Recepticles/Fan not Working

Reply

  #1  
Old 06-10-05, 09:33 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 106
Recepticles/Fan not Working

First I want to say thanks in advance.

I connected up a new line from the fuse box and hooked up a dishwasher, 2 new recepticles and a hood to a 20A breaker.

They've been in for about 2 months, all working ok and today I tried to use one of the sockets and -- nothing! The dishwasher is working but the other connections aren't.

I used a junction box to take the connection from the DW to the other outlets, just for some extra info. Also I just tested all the items with a tester and they all seem live! Very strange, anyone have any idea what the problem may be? I've tried to plug various things in to no avail.

Thanks
 

Last edited by tobja; 06-10-05 at 12:49 PM.
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 06-10-05, 12:55 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,342
First, have you tripped a GFCI?

If not, a connection has probably failed in the box behind the dishwasher. If you used a digital multimeter, the "live" you are measuring could be a false reading called "phantom voltage." Use a simple light bulb style tester instead.

Turn the breaker off and pull the wires out of the box behind the dishwasher. Check for tight wirenuts, etc. If that fails, pull out the next device (probably a receptacle) and check for tight connections there. Be sure to use the screw connections and not the backstab connections.

As a side note, your circuit likely violates code. You cannot have anything else on the same circuit as counter-top receptacles.
 
  #3  
Old 06-10-05, 01:08 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
There are a number of possibilities, and it's hard to know which one is more likely until we know exactly what test instrument you used to determine that they are "live", and exactly how you used it. Please supply this information.

The two most likely explanations are phantom voltage, as ibpooks suggested, if you are using a digital multimeter, or an open neutral, if you measured voltage between hot and ground rather than between hot and neutral.

Ibpooks is also almost certainly correct in that you have violated the National Electrical Code if you live in the United States. It depends on where exactly those other two outlets are.
 
  #4  
Old 06-10-05, 01:11 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 106
No the breaker (gfci) looks ok. I even turned it fully off and then on again. As mentioned the DW is working ok.

I think the connection on the junction box is ok but I'll recheck, it seems the obvious solution. Also the neutral & ground wires have been paired in the fuse box - is this ok? This is how the others were.

So even if I have only 2 recepticles on the worktop this has to be on its own breaker?
 
  #5  
Old 06-10-05, 01:20 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 106
I have the cooker in the centre, with the hood over the cooker, then 2 recepticles either side. I had no idea this would be a problem, it certainly isn't in the UK, but perhaps I should have posted on here to check first of all.

The tester Im using is similar to this which I bought in Lowes (Gardner Bender
Circuit Alert Non-Contact Voltage Tester)

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...4AD&lpage=none

Its a breaker box. Sorry - just terminology. Shall I separate the wires?
 
  #6  
Old 06-10-05, 01:21 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
The code is a bit complicated. The countertop receptacles don't necessarily need their own circuit, but they for sure cannot be on the same circuit as the dishwasher. Code carefully restricts what else can be on the circuit. The $6 green paperback Wiring Simplified does a good job of explaning the details.

The answer to your question about neutrals and grounds being "paired" in the fuse box depends on what exactly you mean by "paired", whether the fuse box is really a fuse box or is a breaker box, and whether the box houses the main disconnect. But most likely it is not okay.

The non-contact circuit tester cannot detect an open neutral, which is my guess as to exactly what your problem is. The tick tester you have is nice, but you should also get some other testers as there are many things it cannot test.
 
  #7  
Old 06-10-05, 01:28 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 106
Ok I appreciate your help.

When you state an open neutral, how would I go about rectifying this?
 
  #8  
Old 06-10-05, 01:33 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
An open neutral is a bad connection of a white wire. I'd find the bad connection and make a good connection. But first, I might spend two bucks on a neon circuit tester to help me find it.
 
  #9  
Old 06-10-05, 02:00 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 106
Hi,
the problem was a loose ground connection to the recepticle. I connected that back up and its working ok.

However this still leaves the issue with the ground and neutral being "paired" together on the breaker board. Shall I separate those (I think I know the answer already but just checking).

