Lights on circuit work, no receptacles do??

Reply

  #1  
Old 11-01-05, 08:32 AM
Philiberto
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Lights on circuit work, no receptacles do??

Thanks for taking a look at this for me. I am rookie, please forgive my electrical ignorance. On one circuit (which covers two small rooms), all of the lights work fine, but no receptacles work at all. About two years ago I installed a ceiling fan in one room, ran 14-2 wire, installed a single pole switch, and connected that to an existing receptacle. Everything worked great until last week. With the fan running, two power strips plugged into this particular receptacle, and a few other items plugged into a other receptacles, my wife said she smelled something burning. I checked, and could not find anything, so we shut off everything and went to sleep. The next morning, no power to the receptacles or fan. Days before this had happened, we noticed the tv (plugged into one of the strips) began to kinda waiver back and forth a little. I thought it was some power fluctuation fluke.

So I used a neon tester to check for power in any receptacle on the circuit and nothing. I reset the breaker, and still no power to any receptacles. The lights cut off when I flipped the breaker off, but once it was reset, all lights worked fine. I replaced the switch to the fan, and the receptacle feeding power to the switch and fan, thinking that maybe after years of abuse (two power strips with, pc, modem, dss box, vcr, printer, scanner, etc.) it had gone bad. Still no power. I have checked most other receptacles, and all pig tails are twisted tight with wiring nuts, and their leads are firmly attached to their receptacle connections.

Could there be a wire that is damaged or singed? If so, this seems very intensive?!! One strange twist... A day after we noticed that the power was out, I tried the neon tester on another receptacle (not the fan power feeding one) and the tester light lit up. I had my wife hit the switch to fan and the light of the tester went out. When she turned to fan switch to off, the neon tester light came on at this particular recepticle????? Any suggestions or advice are greatly appreciated. Sorry so long. Thanks, Philiberto DC.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 11-01-05, 08:45 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
I suspect you have a loose connection. Check ALL the junction boxes. With the boxes open check for power on the wires.
 
  #3  
Old 11-01-05, 08:48 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
How do you know that they are on the same circuit?

Are the circuits in your house grounded? In what year was the house built?

Use your neon tester again. Check between the two slits. Then check between the each slit and the D-shaped grounding hole. Does this light come on in any of the three tests?
 
  #4  
Old 11-01-05, 02:04 PM
Philiberto
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the replies....

My house was built in 1920, but completely remodeled in 2003 so everything is grounded.

I assumed that all of these receptacles and lights are on the same circuit, from past experiences of flipping the breaker off. When I installed the ceiling fan, I went through the upstairs rooms checking to see which items were affected by that particular breaker.


The neon tester light does come on, when I place one probe in a slit, and one in the "D" shaped grounding hole. I did not know what that exactly told me?


Thanks, P.
 
  #5  
Old 11-01-05, 02:47 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
The longer slit to the grounding hole, or the shorter slit to the grounding hole? I'll guess that you mean the shorter slit.

You have an open neutral, which is the same as Bob's guess. Search this forum for "open neutral" and I'm sure you'll have a lot to read. The solution is to shut off the breaker and remake all the connections on the circuit, paying particular attention to white wires, and paying particular attention to backstab connections (wires poked into holes). Remake all backstab connections to the adjacent screws (but don't put two wires on one screw). Individually pull on each wire into a wire nut to make sure it is secure. Do this for all boxes on the circuit, whether you are having any trouble at that box or not.

It's not a very hard job, but it can be time consuming. Most people who fail are those who are not sufficiently diligent, or who only check boxes without power, or who think that a visual check of the wiring is sufficient.
 
  #6  
Old 11-01-05, 05:14 PM
Philiberto
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks John. I just went back and tried the neon tester and I was wrong... It does not light up if one tester probe is in the ground hole and the other is in the shorter slit. At one time it did actually light up this way, that was the one day that I actually got the neon tester to work (when the switch to the fan was off that is, really weird ).

I will go and check everything as Bob and yourself mentioned. Thanks for all of your help.
 
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