Dead outlet


Old 12-08-05, 07:28 PM
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Dead outlet

I just moved into a new house and in the process of renovating the basement.
I have one outlet in the wall that is dead. I took a volt meter to it and zero volts. Where I connect one terminal to the hot and one to the ground, I get a full 120 volts. I am truely not an election, but something seems really odd about this. There is drywall on the walls, so I can't tell where the wire goes. What's going on here? Any recommendations in how to solve the problem? Thanks for your help.
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Old 12-08-05, 07:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
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You have an open neutral. The neutral wire, often called the return wire, is open somewhere. It is either open at this receptacle or at the receptacle just before this on the same circuit. An open means that the wire is not connected.

You need to shut off the electricity and check the connections at this receptacle first, and then at all others on the same circuit.

One common cause of an open neutral is a failed back stab connection. Back stabs are the push in connections on the back of some receptacles where the wire is held by a spring terminal. These are unreliable, and most of us here recommend that they not be used. I suggest that you move any back stab connections to the screw terminals on the sides of the receptacle. The neutral could also be open at a wire nut, although this is less likely.
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