Thanks again this is much appreciated,
 
  #10  
Old 06-10-05, 02:34 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,342
A loose ground wire (green or bare) would not cause the outlet to stop working unless you have some very serious wiring problems. I hope you meant a loose neutral (white) wire.
 
  #11  
Old 06-10-05, 04:45 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 106
As explained earlier, the ground and neutral were paired together at the breaker box so both wires were acting as the neutral wire I assume?

The reason I did this is when I looked at the other connections in the breaker box, others are also paired together for some reason. This isn't my work (except this current issue), this is how it was when I bought the house.
 
  #12  
Old 06-10-05, 05:10 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
If the connection you repaired was a bare wire, and if that made the non-working outlets work, then as was already said, you have some very dangerous wiring!! Do not call this project finished. It isn't by a long ways!! You may be using the bare grounding wire as a neutral, and this creates a very serious electrocution hazard. Not everything that works is safe!!

Whether or not the bare and white wires are "paired together" in the panel (I'm still not sure what this means) is not pertinent to the wiring mistake you have made in the branch circuit. Grounding wires and neutral wires may (and must) be electrically connected in one and only one place in your entire house, and that place is the panel containing the main disconnect. To interconnect them anywhere else is a serious hazard.

If by "paired together" you mean that they are electrically connected within the panel, then that's probably okay (depending on whether or not this is the panel housing the main disconnect). But if you mean that these two wires are under the same screw, then that's bad. But that's not nearly as bad as the problem being discussed above.
 
  #13  
Old 06-10-05, 10:15 PM
SparkyRedneck22
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Paired

I would assume that by paired he means stuck under the same screws in the neutral or ground bar. Which I have always been told is a bad idea, because the neutral and ground combonation can heat up and over time loosen the connection
 
  #14  
Old 06-10-05, 10:34 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 106
I dont know, perhaps Im not making myself clear, or perhaps its just the terminology Im using that I'd use in the UK that is different from the US. (Breaker=gfci=fuse box, neutral=white, ground=earth, hot wire=live).

I connected up the recepticles as they should be, ground lead to ground screw, neutral to neutral etc. However, on the breaker board, the hot wire has been connected to the breaker (as normal), and the neutral wire is connected to the side panel, with the ground wire in the same screw (ie. "paired up"). My question was do these need to be separated? You state that the only place these must be connected together is "the panel containing the main disconnect" - does this mean the feed coming in from outside to the breaker box?

As a side issue Im going to put the dishwasher on its own breaker, then do the same with the recepticles/hood.

Again I do appreciate your feedback.
 
  #15  
Old 06-11-05, 03:51 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
The connection in the panel is wrong, but probably not for the not for the reason being discussed.

It is not allowed to have a neutral wire and a ground wire under the same screw in the panel. It is allowed (on most panels) to have two ground wires under one screw, but neutral wires require their own screw. Violating this rule is not the worst thing in the world, but it is a violation.

At one point in your home electrical system the ground and the neutrals will be connected together. This is usually in the main panel. By connected together we mean electrically, not physically. In the main panel their are usually two or more buss bars where the ground wires and neutral wires connect. These buss bars are electrically connected and also connected to the power company neutral and the earth ground. In these panels it makes no difference which bar you connect the grounds and neutrals to, as long as you follow the rule about only one neutral per screw.

Sometimes the electrical connection between the ground and neutral is somewhere else. Sometimes it is at the meter box. For a sub panel the connection is never at the sub panel. When the connection is elsewhere, there need to be two buss bars. On one buss bar the neutrals are connected. On the other buss bar the grounds are connected. The buss bar containing the neutrals must NOT be bonded to the panel.
 
  #16  
Old 06-11-05, 07:56 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 106
Maybe the previous guy who lived here, or his electrician thought it was the correct procedure? Virtually all the breakers that have cable with ground have been connected the same way (ie. neutral and ground under one screw).

Im going to replace some of the wiring as its the old 2 black wires with material sheathing (and no ground) so on the same project I'll sort out the cables that have the neutral and ground issue.

Thanks to everyone for replying
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'