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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my spare bedroom, I have power to all of the outlets and to the one wall switch, but nothing works. The ceiling fan controlled by the wall switch does not work and if I plug anything in to any of the five outlets in the room, nothing works. Yet my GT-12 Voltage Detector beeps when I test the switch and each outlet.

I installed a ceiling fan about a year or so ago and it worked. Then months passed and the ceiling fan light started to flicker occasionally. Now nothing works and I am just now addressing the issue because I want to use the room.

Regarding the wall switch. The house is over 20 years old and none of the bedrooms had overhead lights when built, the wall switch controlled a wall outlet. Originally coming into junction box from the bottom was one romex cable with a ground, black, and white wires. Going out of the top of the box was a 3-way romex (included red wire).

To power the ceiling fan, I ran a cable from the center of ceiling, through the attic and down the wall to the junction box. I connected all of the neutrals and grounds using wire nuts. to the bottom of the switch I used a pigtail and connected the hot wires from the two original romex cables. To the top of the switch, I connected the red and black wires from my new 3-way romex. (The light and fan were controlled separately using the pull chains on the fixture).

So my question is related to the unused red wire on the original 3-way romex. Should that be connected to something and could this be the cause of my problem with the entire room?

Any guidance would be appreciated.
 

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In my spare bedroom, I have power to all of the outlets and to the one wall switch, but nothing works. The ceiling fan controlled by the wall switch does not work and if I plug anything in to any of the five outlets in the room, nothing works. Yet my GT-12 Voltage Detector beeps when I test the switch and each outlet.

I installed a ceiling fan about a year or so ago and it worked. Then months passed and the ceiling fan light started to flicker occasionally. Now nothing works and I am just now addressing the issue because I want to use the room.

Regarding the wall switch. The house is over 20 years old and none of the bedrooms had overhead lights when built, the wall switch controlled a wall outlet. Originally coming into junction box from the bottom was one romex cable with a ground, black, and white wires. Going out of the top of the box was a 3-way romex (included red wire).

To power the ceiling fan, I ran a cable from the center of ceiling, through the attic and down the wall to the junction box. I connected all of the neutrals and grounds using wire nuts. to the bottom of the switch I used a pigtail and connected the hot wires from the two original romex cables. To the top of the switch, I connected the red and black wires from my new 3-way romex. (The light and fan were controlled separately using the pull chains on the fixture).

So my question is related to the unused red wire on the original 3-way romex. Should that be connected to something and could this be the cause of my problem with the entire room?

Any guidance would be appreciated.
The red wire has nothing to do with the problem.
I would look for a loose connection on the neutral wire inside the junction box..
A tic tester is not a useful troubleshooting tool. you need to use a meter.
 
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In my spare bedroom, I have power to all of the outlets and to the one wall switch, but nothing works. The ceiling fan controlled by the wall switch does not work and if I plug anything in to any of the five outlets in the room, nothing works. Yet my GT-12 Voltage Detector beeps when I test the switch and each outlet.

I installed a ceiling fan about a year or so ago and it worked. Then months passed and the ceiling fan light started to flicker occasionally. Now nothing works and I am just now addressing the issue because I want to use the room.

Regarding the wall switch. The house is over 20 years old and none of the bedrooms had overhead lights when built, the wall switch controlled a wall outlet. Originally coming into junction box from the bottom was one romex cable with a ground, black, and white wires. Going out of the top of the box was a 3-way romex (included red wire).

To power the ceiling fan, I ran a cable from the center of ceiling, through the attic and down the wall to the junction box. I connected all of the neutrals and grounds using wire nuts. to the bottom of the switch I used a pigtail and connected the hot wires from the two original romex cables. To the top of the switch, I connected the red and black wires from my new 3-way romex. (The light and fan were controlled separately using the pull chains on the fixture).

So my question is related to the unused red wire on the original 3-way romex. Should that be connected to something and could this be the cause of my problem with the entire room?

Any guidance would be appreciated.
Kind of a little confusing explanation... at least to me.

First question.... How did you determine you have power to each outlet... was that a multimeter reading from a black to ground or a black to a neutral.?

Second question... what is a GT 12 voltage detecter. Is that a greenlee multimeter or what.

Best
 

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Most electricians would know soon as they read the title
what the problem is !

He is most likely using a non contact tester
or a high input impedance digital multi meter
Which can give eronious readings.

His active hot line is ok

BUT

His neutral is faulty.

So the tester can register the presence of power
but because his neutral is faulty, it has nowhere to go.
which is in essence an open circuit !

You need to check your neutral lines
one is faulty for sure !

:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, I will check each outlet and the switch to ensure all of my neutrals are tight.

Regarding the spare red wire in my wall switch junction box, just put a wire nut on it and leave it be, unattached to anything?

The GT-12 voltage detector is a battery operator tester about the size of a Sharpie marker. There is a push power button on one end and a blade like tip with a plastic cover on the other. With the power on, touching the blade end to an outlet or switch results with a audible beep and red flashing light.

Thanks for the help. I appreciate it.
 

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The GT-12 voltage detector is a battery operator tester about the size of a Sharpie marker. There is a push power button on one end and a blade like tip with a plastic cover on the other. With the power on, touching the blade end to an outlet or switch results with a audible beep and red flashing light.

Thanks for the help. I appreciate it.
That type of detector is useless for troubleshooting. It may be helpful to see if you have power or not as far as the circuit being safe to work on but it won't help for troubleshooting. You need a true voltmeter to do that.
 

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Most electricians would know soon as they read the title
what the problem is !

He is most likely using a non contact tester
or a high input impedance digital multi meter
Which can give eronious readings.

His active hot line is ok

BUT

His neutral is faulty.

So the tester can register the presence of power
but because his neutral is faulty, it has nowhere to go.
which is in essence an open circuit !

You need to check your neutral lines
one is faulty for sure !

:thumbsup:
DMX... Ya kinda lost me on that.....

Depending on his tester or procedure used, or multi circuit in the box, I'm not certain he has power.....

However, my first guess would be the same as yours... sounds like a bad neutral somewhere.

Best

(Sorta related question... what is the threshold on those non-contact testers... will they go off on phantem voltage????)
 

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Check your neutral wire nut connections

Ok, I will check each outlet and the switch to ensure all of my neutrals are tight.

Regarding the spare red wire in my wall switch junction box, just put a wire nut on it and leave it be, unattached to anything?

The GT-12 voltage detector is a battery operator tester about the size of a Sharpie marker. There is a push power button on one end and a blade like tip with a plastic cover on the other. With the power on, touching the blade end to an outlet or switch results with a audible beep and red flashing light.

Thanks for the help. I appreciate it.
I'd check your neutral wire nut connections, not just to ensure that the nuts are tight but that you have the ends of each wire seated firmly in the metal coil inside the wire nut. I've had occasions where when twisting multiple wires together for a wire nut connection one wire might get pulled short while twisting and not reach far enough inside the nut... As for testing a circuit, I agree with everyone about your tester - you really need a meter. I would also caution that when you check to see whether a wire is hot, make double sure that you have a good ground or common to complete the circuit - otherwise your meter may read 0 volts when in fact there is 120v of potential waiting for a path to ground and you know what it could mean if it finds that path through you... It sounds like the red wire you refer to went from the switch back down to the receptacle when it was switched. It's no longer needed now so I'd just put a wire nut on both ends and poke it in the back of the boxes.
 

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I had one of those contact testers beep from the overhead powerlines outside the house. I like those testers as a way to prevent me from getting a shock. They have saved me more than once. They have limited trouble shooting abilities. I also like them to find the hot on knob and tube
 

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I can run down an open neutral with a tic. The neutral wire will show up as hot too starting at the last device on the circuit to the fault as long as you have a live load applied. (lamp works good)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I purchased a receptacle tester today at my local Lowes. All five outlets in spare bedroom give me the same same error - Hot and Ground Rev. All of the outlets in my masterbedroom and the one outlet in the hall way all test good and work fine. These are on the same circuit as the outlets in the spare room that do not work.

I double checked all five outlets. The ground wire is connected to the green ground screw on each. The black wire is secured to the brass screw on each and the white to each silver colored screw. I checked for loose connections at the terminals and removed all wire nuts to ensure all wires were in each grouping were making solid contact. There were no wires making contact with other colored wires.

I am need help. Any further guidance would be appreciated. Thanks
 

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I purchased a receptacle tester today at my local Lowes. All five outlets in spare bedroom give me the same same error - Hot and Ground Rev. All of the outlets in my masterbedroom and the one outlet in the hall way all test good and work fine. These are on the same circuit as the outlets in the spare room that do not work.

I double checked all five outlets. The ground wire is connected to the green ground screw on each. The black wire is secured to the brass screw on each and the white to each silver colored screw. I checked for loose connections at the terminals and removed all wire nuts to ensure all wires were in each grouping were making solid contact. There were no wires making contact with other colored wires.

I am need help. Any further guidance would be appreciated. Thanks
YEP....... Pretty common and understandably a confuseing issue.

