me this going be pain in ase on this one.

Merci, Marc
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:40 PM   #21
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lost power to 1 thing in 4 different places...


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Could the wiring be jacked up at the ceiling fan?
In an old house that has been reworked many times, ANYTHING is possible.

If the CF and light worked before on that combo switch it is unlikely that the problem is there. Unlikely but not impossible. To do this right you need simple testing devices like continuity and a "no contact" tester that reads the EMF and doesn't need a ground.


Barring this the next step is:

Try to find the logical spot the cable feeding the sw box comes from. If it is an outlet you replaces, open it and check connections.
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:41 PM   #22
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There is only one set of wires in the outlet. The wires look identical to the aluminum wires in black and deckers, Complete Guide to Home Wiring. No splices. No wire nuts. The next closest receptacle has 3 sets of wires...all just black and white copper wires. The set in the switch box has a ground.
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:50 PM   #23
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Try to find the logical spot the cable feeding the sw box comes from. If it is an outlet you replaced, open it and check connections.

You need to find where the feed to the switch box originated. Obviously it was a "recent" addition and may be in the attic or worse.


I still STRONGLY suspect improper terminations in one of the receps you replaces. Was there ground wires in any of those?
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:54 PM   #24
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I just went through the remaining 2 and no ground wires. I may have to climb into the attic tomorrow I guess, but what am i looking for?
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:05 PM   #25
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find out where the wires are coming through the ceiling in the attic from the switch. One will be going to the fan, the other wire will be going to the power source of the switch assuming the wire was run through the attic. Trace it out where the power source wire goes and where it terminates, it might be terminated in the attic or it may go back down to the level below. It could also not be run in the attic it could be going straight down to the basement or be coming from another outlet or switch on an adjacent wall, in all likelyhood it is coming from a device that you replaced
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:07 PM   #26
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Look for a junction box where the may have tapped an existing circuit to feed the CF switch. It may have a newer style cable coming out of it along with the existing older style cable.

If there is individual wires strung all over your attic like clothes lines...seek help.

The problem isn't necessarily at the point where the CF switch feed originated. It could be anywhere on that circuit. Try to visualize the cable going from the breaker to point A, then to point B,C,D and E in a somewhat logical order. Older houses often had the hot circuits running thru the ceiling light boxes also. That's why the answers to ALL of my questions were critical. On false move and you end up going in the wrong direction.

Gotta go now
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:12 PM   #27
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Before you get too far along, check for a tripped GFCI receptacle. It is possible, with various remodels over the years, a GFCI was added that affects these items. Look in the bathrooms, garage, and outside.
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:18 PM   #28
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I found a blank outlet cover to what use to be a switch or outlet and I think it has the same wires as the Combo Switch. Only it has 3 sets of wires. Two old sets of copper black, and white wire. The new wires have black, red, white, bare. All whites are together, the red and bare stand alone, and all blacks are seperated... only one black is hot.
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:19 PM   #29
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No GFCI receptacles anywhere.
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:35 PM   #30
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Apparently I must have shaken the black wires loose when I was messing with the combo switch....I put them back together and my doorbell works, my ceiling fan, light, and switch works, and my bathroom fan works again! I can't believe it...You guys have been awesome thanks for everything!

My laundry room light still doesn't work though... ...

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