Short on part of a line?


Old 11-02-05, 08:13 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Angry Short on part of a line?

Hello all and thanks for your help.

I have an issue that is driving me crazy. A few days ago, the recessed lighting in my den (installed a few months ago) flickered and dimmed, then returned to normal. A few minutes later same thing happened except this time they went out. I took a peek at other receptacles/lights on the circuit and they too were not working. The breaker was not tripped.

I tried removing a GFI receptacle from the circuit by tying the hots together and the neutrals together thinking that maybe the GFI went bad and caused a short. At first it worked, then a few minutes later the circuit went out again.

I have a voltage tester and began measuring some rececptacles. No signal between hot and neutral. Signal between hot and ground. Signal between neutral and ground. So I figured it was some kind of short.

Here is the interesting part. The very first receptacle in the circuit signals properly when tested (signal between hot and neutral/ground.) It also works when a lamp is hooked up to it. The second does not. I cannot figure out why the first would work. If it is indeed a short, wouldn't the first receptacle be out as well?

Any help/advice/troubleshooting/remedies you give would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again.

Sponsored Links
Old 11-02-05, 08:20 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It's not a short. It's an open. It's the neutral that's open. Do a search of this forum for "open neutral". We've dealt with this several times recently. Your testing indicates that the failed connection is either at the first or the second receptacle (assuming your analysis of "first" and "second" is correct). That should help narrow the search.
Old 11-02-05, 08:52 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks John.

Ugh. Not my day. I did a search in forums for open neutral and got a few returns about pwer boats (I didn't even get your thread.) Anyway could you get me a link to the proper posts? Im gonna try to manually search...
Old 11-02-05, 09:45 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
John - Your the man.

Even though I couldn't search this forum for "open neutral", your advice was enough for me to find it on the web. I didn't realize that the issue could be with the first receptacle itself that was working.

Turned out that the first receptacle was back fed. Something loosened the connection enough that it actually fused to the receptacle itself (scary.) I tested it by tying the neutrals and hots together, throwing the breaker on and wa lah, lights work again.

I'll go through the rest of the receptacles and make sure they are screwed in tight.
Old 11-03-05, 04:56 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 6,809
Received 87 Votes on 80 Posts
BAck wired receptacles that don't use screws are well known to cause this type of problem. You should change all the receptacles connections to the screws.

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
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: