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Wiring problem (No power) start laughing at the rookie eletrician

Wiring problem (No power) start laughing at the rookie eletrician

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  #1  
Old 01-16-06, 08:33 AM
caps
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Wiring problem (No power) start laughing at the rookie eletrician

Okay first let me put a disclaimer on this post, I'm the last person you want fixing anything in a house! and please forgive me for most likely not having all of the right terminolgy in this post but here goes:

I'm replacing an old light fixture in our newly renovated washroom, well something that should of taken 20 minutes has made it into day 2!!
The problem is that no matter how I hook up the wiring from the light fixture to the electrical wiring on the wall, I cant get the light to come on.
On my first attemp the light was working but it would flicker on/off when I went to secure the fixture to the wall mount so I then noticed that there was a cut in 1 of the wires on the wall, I taped it with electrical tape but still couldnt get the flickering to stop, eventualy the wire snapped at the cut point, anyway I got it to work again but when I went to secure the fixture to the wall (with the power still on!!! yes I know stupid move) the wiring must of caught something and a spark happened and the light went off. Okay stupid move but I'll reset the power and I'll be as good as new, well since the spark no matter what I do....NO POWER!!! What do I do? the power is running off of a second box from my man power box in the garage.

I've tried everything and of course it doesnt help that it's me trying to solve this problem (the last person you want)

Looking for help and resolution to this problem.

Okay everyone can start laughing and open the flood gates to the responses.

Signed,
Rookie electrician gone bad!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-16-06, 09:15 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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Well let me start at the beginning.

Never repair a cut or damaged wire with electrical tape. It is not allowed and dangerous. A cut wire needs to be replaced. If you are lucky and have enough cable in the wall or ceiling you are fine. If not, you must replace the cable.

Never work on receptacles, switches, or fixtures live. This is plain stupid in a residence where there is NEVER a need to. Always turn off the circuit breaker powering the circuit, or the main breaker powering the whole house before starting. Not following this rule could get you killed.

Now to your problem. I suspect that you have either tripped a GFCI or that you have caused an open circuit.

You did not talk about renovations to the bathroom electrical, but it should have been brought up to code. Maybe it has, maybe it hasn't. Are there any GFCI receptacles on the circuit that need to be reset?

Another possibility is that you didn't reset the breaker. Some breakers need to be turned off before they can be turned back on when they have tripped.

Finally, it's possible that your overload caused a weak connection to open. What else on the circuit is not working and more importantly, are there items on the circuit that are working? If you rule out the other possibilities, you will have to search for an failed connection.
 
  #3  
Old 01-16-06, 09:37 AM
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Point taken

thanks for the response racraft, I'll try to provide more detail:

I did reset the breakers (ALL) acutally as I turned the main power off on the whole house. The wire is very short now but enought to play with, however I'll try tonight to see if I can get some more length out of it. I also reset the circuit seperatly on it's own but it didnt work either.

As stated the power source for this outlet comes off of a second electrical box which grabs it's power from the main box in the garage, unfortunately this second box is closed and has no breakers that I can see, maybe I need to open it up to see but right now it's a flat panel with no openings (screwed tight) Just the electrical wires running to and from box boxes and the house.

The other sources which this circuit provides power too works fine just this 1 outlet is not working, I don't have a current meter so I can't detect if power is coming through. I'll check the circuits again and try again tonight but if not I'll have to wait for professional help.

Any other insight would greatly be appreciated and point taken on working with live wires, it would happen again.

Sorry for the lack of information and the potential of improper use of terminology.

Thank you
 
  #4  
Old 01-16-06, 09:40 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 34
I like the Man Power...LOL I know typo.

If I were in a similar situation I would not have repaired the wire, but replaced it or added a single gang box. Theres no telling what was exposed on that interior wall... Act like it will start a fire and run up the interior of that wall and burn the whole house down to the ground. This will give you the motivation to replace that wire. A speculation: if you ran new NM Romex I might side with the fact the wire probably shorted on a screw or nail maybe a staple was down to much on the wire. If you didnt run new wire but you renovated drywall etc, a screw may have pierced the wire. Or if it was just old wire, maybe the stress caused a wire to get exposed and short. Either way you need to replace that wire now. No telling if it welded its interior wires together somewhere. The other cosideration is that the wire (this is not code now) was ran from a GFCI to a switch then to the light. If that was miswired or tripped, it would never work correctly. If you sparked it though, I am going to guess that the wire was exposed somewhere. Better safe then sorry, look at where the damage was, if there is no switch box, receptacle box, or blank box where the repair is/was, then you need to replace it. Sucks, but you can never be too safe. Eat the time on this and make it a nice confident connection.
 
  #5  
Old 01-16-06, 10:58 AM
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Great!

man power (lol) I didnt even catch that, it's not my week.

Replace the wire, sounds great but with my expertise I'll probably break something else. The wire runs from the garage all the way to the back of the house and down to the basement. If what you say is true and replacing is the only way out, you guys are in for a hell of another follow up post.

By the way if it was wired as you stated "was ran from a GFCI to a switch then to the light" would that note cause a failure to the other outlet?
I say this because everything else in the house is working.

Also, the renovations to the washroom had no electrical work and after reno was done the light fixture was working fine with no issues. (this is all my doing)

I guess my only solution is to replace the wire (completely?)
If that's the case I'm in for some hurting, I hope that some miracle happens tonight!

Thanks to everyone for the help.
 
  #6  
Old 01-16-06, 11:01 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
If some items on the circuit work and some do not, then you have an open. It might be an open neutral or it might be an open hot. The open likely was caused by the power surge before the breaker tripped.

Find the last working location on the circuit and the first non working location. The problem is at either one of those locations, or between them. If you can';t determine which is the last working location and which is the first non-working one, then check every location on the circuit. Somewhere you will find an open circuit.

Repair the problem (often a failed back stab connection) and you will again have power.
 
  #7  
Old 01-16-06, 11:08 AM
caps
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thanks racraft,

that's what I'll do tonight.
 
  #8  
Old 01-16-06, 12:20 PM
rimiranda
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Thumbs up Bulb

You say you have no meter, than how do you no there is no power. Maybe you blew out the filament in the bulb and there actually is power to the fixture.
 
  #9  
Old 01-16-06, 01:14 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 34
True, nobody asked that one yet! Check the bulb... I have seen alot of people connect the GFCI to switch wrong, so make sure you have that one right too. Why does the line come from garage? Maybe thats a different state thing. In Michigan usually the panel is in the basement or utility room.
 
  #10  
Old 01-16-06, 01:52 PM
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I checked and replaced the bulb, it's a functional bulb so that's not it.

Thanks for everyones help, we will see what happens next?
 
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