Outlet wiring correction causing problem

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  #1  
Old 10-19-02, 02:59 PM
EdN
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Outlet wiring correction causing problem

I'm remodeling my old fixer-upper and wanted to replace my old wall outlets with new ones but the first one I swapped caused a problem. Before I turned off the breaker I tested it with a 3-light (red-yellow-yellow) tester and it showed as hot-neutral reverse. When I pulled it out, it was incorrect just as I thought with black on the wide-blade side and white on the brass side. I also found an unconnected rolled-up bare ground wire inside the box. After replacing the outlet (with ground connected), I'm unable to turn the breaker back on because of immediate trips. This outlet is at the end of a run. I'm really confused because I think the ground was probably touching inside the metal box before. Is it possible that a brand new Levitron outlet receptacle is bad? Any ideas of what can cause this would be greatly appreciated. I'm confused to a point where I don't even know what to start looking for...
 
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Old 10-19-02, 03:05 PM
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I've never seen a brand new receptacle bad. But I suppose it could happen.

So there was just one black wire, one white wire, and one bare wire in the box? No other wires at all in the box?

If the answer to the above is "yes", then I think you didn't pack the wires carefully enough back into the box. Leave the receptacle out of the box with the wires connected when you turn on the breaker (make sure the kids are out of the room). If the breaker doesn't trip, then you have an accidental shorting problem, probably because the grounding wire contacted part of the receptacle that it shouldn't when you packed the wires back.
 
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Old 10-19-02, 03:14 PM
jlbos83
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What if at another outlet on the circuit the hot and neutral were also reversed, and the neutrals from two circuits were tied together? Or maybe its a shared neutral circuit? My brain isn't working well enougth to want to figure the exact situation, but it seems possible that maybe in correcting the problem, we've got hot and neutral shorted, probably back a tthe box (maybe even through the ground?

I agree though, first make sure it isn't a simple short a the point of initial attack!
 
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Old 10-19-02, 03:24 PM
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Misapplication of a shared neutral may burn you house down, but it won't trip your breaker. I don't see any way that simply correcting the polarity reversal can cause this problem.

Before we get this resolved, make sure you don't throw away the receptacle you removed. We may need it for evidence.
 
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Old 10-19-02, 07:48 PM
jlbos83
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John,
I think you are right. What I was thinking would only happen if there was somehow a loop back to the box (like the neutrals of two circuits wired together). Except that when this circuit was fixed, it would now be hot to neutral as soon as the breaker was turned on. Your solution is much more likely!
 
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