It's the plug in tester logic that is misleading under a specific condition.

When you have a broken neutral, and a load on upstream of the broken neutral (and are testing the circuit upstraem of the break)....Hot/Ground Reversed is the reading.

Take off the load... you should get open neutral.

Why the plug-in tester logic goes there I can not explain.... but it is a very common comfusing issue when those circmstances occur.

Good luck... Find that bad neutral.

Hint it's between your working and non working receps but "between" includes your closest working/ non working recep.... normally at a wirenut... maybe a backstabbed recep, or maybe a new nail that cut the neutral.


Best
 

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Hot ground reverse is the typical indication you get with an open neutral wire. Look for a disconnected white wire. It could be in a working device box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
YEP....... Pretty common and understandably a confuseing issue.

It's the plug in tester logic that is misleading under a specific condition.

When you have a broken neutral, and a load on upstream of the broken neutral (and are testing the circuit upstraem of the break)....Hot/Ground Reversed is the reading.

Take off the load... you should get open neutral.

Why the plug-in tester logic goes there I can not explain.... but it is a very common comfusing issue when those circmstances occur.

Good luck... Find that bad neutral.

Hint it's between your working and non working receps but "between" includes your closest working/ non working recep.... normally at a wirenut... maybe a backstabbed recep, or maybe a new nail that cut the neutral.


Best
Thanks for the info. Does "Take off the load" mean to kill the circuit at the panel?

(Sorry, as my name indicates, I know very little about electricity.)
 

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Thanks for the info. Does "Take off the load" mean to kill the circuit at the panel?

(Sorry, as my name indicates, I know very little about electricity.)
No.... It means that yoiu have something turned on, like a light or a clock radio or anything that is placing a voltage on your neutral within the circuit you are testing.

Turned on, does not mean it is working... it just means that it's switch is passing current to it.

(You may have trouble knowing if something is turned on, especially if you have three way switches involved on that circuit, or if someone has put light switches in upside-down)

When the neutral is broken downstream, but you have something turned on upstream of the break, that is placing ( think of it as passing thru) a voltage potential on that neutral.... and the plug in tester (somewhere in it's logic) sees a voltage potential now between the neutral and the ground and concludes somehow....hot/grd rev.(Best as I can figure....Caveat...I'm a GC... not an electrician.... but the reading logic seems funny to me...as I've never encountered a a real hot/grd reverse)

(For understanding (not actual as its AC current) upstream and downstream, think of the current flowing on your hot wire from the panel(upstream) through your circuit/devices to your neutraland back to your panel (downstream

Good luck
 

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not passing any current of there's an open neutral and the N of the appliance is not bonded to the chassis gnd.

there can certainly be voltage there though......
Thanks conJoe....... My bad.... first cup of coffee. I meant voltage / potential... not current.

(Not quite sure what you meant by the bolded. )

Best
 

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if the chassis gnd was somehow bonded to the appliance N then current would flow back out through the GND wire, etc.
Bootleg ground..... Gotcha..... (That may confuse the OP though.... and maybe even the diff between voltage/current may be confusing at this stage).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
No.... It means that yoiu have something turned on, like a light or a clock radio or anything that is placing a voltage on your neutral within the circuit you are testing.

Turned on, does not mean it is working... it just means that it's switch is passing current to it.

(You may have trouble knowing if something is turned on, especially if you have three way switches involved on that circuit, or if someone has put light switches in upside-down)

When the neutral is broken downstream, but you have something turned on upstream of the break, that is placing ( think of it as passing thru) a voltage potential on that neutral.... and the plug in tester (somewhere in it's logic) sees a voltage potential now between the neutral and the ground and concludes somehow....hot/grd rev.(Best as I can figure....Caveat...I'm a GC... not an electrician.... but the reading logic seems funny to me...as I've never encountered a a real hot/grd reverse)

(For understanding (not actual as its AC current) upstream and downstream, think of the current flowing on your hot wire from the panel(upstream) through your circuit/devices to your neutraland back to your panel (downstream

Good luck
Thanks for the help. The bedroom that I am having the problem with is the furtherest room from the circut panel. So there is nothing upstream of my problem. In my master bedroom, which is in between the circuit panel and the room with the problem, I had a few items plugged in and working when I used the receptacle tester and got the Hot/Grd Rev test results.

Does it sound like there is a problem with the wiring between my last working outlet and my first non-working outlet? And if I inspect those and see no loose wires, touching wires, or connection issues, the problem is within the romex cable running through the attic from the last working outlet to the first non-working outlet?
 
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