Another Open Neutral


  #1  
Old 02-25-04, 05:31 AM
Biomed
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Another Open Neutral

Have two plugs that say open Neutral in two rooms with my socket tester, (68 volts or so on them.)

Checked and replaced all plugs before these sockets in line.The two sockets are basically back to back.

9 sockets total,what is weird is the two that do not work are not at the beginning of the run,,, There are 3 before the first bad socket that work fine, then the bad socket, then in next room behind it is the other bad one, then all the sockets aftter it work fine????????????

Where can neutral be?? Maybe coming down from a light fixture???
Please help, about to start cutting holes and running new wire, which I really do not want to do.

Thanks Guys!!
 
  #2  
Old 02-25-04, 05:59 AM
R
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There are several things you should do before opening walls, especially if outlets after the bad outlets are fine.

How are the two bad outlets wired? Are they wired using the backsatabs? If so, switch to the screw terminals.

Have you tried replacing the two bad outlets? If not, then do so.

Have you used a tester to check the wires themselves? If not then do so.

No offense meant, but from your post, I suspect that you don't full understand what an open neutral is. I suggest that you read a little on electricity to help you understand how electricty works and how current flows.
 
  #3  
Old 02-25-04, 06:20 AM
Biomed
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I replaced all the outlets including the bad ones in that series, all were back stabbed and I re-wired them using the screws,(always do)

I only get 68 volts or so using the ohm meter on the wires themselves,

No Offense taken, I understand basic electricity but do not pretend to be any kind of an expert whatsoever.

Thanks for your time. I will just keep checking.
 
  #4  
Old 02-25-04, 06:52 AM
J
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The situation you describe, the only place the problem could be is in the bad receptacles. If the receptacles after them are working it has to be in the bad receptacle. Or your receptacles are not wired in the sequence you suspect.
How many cables in the bad receptacles and how are they connected? 68 volts leads me to suspect a series connection possibly. Is there any history? Were they woking and just went bad. Was something altered and then they didn't work?
 
  #5  
Old 02-25-04, 06:58 AM
J
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Put away your digital multimeter. The 68-volt reading is meaningless. The outlet tester you have is a much better diagnostic tool for this problem.

The bad connection could be in almost any electrical box in your house, both working ones and non-working ones. It's not difficult to find it, just time-consuming. Start with the non-working outlets, then move out from there to the next nearest boxes, then keep working out until you've checked all the electrial boxes in your house if necessary. Check both fixture connections and wire nut connections. Make sure the power is off before touching anything.

It is likely that you are making some bad assumptions about what is upstream from what, and what is on the same circuit as what. Challenge all your assumptions.
 
  #6  
Old 02-25-04, 07:28 AM
Biomed
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Joed,
I replaced the 2 recpts that read open neutral.Plus the rest of them, Thanks, I will go back in tonight and remove them again and triple check the connections again.
They were bad when I moved in to this house already.

John,
I turned off the breaker to those plugs and went around the entire house with the tester to see what all was off. So I am pretty sure I know what all is on there but, I am one who overlooks things sometimes. I will re-check.

Thank you guys for your replies, I appreciate your wisdom.
 
  #7  
Old 02-25-04, 07:47 AM
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At the risk of being perceived as captious, please allow me to submit more precise definitions of certain items bio-med refers to. These definitions may be instructive for those un-familiar with basic electrical nomenclature.

"Have 2 plugs"---- "The two sockets"----" two bad outlets"

I presume what bio-med refers to is a receptacle. A PLUG is the devise at the end of a cord-connected load, such as a toaster. You connect the toaster by inserting the PLUG into a RECEPTACLE.

A SOCKET implies a body with hollow opening into which something is fitted. A lamp makes a "connection" when it is fitted into the socket of a lamp-holder.

An OUTLET may be perceived as a "point" where the Branch-Circuit conductors are accessible for connections.The most common form of an "outlet" is a "box"-- hence, "outlet-box".

When you connect switches and receptacles to the Branch-Circuit conductors at outlet-boxes, you are connecting DEVICES. A "device" conducts, but does not consume power.

Bio-med, I believe it would have been best if you have made the Neutral-connections at the receptacle outlet-boxs "independant" of device terminal connections. This means that if there a 2 Neutrals at an O-B, you connect them together, then connect the receptacle to the Neutrals with a "lead". Direct-connections between the Neutral conductors at an outlet-box is the best way to achieve "continuity" of the Neutral circuit between outlet-boxes.

If the receptacles are in different rooms, they may be on different Branch-Circuits, and it's possible they are switch-controlled.

Good Luck & Enjoy the Experience
 
  #8  
Old 02-25-04, 10:06 AM
Biomed
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PATTBAA,
Yes, I mean Receptacles.

Ok I will also do that, I will install a lead or jumper to them as well.

Thanks for everyones help, I will let you know..
 
  #9  
Old 02-26-04, 05:18 AM
Biomed
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Well,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Installed all new Jumpers, replaced new receptacles with newer ones, triple checked the wiring, took down every light fixture and made sure all wires were tight and secure, looked in attic to make sure nothing was loose or pinched or broke.

Nuthing!!

Can I just cap off the two lines into the boxes and try to run new wire down to each receptacle somehow? I realize it will be nearly impossible to get new lines into the boxes but,,.

Out of choices correct??
 
  #10  
Old 02-26-04, 10:54 AM
J
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You haven't found the bad connections yet. It could be that someone made an illegal splice inside a wall that you can't see. This is why splices are all supposed to be made in junction boxes that are accessible.
It could also be that some one drove a nail or screw though the wire somewhere.
If you want to scrap the current wires you will need to find the other end of that wire and disconnect it as well. If you can find the other end then you should be able to find the problem.
 
  #11  
Old 02-27-04, 05:56 AM
Biomed
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Found it!!

In a pull thru box mounted to the side of a closet can light in the next room above the bad plugs. The neutral wires had came loose in there. They were in a clear crimp connector and had all came very loose.

I re-did them using a blue wire nut and secured everything back together.

I want to say thanks to this site and all the friends I met that helped me out and were patient with me thru this deal, I appreciate all your help!!!!!

I would never had been able to do it without you!! Thanks!!

I am sure I will be back because I am now having similar problems in my garage, But hey,,, I know where to start looking this time huh??
 
  #12  
Old 02-27-04, 08:53 AM
J
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Blue wire nut?? The blue nuts I have are way to big for normal #14 or #12 wiring. Normaly a red or yellow would used. If it twisted tight onto the wires I guess everythnig is OK.
 
  #13  
Old 02-27-04, 10:20 AM
Biomed
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There were 4 Neutrals plus the one from the light itself. It tightened down really snug and then I taped it and pulled on each one really hard. Seems to be fine.
 
  #14  
Old 02-28-04, 11:09 AM
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Congrats, Bio-Med; I hope you are enjoying a well-deserved sense of accomplishment. Almost all electricians would have first checked all Branch-Circuit connections at switch & receptacle outlet-boxs, which is exactly what you did.

I suspect you were the victim of an inferior wiring-installation. "Thru", or "In & Out" Branch-Circuit connections should be located at switch , receptacle , and certain fixture-outlet-boxes ONLY, all such boxes refered to as "standard" outlet-boxes.

If my understanding is correct, the defective connection was not located in a Branch-Circuit outlet-box, but in a "splice-box" specificly designed ONLY for connections to one or more inter-connected fixtures.
 
 

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