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Old 09-19-2010, 02:58 PM   #1
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Neutral Wires Hot Problem


Hello,

I have a light switch that has two white/neutral wires and two black/hot wires. The two neutral are tied together and the two black are connected into one side of the switch. When I use a voltage detector, all 4 wires are hot when the switch is off. When I turn on the switch, the white/neutral wires are hot but the black are not. Is this normal?

That switch controls a light which then connects into another switch, then an outlet and then another light. At least I believe that's how it's connected.
so
Source -> switch1 -> light1 -> switch2 -> outlet -> light2

The switch1 controls light1. Switch2 controls light2 but is dependent on switch1 being turned on. The outlet requires both switches to be turned on. The outlet shows as neutral reverse on my tester but the black is definitely connected to the brass side.
I started to check every outlet on that circuit and they all tested right but one of them was reversed even though it tested normal. Once I swapped the white and black it started reporting reverse. Only one other outlet has the white/neutral coming in hot on that circuit and it is a old two prong outlet so I can't use my tester. Both boxes that report hot whites are on opposite sides of the same wall, one of which (I suspect the one that had reversed wired) is connected to the switch1.

There is also a three-way switch and a light/fan contol switch (which only has two black wires going into it and I believe is wireless). These two switches look like they may be the next connection off the two boxes with hot neutral/white wires.

Can anyone tell me what is going on here? I am already starting to consider calling a pro but would hate to spend the money if it is something simple enough.

Please let me know if I can provide more details.

Thanks
Ray

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Old 09-19-2010, 04:16 PM   #2
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Neutral Wires Hot Problem


What is the problem? Do the circuits work properly as they are now connected?

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Old 09-19-2010, 04:28 PM   #3
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Neutral Wires Hot Problem


Yes, but is that normal? I also want to change the existing outlet to be on all the time instead of on the switch but before I look into doing that I wanted to make sure the existing wiring was correct.
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Old 09-19-2010, 04:48 PM   #4
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Neutral Wires Hot Problem


There is no way for one to know where or with what you are detecting voltages.
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Old 09-19-2010, 07:39 PM   #5
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Neutral Wires Hot Problem


You might have a reversed polarity situation if the white wires are showing hot while the blacks do not.

I would verify that the circuit(s) are properly connected in that structure before proceeding further ...
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:48 PM   #6
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Neutral Wires Hot Problem


Quote:
The switch1 controls light1. Switch2 controls light2 but is dependent on switch1 being turned on. The outlet requires both switches to be turned on. The outlet shows as neutral reverse on my tester but the black is definitely connected to the brass side.
Is all the cable is XX-2 NM aka two conductors and no red wires between the two ??

I am thinking you are missing a extra wire in there.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 09-20-2010, 12:14 PM   #7
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Neutral Wires Hot Problem


No other wire at the switches or outlet or light2, have not checked the light1. Where would it be?
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Old 09-20-2010, 12:20 PM   #8
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Neutral Wires Hot Problem


Just pull down the luminaire 1 down and look at the juction box or at the first switch box your choice that way you can confirm the numbers of conductors in there.

Merci.
Marc

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