hot and ground reversed

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  #1  
Old 09-23-05, 11:24 AM
bonwagner
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hot and ground reversed

Here's my problem.

helping a friend put in GFI plug and added it to a junction box that was servicing 2 lights and 3 plugs. But first i noticed that the hot wire going from that junction box to the fuse box was double lugged (2 hot wires in one circuit breaker) I put in a new circuit breaker and separated the 2 hot wires, put in the GFI plug and it worked just fine but now the 2 lights and the 3 plugs don't work. I put a tester on lights and plugs and there is power but the plugs say that the hot and ground is reversed and no voltage on the reader. Forgot to tell you that the lights worked before and the plugs tested out just fine and worked.

I'm am thinking that one of the wires going to the 2 lights and 3 plugs shorted out and burnt it and maybe hot touching the ground.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Bonnie
 
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  #2  
Old 09-23-05, 11:44 AM
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Two wires to a single circuit breaker is not necessarily wrong. Some circuit breakers are designed to accept two wires. You should not have installed a new breaker and moved the wires until you understood where the two wires go.

Make sure that you have two complete and separate circuits. Make sure that you have two neutrals that go with these two hot wires. Make sure that the circuits do not cross anywhere. If for some reason there are not two complete circuits then immediately disconnect the wire from the new breaker and put it back where it was.

Your next job, which may have been partially done by checking the circuits is to completely understand the wiring. Something is open somewhere, causing the tester you have to read hot/ground reverse. Understand what you have before proceeding.

How did you find this out anyway? Generally speaking, shutting off a breaker to work on a circuit does not usually involve removing a panel cover and exposing the connections underneath. You must have been doing more than just replacing a receptacle with a GFCI receptacle to have discovered this..

Be very careful doing electrical work for your friend. Unless you are an electrician you are opening yourself up for possible liability should something go wrong.
 
  #3  
Old 09-23-05, 12:07 PM
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Were there 2 neutral wires at the panel as well as the 2 hots?

Hot ground reverse is actually an indication that the neutral connection has been lost. If, by some chance, there were only one neutral for the 2 hot wires, and you separated the 2 hots onto separate sides of the incoming power, you may have overloaded the neutral and caused the failure. Either way, the neutral wire has become disconnected somewhere.

First check to see if there were 2 neutrals and if there weren't, get the 2 hots back onto a single breaker either by putting back the "double lug" if the breaker manufacturer deems it acceptable or by creating a pig tail between the 2 wires and the breaker. Then work through every connection on the circuit until you find the failure point. Remember, it's going to be in the white wire. Please post back and let us know what you find.

Doug M.
 
  #4  
Old 09-23-05, 12:34 PM
bonwagner
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My friend had a house inspection and the inspector said to remove one of the hot wires and that is why we done it. we were thinking that putting in another circuit breaker and separating them could not hurt anything.

I will check all wiring tonight, make sure there is a neutral for each hot.

Thank you for your input.

Will let you know later.

Thank you.
 
  #5  
Old 09-23-05, 12:53 PM
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Actually, I mis-spoke. It's been a long week. You couldn't have overloaded it by putting it on the opposite side of the incoming power. Putting it on the same side of the incoming power could have overloaded it, but if no load was added to either circuit and the existing breaker wasn't tripping from overload all the time before, it probably didn't. The neutral connection has simply come loose somewhere. Possibly when you moved the hot wire, it disturbed the neutral wire in the panel.

Doug M.
 
  #6  
Old 09-26-05, 12:59 PM
bonwagner
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Doug, you are absolutely right.

I went back and checked the junction box and there it was a loose neutral wire. Put all the neutral together like it was and it fixed the problem.

Thanks you.

As old as we get we learn something new everyday.
 
  #7  
Old 09-26-05, 01:08 PM
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Great! Glad to hear things are back to normal.

Doug M.
 
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