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Old 05-06-2012, 11:14 AM   #1
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Receptacle problem


I found an old abandoned junction box concealed in a ceiling and, since there was enough wire to create a new outlet at that location on the wall, I put in a new receptacle, ran the old romex (cloth covered) to it and wired a new outlet. Wiring looked right, but when I flipped the CB, and tested it, the black wire was not energized but the ground wire was. Does that mean there is a short someplace, or can receptacles be bad and cause that? Advice?

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Old 05-06-2012, 11:27 AM   #2
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Receptacle problem


"Abandoned", to me, means there are no cables or wires in that jbox. Was that the case? I don't know why the ground would be energized; are you speaking of a bare copper wire? Are you certain that the black wire on the breaker is the same black wire in the jbox? How did you determine this? Do you have a voltmeter?

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Old 05-06-2012, 11:36 AM   #3
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Receptacle problem


My guess is you did not take the time to check for power on the wiring before hooking it up.
Has the wiring in the rest of the house been up graded?
Could just be an old dead line that's been disconnected.
If there's no ground then you need a GFI outlet.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:48 AM   #4
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Receptacle problem


The romex was clamped into an old metal circular ceiling box. the wire end was just taped, no wire nuts. the cover for the box was just taped on as well and it was concealed in the ceiling, just sitting there, not even secured to framing. When exposed, I tested the wire with a handheld detector which beeps when the wand is near powered wires. The cable had power. I traced it to a circuit breaker and when the CB is off, there is no power in the line. There were no other wires in the box, so this was the end of a run. When I wired the receptacle, the ground screw lit up the detector while no other wire did. I believe the receptacle is wired correctly. Only 3 wires and black goes to brass and white to silver terminals. I mis-spoke previously. It is old white jacketed romex, not cloth covered. Pretty thick wires, like 12 ga, so I "assumed" it could be wired to a 20 amp receptacle. If the wires were actually 14 ga, would that cause the problem I am having?
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:01 PM   #5
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Receptacle problem


OK, so you determined there was power on the black at the jbox. Then you went and turned the breaker off, returned to the jbox, and found no power. What then? Did you run a new cable to the place where you want the receptacle, or did you attach to some other cable that you thought went to the receptacle?

BTW, those pen, wand test lights aren't very good at determining "how much" voltage is on a wire. You should get a voltmeter (digital or analog), and see if you can find 120v at the black wire at the jbox, and at the breaker.
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:11 PM   #6
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Receptacle problem


Here's my guess. This was an old ceiling light that had a switched neutral. Are there any switches not in use, or you don't know what they control in the area?
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:27 PM   #7
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Receptacle problem


I used the same wires for the receptacle. I did not add any. It may well have been an old light. This building was a small convenience store before it was a house and the wiring is really funky spaghetti. There are no unused switches nearby. The real question is can this be made into a working receptacle, and if not, how do I end it in a wall. Removing the wiring is not an option.
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:31 PM   #8
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Receptacle problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by k_buz View Post
Here's my guess. This was an old ceiling light that had a switched neutral. Are there any switches not in use, or you don't know what they control in the area?
lol, quite reasonable I suppose. Hence the live ground?
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Old 05-06-2012, 05:30 PM   #9
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Receptacle problem


I dont trust those non contact testers !
They can give eronious results !

Can you get your hands on a better tester ?
What are you using for neutral ?

Get a volt meter !

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