Is covering junction box ok??

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Old 05-21-06, 11:39 PM
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Is covering junction box ok??

We are putting up new drywall to cover our popcorn kitchen ceiling instead of scraping. There was an old box for a chandelier that was converted into a junction box and covered with a metal plate.

I am hesitant to drywall over it incase I've got to gain access to it. But I also don't want some ugly metal plate showing either. Suggestions??
 
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Old 05-22-06, 04:36 AM
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IF you have an attic, you have another choice. Turn the box over, facing the accessible portion of the attic. Making sure the blank plate is kept on it.

If your attic is not accessible you MUST (!) keep the box exposed from the finish side. The are very flat finish blank plates that are quite inconspicuous.
 
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Old 05-22-06, 05:38 AM
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You may have another choice, but only if the wires terminate in this box. If the wires terminate in the box (ie only the hot and neutral for the light, plus a ground if one exists) then you could find the other end if the cable (perhaps at the wall switch) and disconnect the wires at that end (pushing them out of the box completely). You could then cover over or remove the box. However, you cannot do this if wires enter and exit this ceiling box.
 
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Old 05-22-06, 01:00 PM
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Thanks for the replies guys! Unfortunaty it's not accessable from the attic (too close to the edge of the roof) and it's not the end fo the run either so I guess I'm using a cover plate.....

Another question......while mapping out my fuse breakers I noticed that 2 of my kitchen outlets are showing a faint netural while the breaker is switched off (I'm using one of those quicky plug in testers with the 3 idiot lights). It's a standard small applicance set-up with a double 15a breaker. Only the top portion of both outlets remain hot (neutral only). One oulet looks to be the start of the run and the other a middle run....
 
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Old 05-22-06, 05:19 PM
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> 2 of my kitchen outlets are showing a faint netural while the
> breaker is switched off

And it is multiwire?

> It's a standard small applicance set-up with a double 15a breaker.

Unplug everything.

> Only the top portion of both outlets remain hot (neutral only).

And something is plugged in and drawing current and the multiwire circuit. So this is to be expected.
 
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Old 05-22-06, 06:26 PM
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If you have a multi-wire circuit, and with one half of the circuit off and load on the other circuit, there is enough voltage to light one of the lights, then this can indicate a bad connection somewhere on the shared neutral.

-Jon
 
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Old 05-22-06, 07:56 PM
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I don't know if this makes a difference but looking at the tester, the light that's dimly lit actually says "open neutral" not "hot neutral".....Also I should mention they are split outlets (tabb has been cut on the hot side). Sorry for the confusion. I was in a rush this afternoon and took a closer look at the circuit when I got home.

By "shared neutral" do you mean I could have a neutral tied in from a different circuit? So in order to trace this down I need to locate the other circuit that causing the draw?

Or do I need to trace the problem from the "hot" wire side? Only the top portion of the split outlet is getting lit with the breaker off. The bottom circuit has no lights. When the breaker is on, all is fine and I've had absolutly no troubles with devices running on these outlets.
 

Last edited by tabb; 05-22-06 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 05-22-06, 09:01 PM
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The little three light testers can be very confusing, because the list of meanings of the lights is based upon specific assumptions, and often misdirecting.

The three lights are simply measuring voltage between the three possible pairs of terminals H-N, H-G, and N-G. Your indication suggests voltage between hot and ground. I think that to do further diagnosis you should report the results with power on to the circuit, and possibly get voltage measurements. It is entirely possible that this dim light with the power off does not indicate any problem at all.

The split outlets are often commonly used with shared neutral circuits, where two hot conductors share a single neutral.

-Jon
 
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Old 05-23-06, 07:29 PM
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I've got some numbers for you....top outlet only......bottom is showing same numbers when on and only 12V off.....

Breaker on
H-N = 117.5v
N-G = 0v
H-G = 117.5V

Breaker off
H-n = 105.0v
N-g = 0v
h-g = 105.0v

I only had time to run off these numbers....I'm going to start sperating the circuit later tonight....
 

Last edited by tabb; 05-23-06 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 05-23-06, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tabb
bottom is showing same numbers when on and only 12V off.....


Breaker off
H-n = 105.0v
h-g = 0v
n-g = 105.0v
Are you using a DMM? Did you check the unit of measure to make sure the scale hadn't changed from volts to millivolts?

If you are getting 105 volts you should be able to plug in a lamp and light the bulb pretty well.

