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Old 11-14-2007, 10:36 PM   #1
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Troubleshooting Garage Light


I need help troubleshooting 2 garage floodlights that went out recently. Here's some hopefully useful details.The lights are operated on 3 separate switches--one in the house and 2 in the garage.The bulbs are good and no breaker is tripped. I opened one flood light box and got power between hot and ground when I flipped the switch. (nothing between hot and neutral)The garage is on a subpanel, and is about 80ft from the house.(a while back, a sparky told me the sub should upgraded from 3 wire to 4 wire feed cause I have a 220v heater on it) Thank You for any help.

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Old 11-14-2007, 10:38 PM   #2
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Troubleshooting Garage Light


Check your neutral splice in the switch box. Probably a loose connection or open splice.

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Old 11-17-2007, 09:40 PM   #3
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Troubleshooting Garage Light


The lights worked after I re terminated the neutrals in all the switch boxes. All of the wire nut connections were made with the wires just stripped and stuck in the wire nut without twisting the wires. I know there is a lot controversy over this. Some will say as long as you use the proper wire nut and do it right. But I think it's a bogus wire nutting method that will keep electricians busy--but it kept me without flood lights for 2 months.
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Old 11-17-2007, 09:47 PM   #4
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Glad it worked out for you. Any other lights that have been out for a season or more?
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Old 11-17-2007, 09:54 PM   #5
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Troubleshooting Garage Light


Heres the rub with the whole wirenut thing. On 14 AWG pretwisting isn't necessary. I don't care if it is two or five wires...but I've made thousands of taps. When I put the wires under the nut I proceed to twist with vigor. I always offer the cubbies $20 if they can pull the nut off the wires. Tightness is the key. My method will get the same result as pretwisting.


That being said... all 12AWG gets pretwisted. Especially in commercial, where neutrals flopping out can potentially cost tens of thousands in lost equipment.

My opinion only. Anyone else?
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Old 11-17-2007, 09:57 PM   #6
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Nope everything else is OK right now, but I am routinely twisting together any straight wire/nut combos that I find. I've found 3 wires nutted and untwisted a couple times. So bogus--right up ther with device back stabbing.

Last edited by capt2; 11-18-2007 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:07 PM   #7
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Troubleshooting Garage Light


wires laid gently under the nut is what burns houses down...
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Old 11-18-2007, 12:22 AM   #8
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I say Bull--twist em ALL, or get out of Dodge. Why set a example for the house burners to copy poorly? Unfortunately, from what I can tell, a licensed sparky's name is on this work.

Last edited by capt2; 11-18-2007 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 11-18-2007, 07:33 AM   #9
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I here ya cap... I guess what I was saying is that you couldn't tell the difference if I made the tap...the end result is the same, and I've saved a step for myself...Time is money.

And a license don't always mean ****.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:32 AM   #10
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Troubleshooting Garage Light


I forgot a couple things. Thank you very much. Goose for giving a simple fix to my dilemma. And Andy--you're a tolerant guy, you didn't react and ratchet up against my reactiveness. I notice and am impressed when I see that in a person.
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Old 11-18-2007, 11:41 AM   #11
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Troubleshooting Garage Light


Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy in ATL View Post
On 14 AWG pretwisting isn't necessary. I don't care if it is two or five wires...but I've made thousands of taps. When I put the wires under the nut I proceed to twist with vigor.

That being said... all 12AWG gets pretwisted. Especially in commercial, where neutrals flopping out can potentially cost tens of thousands in lost equipment.

My opinion only. Anyone else?
I am an electrical engineer, not an electrician (oh I can just hear the jokes! ). I have done quite a bit of electrical work, mostly residential for friends and family and am presently 40-50% complete in rewiring my latest house which was built in 1911 (I've got enough of the truly scary stuff replaced to where I can actually sleep at night w/o having nightmares about the house burning down around me).

I always use Ideal Wing Nuts as I've found through my own experience that the springs inside seem bulletproof compared to some others that I've tried. The wings naturally make for easier twisting and I find that I can get the leverage required to make a hardcore twist on smaller gauge wires.

As I rewire the house, everything is conduit and wire and in most instances, even though it is overkill, I am pulling #12 for everything (long story but I can get #12THHN cheaper than #14). For solid conductors, I always pre-twist with my lineman's. Since time is not a concern for me, I usually pre-twist #14 connections if there are more than 2 wires.

I agree with Andy and others who have commented on the subject of wirenuts: They are in no way "bad" but if the connection inside is not tight then the possibility for creating a high resistance connection that will heat and possibly burn is high (or an instance where the contact is marginal enough to allow arcing to start). That being said, if I am twisting 2-#14's together in the nut, I twist until the insulated portions of the wires themselves (in the 3-4" just outside the nut) have twisted 2 times. At that point, you generally know that the conductors inside the nut have twisted completely.

Now here's my question: Sometimes electricians will add a coulple of laps of electrical tap around the bottom of the nut and onto/around the wires (some others do not). The only reason that I can see doing this is to prevent a loose wire in the box (or perhaps a screwdriver) from accidentally making contact with a circuit by poking up and into the wire nut. I mean, if the termination/spice is done correctly, that nut ain't coming off.

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