Neutral and Hot


Old 11-18-04, 06:34 PM
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Neutral and Hot

If the neutral and hot are reversed (i.e. of the white wire is connected to the brass screw and the black to silver), will the outlet still work?


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Old 11-18-04, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,219
If hot and neutral are reversed at a receptacle, then most devices plugged into that receptacle will function totally normally.

_Some_ devices plugged into such a miswired receptacle will be more dangerous. For example, a lamp will _function_ perfectly normally, but the 'screw shell' that holds the bulb will be energized and would present a significant shock risk.

A _very few_ devices will not work normally or could even be damaged by such a receptacle. I am thinking of old audio equipment that used the neutral as a ground reference.

Old 11-18-04, 07:20 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NA
Posts: 1,065
Yes, the receptacle will still "work" and anything plugged into it will operate. If you are having trouble identifing the hot wire (this is a common problem with older wiring) purchase a non contact "tick" tester at your home center. They are around ten bucks or so. Turn the breaker off or pull the fuse for the circuit you are testing. Remove the receptacle from the wiring. Seperate the two wires by a few inches. Reenergize the circuit and hold the tester to each wire, it will tell you by lighting up (steady light) or beeping which is the hot wire.

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