DIY Home Improvement Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I'm trying to troubleshoot the lack of power I'm getting from an outlet ... and I'm wondering if the existing wiring has somehow been reversed. I'd love to swap the black(yellow) and white wiring to test the possibility, but I'm not sure the ramifications if I'm wrong and wanted to ask first.

Details of what I'm dealing with:

  • See attached picture of the outlet.
  • It is a bathroom ceiling fan outlet connected to a wall switch.
  • I've tested electricity at the wall switch and it is ok.
  • I've tested electricity coming to the outlet in the picture, and all the wires are live.
  • The wall switch successfully turns on and off current to the socket.
  • I had a replacement socket head (with attached wires) sent to me from the fan company in case the old one was faulty, but swapping it has not fixed the problem.
  • The wires going into the socket head are live.

In short, it appears all wiring leading up to the socket head itself are working, and the socket head is brand new ... but ... there is no power to anything I plug in. The fan won't power up. And separate appliances I've plugged in also don't power up. The fan and separate appliances all work fine with other outlets.

So this leaves me wondering if the black and white wires were potentially wired backwards ... or if that would even cause the socket not to work.

Any help/thoughts appreciated and ty.

Phil

Automotive lighting Automotive tire Fixture Electrical wiring Automotive exterior

Automotive tire Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Automotive design Bumper
 

· Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Reversed connections would NOT cause the receptacle to not work.
As I continue googling around, I'm gathering this is not the issue.
Do you have any ideas on what it could be brric? What would cause a new plug head to not give power to items plugged in if all the wiring going into it is testing live on my voltage detector.

Ty if you can help point me in the right direction.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3,439 Posts
Take the wires off the new plug head and see if you have power going to the end of the wires with a meter, if not something isn't connecting under the wire nuts.
If you have power there then it's either a bad/loose connection at the plug head...
Or a bad plug head.

EDIT... turn power off before disconecting wires.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Take the wires off the new plug head and see if you have power going to the end of the wires, if not something isn't connecting under the wire nuts.
If you have power there then it's either a bad/loose connection at the plug head...
Or a bad plug head.
Tried all the above and this is why it has me scratching my head:

  • Murret connections are good and tested.
  • Wires are live 'after' the murret connections and tested.
  • Old plug head was replaced with a brand new one sent direct from manufacturer and is in place now.
  • All connections are 100% tight.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Pull the wire nuts and make sure your connection is good. Test the outlet with your tester.
Was this a new install or did it just stop working?
It's a condo we bought and the fan wasn't working when we moved in.
Fan has definitely worked in the past, as I can see the dust buildup from usage. And the fan still works great as I've tried plugging it into another outlet.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Are you using a meter to test, or one of those pencil type beepers with a flasher?
Using this one ...
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3,439 Posts
Using this one ...
Use a meter, I don't trust those things.
 

· Master Electrician
Joined
·
4,735 Posts
Remove both wire nut connections. With a meter, check the voltage on the yellow and white. Check the voltage from yellow to ground. +/-120 volts at yellow and white would indicate poor wire nut connections. Zero voltage at yellow and white AND 120 volts between yellow and ground would indicate a compromised neutral.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Remove both wire nut connections. With a meter, check the voltage on the yellow and white. Check the voltage from yellow to ground. +/-120 volts at yellow and white would indicate poor wire nut connections. Zero voltage at yellow and white AND 120 volts between yellow and ground would indicate a compromised neutral.
Ty and will check. Cheers brric.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Remove both wire nut connections. With a meter, check the voltage on the yellow and white. Check the voltage from yellow to ground. +/-120 volts at yellow and white would indicate poor wire nut connections. Zero voltage at yellow and white AND 120 volts between yellow and ground would indicate a compromised neutral.
Further testing ...

What I've noticed is that the hot seems to have a high voltage connection ... but the white neutral also has current running through it, but showing as low voltage. I know my small volt tester isn't ideal, but it seems to work well enough to confirm the white and black(yellow in this case) both have a current running through them.

Am I correct in assuming that the white neutral should not have any current when nothing is plugged in?

EDIT PS:
Here were the results of the tests:

  • Yellow to nut = High
  • Black(yellow) after nut = High
  • White to nut = Low
  • White after nut = Low
  • Plug hot side = High
  • Plug neutral side = Low
Not sure if it's relevant, but there are multiple lights all on the same line leading up to the bathroom, and everything else appears to work fine.
 

· Member
Joined
·
1,763 Posts
If you are still using your non -contract tester, it is misleading you.

You should try using a dial type voltage meter.

A digital meter may pick up induced voltage from another circuit just like a non-contract does and this can also be misleading.
 

· Master Electrician
Joined
·
4,735 Posts
Further testing ...

What I've noticed is that the hot seems to have a high voltage connection ... but the white neutral also has current running through it, but showing as low voltage. I know my small volt tester isn't ideal, but it seems to work well enough to confirm the white and black(yellow in this case) both have a current running through them.

Am I correct in assuming that the white neutral should not have any current when nothing is plugged in?

EDIT PS:
Here were the results of the tests:

  • Yellow to nut = High
  • Black(yellow) after nut = High
  • White to nut = Low
  • White after nut = Low
  • Plug hot side = High
  • Plug neutral side = Low
Not sure if it's relevant, but there are multiple lights all on the same line leading up to the bathroom, and everything else appears to work fine.
Your tests show nothing other than there is possibly VOLTAGE on the yellow conductor. NCV testers do not indicate a current flow.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ok thanks everyone.

I think my best action at this point is to bring in an electrician.
As an amateur with limited knowledge of wiring beyond very basic stuff, I've probably done as much as I can without starting to buy new tools+ that I will likely not need in the future.

Cheers!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
do NOT reverse and test! Only always use an approved voltage tester. The contactless testers can beep even with small voltage; best to use a multimeter. The hot to neutral must be ~120V, hot to ground also ~ 120V. The Neutral to ground may sometimes show phantom Voltages (~17 V, 29V etc).
Turn the breaker OFF then unscrew the nuts. Identify the wires from the breaker vs the wires that go to the receptacle on the fan housing. This is important because I have seen electricians using "whatever" color wire was available instead of following color code. After you identify, tag the hot wire from the breaker. It is likely the "line" is being fed from a junction box in the attic that also feeds another load.
Once you have identified and marked the wires then it is all super easy. Good luck
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top