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Old 03-07-2010, 03:02 PM   #1
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Need some electrical trouble shooting help.

So I know how to do minor electric work, and a friend had me fix a light that wasn't working. The base where the lightbulb screws in would randomly pick up on my chirper when I jiggled it around. I cut the power, checked it was dead on my chirper, and cut out the base and put the new one it. Put the power back on and it works...

While making sure everything was nice safe and bolting the light back up I somehow got my chirper to go off from touching the housing... I then checked the greenfield conduit (maybe a half-inch diameter) that was coming out of the metal light housing and going into a second room to supply an exit-sign, and all up to the exit-sign it chirped... The light switch box also chirped (which isn't connected at all to the light or the conduit/exit sign)...
Even when I flip the switch to off, everything chirps...

I'm curious as to what you guys think... It's an old house, with ****ty looking cable. I also noticed there was not a ground to be attached for the light switch...

From touching the light housing, and the light switch box, and the exit sign, I didn't get any kind of shock. I also noticed my screwdriver was somewhat magnetic after finishing up the job...

Hope someone can help me get to the bottom of this.

Thanks in advance,



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Old 03-07-2010, 03:13 PM   #2
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Need some electrical trouble shooting help.

Voltage detectors are notorious for picking up stray voltages and static electricity. Even high quality high-impedance voltmeters will do the same. Best guess would be there is nothinng wrong at all.


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Old 03-07-2010, 05:04 PM   #3
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Need some electrical trouble shooting help.

Those 'chirpers' are nick-named 'deathsticks'.

As stated above, they'll give false readings frequently. They'll chirp on stuff that's dead, and sometimes make no noise at all on a hot circuit.

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Old 03-07-2010, 07:47 PM   #4
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Need some electrical trouble shooting help.

I use my "chirper" to mystify kids by rubbing it on their sleeve --- it will chirp with normal static electricity.

You have to get a steady chirp with one of those to determine if you have a constant power source -- even then it can give false positive readings from a line with inductive voltage on it ...

Life is uncertain -- eat dessert first!!
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