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No power to outlet

5801 Views 14 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Cheapmom
I replaced 2 wall outlets and a light switch in the dining room. I pulled and replaced the wires in the back of the new as I was disconnecting from the old to make sure they were in the correct sequence. When I turned the power on, the light and fan in the ceiling work, but the outlets have no power. Our living room outlets are on the same circuit, so now I have no power to outlets in two rooms. I've heard about reversing the polarity of a house and screwing things up, but I followed the previous wiring. Any suggestions?
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I just checked GFI's in kitchen. None were off but reset anyway. One of the outlets was only a 2 wire outlet with a ground, the other was a 4 wire (2 white, 2 black) with a ground. The odd thing is, and this is an older home, the black wires on the original box were in the white wire slots and vice versa. So I originally put them back that way. When there was no power, I did switch and put the white in the real white slot, still no power. I do have a meter so I'm sure there is no power to either outlet in dining room and it has only affected one wall in the living room. But why would the overhead light and fan still work?
The first is a two wire switch. One black, one white and a ground. Have black wire in "hot", white wire in "white" and ground to ground screw. The second switch I replaced was the 4 wire switch. At first, from the original wiring, (I might add that in our kitchen overhead the white wire was the hot wire!) I replaced it as they had it, the 2 black wires in the 2 white holes and the 2 whites in the hot holes with the ground to ground screw. Right now I just have all bare wires coming out of the 4 wire box and put the tester on it and no power with either black or white to the ground wire.

It wouldn't be so bad, but my husband is at work and I thought I was helping. I would REALLY like to get this figured out before he gets home and all H breaks lose, if you know what I mean.......
In the 4 wire box there are, in fact, two different cables coming in. Each cable has one black and one white. Still no power to any of the wires.
If it helps any, the meter I have shows four voltages, 110V, 220V, 277V and 460V. When I checked an outlet in the hall, it is lighting up 110 which I know is regular household current. Of course my electric fence outside sets it off to 460 and will turn a squirrel into jerky in about an hour! So I am familiar with the meter I have. Incidentally, each time I work on it I do turn the power off at the breaker box before I touch anything.
First off, I want to thank all of you for your advice. I will certainly come here with any more problems because I try to do most of the stuff around here while my husband is at work so he doesn't have so much to worry about when he gets home. No, I can't clone myself.....

The problem ended up being in the light switch. Both of the ground wires were actually wraped together and grounded out somewhere other than the switch box. When I re-wired the switch, finding a black wire on the screw, I ASSumed that it was the ground wire and put it to the ground screw, then the black and a red wire (go figure) I attached as they had been. Turns out the second black wire I had put on the ground screw was the hot wire. Since it is grounded somewhere else there wasn't anything on the ground screw. Once both hots were connected, one in the hole and one on the screw and the red in the other, it all works.

That is just amazing. It did help me to realize that power was feeding from one into the others and I knew it had to have stopped somewhere. The only other one was the light switch, which I knew had power because it was working. Wow.

Thanks everyone!
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Better not let Hubby see these. He loves Harbor Freight Tools!

Thanks again.
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