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Old 08-22-2012, 07:14 PM   #1
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Tracing an electrical line


HI

I am trying to trace an electrical ciruit as I have a problem with some of the receptacles on the circuit. (Four of the receptacles at the end of the circuit are dead. Actually the first receptacle is hot but incorrectly so as the power to the receptacle is coming through the ground wire rather than the white wire. It is my understanding that somehow the white wire in the previous receptacle in the line apparently is disconnected and the power is feeding to the ground wire.) I have determined the circuit on which is located but my problem is finding the next receptacle up line from the receptacle that is not functioning correctly. Does anyone have a suggestion how I find the next receptacle up the line?

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Old 08-22-2012, 08:42 PM   #2
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Tracing an electrical line


It is most likely the closest one to the problem. Turn off the circuit and start checking the devices that now don't work but worked before.

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Old 08-22-2012, 08:49 PM   #3
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Tracing an electrical line


I have checked all of the boxes which i know are on the circuit and they all are fine. my problem is determining which one is the next one in line. I am sure it has to be in that box that the problem exists. I think there must be a box that I am not aware of in between the ones I do know about and the ones where the problem exists.
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:27 AM   #4
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Tracing an electrical line


Disconnect wires in one box. Turn power back on and see what went out.
They do make cable tracers. there is one version that plugs into a power receptacle and lets you find the breaker. It would probably work for the power part of the circuit. I have also used data line tracers. The power must off to use these.


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Old 08-23-2012, 11:21 AM   #5
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Tracing an electrical line


Where I come from the white wire is the neutral. The ground is either bare copper or green. The hot wire is normaly black or any color other than white or green and most certainly never bare copper.

If you have a hot ground wire then there is more going on than just a few outlets not working. I would start at your panel and identify the three conductors asssociated with that circuit and make sure they are where they belong. Then open up and examine every device or connection along the entire circuit.
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Old 08-23-2012, 12:02 PM   #6
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Tracing an electrical line


Thanks guys

I went home last night and started again at the panel and started working backwards toward the affected receptacles. I got a surprise. I got back to a receptacle about 10 ft from where the bad receptacles started and thought I had found the wire going to the affected circuits. But when I reconnected and turned on the power I found that the wires went all the way across the house to the front of the house to a receptacle i didn't even consider would have been on the circuit. (it got dark so I had to quit before finishing, another night tonite it seems) Now i have to find out where that circuit goes to get back to the ones affected. It appears it is a process of elimination to find the bad connection.
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:39 AM   #7
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Tracing an electrical line


Are you sure you are working the right circuit? Trying to decipher someone elses' wiring can sometimes be a Sherlock Holmes sort of activity.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:05 PM   #8
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Tracing an electrical line


To trace an exsisting circuit, you have to think like the person that wired it up, and some time you have to ask what was the person wiring it up thinking!

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