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Old 11-17-2010, 02:20 PM   #16
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Was my house wired by Stoned Hippies or am I an Idiot?


Victory Brewing Company West Chester. Yes you can just make sure the wires are all separated when you turn the power on. Can not give exact location CIA operative, just outside Philly Levittown, PA. Your son sounds like he knows what to do.
If not post back here there are guys on here that really know what's going on. Lot's of pro's that help out.

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Old 11-17-2010, 02:38 PM   #17
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Victory Brewing Company West Chester. Yes you can just make sure the wires are all separated when you turn the power on. Can not give exact location CIA operative, just outside Philly Levittown, PA. Your son sounds like he knows what to do.
If not post back here there are guys on here that really know what's going on. Lot's of pro's that help out.

LOL knew you had to be close! Although had a guy in Navy bootcamp that would tell you 'about" where you were from just by the food you said you liked! haha

Will update you tomorrow! Thanks
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:29 PM   #18
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Was my house wired by Stoned Hippies or am I an Idiot?


Some test instruments can give false positives,
especially those with high impedances.
Even digital multimeters can give false readings.
Use a test lamp or an anologue voltmeter.

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House was built in the early to mid 60's, Two story twin in NE Philadelphia. I opened up the walls and ceiling in the three bedrooms upstairs to add insulation, swap out outlets and switches, and installed ceiling fans. I will be the first to admit electricity is NOT my best friend.

I purchased a Klein non contact electrical tester, (red and beeping = hot, solid green = dead). I turn on all the lights in the dining room and kitchen and proceed to turn off circuit breakers until the lights go out. I take the tester to the four wires/cables that I know run the kitchen and dining room. One side of the cables/wires is red and beeping and the other side is green?! I turn the breakers back on and test the cables/wires again and get the same results only opposite sides?

From what I have read and remember from HS shop class if you KILL the breaker you are suppose to KILL the power? Am I missing something? Using the tester wrong? Or am I a complete IDIOT?

PLEASE HELP?!!!!

Thank YOU!!!!
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Old 11-18-2010, 05:33 AM   #19
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Was my house wired by Stoned Hippies or am I an Idiot?


I did use a voltmeter last night kind of. What I mean is I tested the outlets "HOT" and was averaging around 122 v. There isn't alot of light in the house, (only the lamps I carry from room to room) so I had to settle on figuring out which outlets were on which breakers. (for last night anyway) I plan on replacing outlets/switches/and boxes this weekend, DURING the DAY when I have light. I will then be able to use the voltmeter to ensure they are dead. I am finding that some breakers have more on than others. (for example breaker 4 has living room, and two upstairs bedrooms) Should I rerun new lines? (terrifying thought for me) What I would LOVE to have is each room on their own breaker, but have no idea how to go about it?

Thank You All for all the help and input!
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:03 AM   #20
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Was my house wired by Stoned Hippies or am I an Idiot?


It may be time to call those stoned hippies you referred to.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:10 AM   #21
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Sometime it don't hurt to have different rooms on one breaker. EX: say you have two bedrooms upstairs one breaker trips the entire upstairs is dark. If you feed both rooms with two breakers with a mix of outlets and switches when a breaker trips you are not in the dark totally. You can always label your outlets and breakers with a label maker telling you which space the breaker is. Just like commercial and industrial apps.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:53 AM   #22
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Was my house wired by Stoned Hippies or am I an Idiot?


Cold, actually from the two bedrooms, there is one outlet in each room that is on a different breaker, I guess that is why so if the breaker trips you won't be in the dark?



How could I trace the lines to seperate at least get a couple of those lines off to other breakers? For example my hallway light is on that same line, so IF the breaker were to trip it would be the 2 front bedrooms AND the hallway that would be out?

Thanks Guys!
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:15 AM   #23
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Was my house wired by Stoned Hippies or am I an Idiot?


I'm thinking you got a multi-wire branch circuit going on. I'm guessing it is that nob and tube wiring, single conductor with cloth covering? The safest bet I could tell you is go to your local Lowes or home depot and for around $50 buy yourself a circuit tracer and adapter kit. I use mine all the time. All you do for the outlets, plug the transmitter in with the power on, and the light should be red. take the receiver to the panel and go through the breakers until it stops beeping. turn that breaker off and that circuit should be shut off, but check it to be safe. for switches and lights the adapter kit comes with a lamp socket screw in adapter, and a female plug with clips on the end to clip on the wires. just plug the transmitter into those, clip the clips on the wire. that's all there is to it!
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:55 AM   #24
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How could I trace the lines to seperate at least get a couple of those lines off to other breakers? For example my hallway light is on that same line, so IF the breaker were to trip it would be the 2 front bedrooms AND the hallway that would be out?
Before I started on my outlets I made it my mission to make a detailed list of what exactly each breaker shut off. I used a super advanced technique - you should be able to do the same as well.

For the outlets, what I did was plug in a clock radio and plug my ipod into it and pick a good tune. Crank the volume and go downstairs to the breaker panel and start flipping until the music stopped. (I'd recommend unplugging sensitive equipment like computers, TV's , cable boxes etc before an operation like this.

For the lightbulbs what I did was call my dad who happened to be in town over (a brother or a wife for that matter would work just as well in this scenario). I parked my dad in the room in question w/ a beer and went downstairs and started flipping breakers. When I hit the right one he would yell "THAT'S IT".
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Old 11-18-2010, 09:53 AM   #25
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Pete That is EXACTLY what I did last night, except with my son and no beer! OF COURSE he would have liked it better with a beer! hahaha

Sprts, it isn't knob and tube, I believe "romax"? black white (and havent gotten that far but I am praying green) I know it is 14.

My belief is that they just kind of strung everything together? What ever was closest? But I havent verified it yet.

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Old 11-18-2010, 10:46 AM   #26
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Pete, I do the same thing but i use my vacuum cleaner.
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:00 PM   #27
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" What I would LOVE to have is each room on their own breaker, but have no idea how to go about it?"

Having each room on its own circuit would be ideal,
But might not be as easy as you think,
Could also cost much more, due to extra cable required.

Perhaps when you figure out where each outlet gets
it power from, you should write it on a list and put it inside
the door of the breaker panel, so future problems are minimised.
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Old 11-18-2010, 09:05 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
" What I would LOVE to have is each room on their own breaker, but have no idea how to go about it?"

Perhaps when you figure out where each outlet gets
it power from, you should write it on a list and put it inside
the door of the breaker panel, so future problems are minimised.
DMX that is EXACTLY THE PLAN!
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Old 11-18-2010, 10:34 PM   #29
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before i started , i used a super advanced technique -

for the lightbulbs what i did was call my dad and i parked himd in the room in question w/ a beer and went downstairs and started flipping breakers. When i hit the right one he would yell "that's it".
aaa++++
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Old 11-19-2010, 02:08 PM   #30
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Was my house wired by Stoned Hippies or am I an Idiot?


... Continue turning off breakers until the tester STOPS reading live, then figure out what you just turned off.

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