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Old 08-11-2012, 12:01 AM   #1
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perplexing issue - house outlets


I am working on fixing an issue with the wiring in one of the bedrooms in my older mountain home. Though I was not present for the cause of the problem, here is what was told to me by the tennant. he claimed that he went to turn on the light in the closet, (a 3 lamp track bar light, wired to a switch) he heard a loud pop from the light in the closet and lost power to to the room. The room has 6 recessed ceiling lights on 2 separate switches, presently only half of the lights work.There are no breakers tripped, no obvious shorts at outlets. I have opened the drywall following the wires around hoping to find a short but I have found nothing. I decided to try something, and I bridged the working switch to a dead outlet and everything turned on. I am waiting til the daytime to follow the wires outside to the breaker box, but so far no breaks or anything.. curious if anyone has any pointers.. could the pop he heard from the track lighting have killed a breaker? its about the only thing left.

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Old 08-11-2012, 12:20 AM   #2
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Try turning off all the breakers and turning them back on.

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Old 08-11-2012, 06:49 AM   #3
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Take down the light fixtures and tracks and check for charred or burned or melted parts or wires or lamp sockets.
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:49 AM   #4
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If the pop came from the fixture then I would be opening the fixture first.
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Old 08-11-2012, 09:40 AM   #5
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The very first thing I did was go to the track lighting which he said made the noise. I did not find an burned or melted wires. everything seems to be just fine. I took the switch controlling the light bar, as well as the light bar completely out of the loop and there is still no power to the outlets and half the lights in the room. I have checked breakers several times, turning the whole house off and back on switch by switch to no avail. aggravation is setting in, I have no idea what this guy did to my electrical in that room..
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Old 08-11-2012, 01:05 PM   #6
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perplexing issue - house outlets


Is everything on this circuit dead?
Check for power coming off the breaker for this circuit.
Its possible the breaker crapped out.

If you have power coming out of the breaker, follow the circuit to its first box and test.
Work from the panel toward the problem area until you find where the dead spot starts.
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Old 08-11-2012, 05:38 PM   #7
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I have just got back inside from testing the breaker panel. All but 1 breaker was puting out 125V. one was only putting out around 100, I am not sure if this is the problem breaker, as non of them are labeled.
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Old 08-11-2012, 05:57 PM   #8
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How high is your "mountain home" above sea level? Perhaps the reduced atmospheric pressure blew the tube.
Have you considered moving to the city?
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:37 PM   #9
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9500 feet in elevation. I have lived in many cities.. I find the inhabitants too much to handle. Every outlet is wired correctly and is good and tight. I have been in the basement where the lines come in from the breaker box, all the lines are hot. boy this is frustrating.
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:27 PM   #10
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Yes, the "pop" could have been the ballast shorting, or you might have wired something up in series instead of series/parallel.

Recessed cans sometimes have thermal overloads in them. These can go "pop" if too much current flows through them - (i.e., wired in series again). If this happens, i.e., a thermal overload has gone "open", then anything down-stream of the "open" will not work.
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Old 08-12-2012, 02:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kontoose View Post
Yes, the "pop" could have been the ballast shorting, or you might have wired something up in series instead of series/parallel.

Recessed cans sometimes have thermal overloads in them. These can go "pop" if too much current flows through them - (i.e., wired in series again). If this happens, i.e., a thermal overload has gone "open", then anything down-stream of the "open" will not work.
If I place a connection wire between the switch that has power and the outlet, everything has power in the room. the track lighting which I was told was the source of the sound has been completely removed from the loop. I pulled the switch which powered it, everything is connected as it should be in all the outlets, I will check the recessed lighting one more time, I am a tall dude and crawling around the attic is not fun for me..
I did notice that while checking if wires were hot with my ac voltage detector one of the wires going into the recessed lighting would light up the meter for a split second then go cold again... I may be at my limits here, I have done 12v many times but I am not an electrician, this may be over my head officially.
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:34 PM   #12
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ok, not sure if this will help anyone help me out.. but here is something interesting that happened. While messing around trying to find the location of the break in series, I decided I would try something new. I turned the power off to the house, I then tried wiring the hot wires and the ground from the switch which powers the 3 lights which have no power. I left the neutral as it was, with the original union. I then turned the power back on, and went to check to see if I had all the lights working, and still only the 3 lights turned on. I checked the AC with my detector and it said my outlets had power. I then plugged in a ac tester and something strange happened. The light on the tester turned on, but the 3 lights which were not working before also turned on. though they seemed as though they were not getting full power. curious to this phenomenom I plugged in a vaccum to see what would happen, the vacum failed to turn on, while the 3 light lit up.
some one please.. help me to figure out what this guy did..
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:40 PM   #13
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You said that only had 100V on one of the breakers. Where did you measure voltage to? Did you reset the breaker (turn it off and back on)?
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:32 PM   #14
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perplexing issue - house outlets


Possible the 'pop' was a neutral shorting and burning.

The light that don't work--did you check the power and neutral at the lights?

If the system is not grounded you may need to use an extension cord to a known good grounded outlet.

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