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Old 05-22-2007, 01:11 AM   #1
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Receptacle broken


I'm trying to install a new receptacle in my laundry room. There was an old wire running to the room, but just taped off under the drywall. During construction I decided to put the wire to good use. I have experience wiring a few new rooms from scratch in my house, but this one is confusing me. There's the hot wire (black) and neutral (white) and ground, all at the end of the run ....I hooked up the receptacle as usual and nothing. I thought maybe there was something wrong with the receptacle so I tried a new one. Still, nothing. So I thought maybe it was part of the run with the switch in the room. I switched the black and white. Still nothing. What am I missing??? This should have been an easy one!

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Old 05-22-2007, 04:53 AM   #2
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Receptacle broken


Since it is dangerous and illegal to leave a live wire burried behind the wall, it is a good bet that the wire in questioin is also unhooked at its other end.

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Old 05-22-2007, 07:29 AM   #3
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Receptacle broken


My question is, if you do not know which circuit the wire is from, AND you obviously didn't test for power before you hooked up the receptacle or you would have known in advance that the wire is not hot, did you just grab hold of what you thought was a hot wire and screw it down to a receptacle without shutting off power first?
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Old 05-22-2007, 06:16 PM   #4
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Receptacle broken


Sorry, I didn't really clarify ....


I wanted to add this new receptacle to solve the issue of the wire being burried behind the wall. The receptacle was my solution. I was aware that the wire was hooked up on the other end and is live. I tested this and detertermined what circuit is was on.

The problem is that I'm not sure what is directly hooked up before it. This line is not directly out of the circuit panel. It is on the same circuit as the rest of the laundry room.

Any ideas why this recepticle might not work?
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Old 05-22-2007, 07:33 PM   #5
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Receptacle broken


If you tested it and was live then you have an open neutral.
How did you test it? If yo used a digital meter you may have gotten a false reading. The wire could still be dead.
Do you have simple plug in three light tester? What does it say when you plug it in?
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Old 05-22-2007, 07:37 PM   #6
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Receptacle broken


it is probably a switch leg...not sure how to word this correctly being that I'm not an electrician, but my guess is that was used to switch on a light in the past. It is a loop in the neutral (white) wire from the light fixture. It interrupts the neutral to turn the light off.....which would be the reason it isnt working with a recep. Hopefully an electrician will bail me out here....lol
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Old 05-22-2007, 09:26 PM   #7
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Receptacle broken


A switch leg should never interupt the neutral in a properly wired circuit.

mwagner, test hot to neutral, hot to ground and ground to neutral and lets us know all three results.
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Old 05-23-2007, 01:07 PM   #8
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@ send it all - perhaps you are thinking of a switch loop, in which power is brought to a light and carried to the switch via the "white" wire which in this case is actually the hot wire and should be coded black to indicate?

@MWagner - Its definitley best to do the tests JWhite suggested. If you prove to have power at the receptacle, though, I would ask you if the receptacle is brand new or not - is it possible that you wired the receptacle and that the connection tab has been removed to isolate the top from the bottom and you are testing the top and you wired the bottom?
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Old 05-24-2007, 05:58 PM   #9
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Receptacle broken


I tried a few different testing devices that lead me nowhere, so I figured I had no choice but to trace the line back further. It came from a box that was cover up with drywall and had no access anymore. (Not good, I know.) Both wires were connected to the hot of the leading into that box.


I removed the line in question, didn't use the box covered by drywall, and ran a new line from box that lead to the one covered up. Receptacle working.
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Old 05-24-2007, 06:53 PM   #10
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Receptacle broken


Well done
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Old 05-25-2007, 07:41 AM   #11
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Receptacle broken


Now, If you want that house to be up to code, you've got to provide access to those junction boxes that contain wires. You may want to make an access door or removable panel.

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