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Added Attic Outlet ~ Open Neutral?

763 Views 12 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  chandler48

Photos of outlet in question and attic outlet.

Hey folks. So my brother came down recently to see my new home and after some debate decided to add an outlet to the attic for the security cameras that are coming through my soffets.

He's done this a bunch of times at his place. We thought we added a receptacle to a power wire but it seems we didn't and it's a switch.

My receptacle tester reads "hot grnd rev" which it's not, and we have checked and double checked but we saw this can be a false code for 'open neutural'

I assumed there was a bad neutural on one of the receptacles on the circuit and changed them out. Went to test the outlet and viola 'correct wiring' displayed. Went to hook up camera, no dice.

No power, check outlet again 'hot grnd rev'

Ran extension out of attic and plugged tester into that cycles between 'hot grnd rev' and 'open neutural' as I click one of my room switches.

TLDR: How can I make this attic outlet hot all the time without sacrificing my switched outlet.

FWIW: We have a certified electrician friend we have run all of our steps by

I've replaced 2/9 outlets on the circuit. Will be doing the rest as most were installed shank style.

**After climbing into the attic repeatedly to test the outlet I ran an extension and outlet tested it and found this:

Alternating open neutral and hot grnd revere
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You did not say where he got the power from and where does the other cable go?

If he took it from a ceiling light, it only works if there is constant power there.
Pull that switch, if there are 2 black wires going to the switch you likely don't have constant power at the light.
I think he thought it was a content power wire And it ended.up being ceiling lighting.

So you want me to pull the switch and see if it has 2 black wires?

Also in the wiring photo there's a white on the brass / hot side .. maybe that's my open neutral?

I'm unsure.
Actually it can't really be ceiling lighting. Neither of those rooms have recessed lights or anything they each have all powered outlets and one outlet that's a hot switched.split
If you pulled the power from a switch box, you most likely don't have a neutral, but instead have tapped into a switch loop. Show us where the cable starts the run to the receptacle. Just because a wire is white, doesn't mean it is a neutral, especially in switching.
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I'm working a night shift right now but I can open the attic receptacle and the outlet when I'm home later and post photos.
They're wired typically. We checked like three times black (hot) on the brass side, neutral on the left silver side, and grnd on grnd. I think it's a switch loop for sure based on the video I posted at the bottom. I have no idea what I can do to remedy it or if there's anything I can do to remedy it other than searching for some 12-2 hot wire up there and using that.
I'm assuming it's coming from that switch box due to its influence on the outlet when it's switched and it's location, that's pretty much what I have to go off of
Probably so. I'd find a receptacle or live circuit to tap into that will give you the needed neutral. Let us know how it goes.
To be completely honest I'm not sure id know where to start doing that. Brothers coming out this weekend maybe we can find someplace to tap a neutral from.
I'm going to go with chandler48 on this one. I agree, so far it sounds as though you tapped into a switch loop so the white wire you saw in the switch was not a neutral as you would have thought but being used as a hot wire and there really is no neutral in the box.

A picture of the switch box that you tapped into and the wires would help us confirm.
Like I mentioned to Chandler, I'm speculating on which box I think it is but because of the switch influencing my open neut condition I believe it's the one in the photos (see imgur link #1) should be photos 2 and 3. I need to get a better photo. I believe we tapped the line coming up from that. We added a terminal and a receptacle in the attic.

This is the wiring into the associated light switch. It doesn't have any red wire I noticed which wonder what the red wire behind the outlet I'm worrying about is coming from
The last picture is a switch and the associated "switch loop", so no neutral there. Not sure where you are attaching the wiring for this receptacle, as you haven't showed us a picture of those connections yet.
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