Also with the breaker ON you should get 117 V from Hot to Ground, not from Neutral to to Ground. 117 V neutral to ground should show up as a red light on your tester.
 
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Old 05-23-06, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgMeMatey
Are you using a DMM? Did you check the unit of measure to make sure the scale hadn't changed from volts to millivolts?

If you are getting 105 volts you should be able to plug in a lamp and light the bulb pretty well.

Also with the breaker ON you should get 117 V from Hot to Ground, not from Neutral to to Ground. 117 V neutral to ground should show up as a red light on your tester.
The DMM was set to autorange and was actually in the 400 scale.

The strange thing is that when I've got an actual load connected, there's not enough juice to make it work. I haven't actually had a chance to check a current value yet so I'll have to get back to you on that....but judging by how dim and flickery the light is on the tester, I'm guessing there isn't much.....

Ya I was in a rush earlier and made a couple of typos.....have since edited previous post.........

Is it possible that I've got a defective breaker that may not be completly disengaging??
 
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Old 05-24-06, 05:34 AM
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You are using a digital multi meter. Your results with the breaker off (the 105 volts) mean absolutely nothing. An analog multimeter would properly show no voltage. The reading of 105 volts is phantom voltage.
 
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Old 05-24-06, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
You are using a digital multi meter. Your results with the breaker off (the 105 volts) mean absolutely nothing. An analog multimeter would properly show no voltage. The reading of 105 volts is phantom voltage.
So are you saying I've got nothing to worry about?? There is still the matter of the dim lights on the circuit tester.....
 
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Old 05-25-06, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by tabb
So are you saying I've got nothing to worry about?? There is still the matter of the dim lights on the circuit tester.....
You should investigate further the "multiwire" issue mentioned by winnie. It's not clear from your posts above that you've checked this out fully. Usually in new residential the multiwire consists of a red hot, black hot, and white neutral plus ground.

That is, there are two circuits (two breakers) sharing a neutral in a multiwire. So, even if one breaker is off, there may still be current on the "neutral" wire. You need to turn off both breakers supplying the outlet you mentioned and try testing again with a lamp, your tester and an analog meter for most reliable results.
 
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Old 05-25-06, 08:07 PM
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Both breakers are linked together so when I turn the top feed off, the bottom also goes out.

Had a little more time to play around today......undid the "red" hot wire from the trouble circuit and the tester light went out ......all I had time for.... makes me think that there may be a problem with the hot side of the circuit and not the shared neutral side as the bottom half of the same outlet (black hot wire) is ok. PLease correct me if I'm wrong...not an electrican by trade.......
 
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Old 05-25-06, 08:22 PM
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Given the information supplied, I don't think that you have a problem.

My gut tells me that you are either seeing a bit of 'phantom' voltage on one circuit from the other circuit which shares the same neutral. If you are not having problems with this circuit than I wouldn't worry. It always pays to make a complete map of your circuits to make sure that you understand all of the connected loads; you might find a 240V load (quite likely completely to code) or a cross connection with another circuit (not to code).

-Jon
 
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Old 05-25-06, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by winnie
you might find a 240V load (quite likely completely to code) or a cross connection with another circuit (not to code).

-Jon
If both breakers are off and you're still seeing current on the hot wire, either the breaker is bad or current is induced or backfeeding from somewhere.

Here's a situation I have seen: Computer plugged into one circuit. Computer monitor plugged into another circuit. Enough current passing between computer and monitor, via SVGA connection, to trip a GFCI.

Also, since the multiwire has common trip (handle tie) breakers, and you're seeing current on the hot wire, is there a third circuit in play? Have you tried unplugging all of your loads and checking other receps for hot-neutral reversals?
 
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Old 05-26-06, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by tabb
Both breakers are linked together so when I turn the top feed off, the bottom also goes out.

Had a little more time to play around today......undid the "red" hot wire from the trouble circuit and the tester light went out ......
Okay, now I am confused. I just read Arg's post, and went back to your post.

Are you saying that this circuit is controlled by a double pole breaker?

That when you turn off this _double_ pole breaker, you still have an indication on the three light receptacle tester?

That when you disconnect the red wire from the receptacle (with the breaker off) this indication goes away?

Could you confirm weather or not you are seeing any voltage between _neutral_ and _ground_ in any configuration?

Do you have a 'low impedance' tester, eg a small light bulb on test leads, or a 'wiggy'?

-Jon
 
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Old 05-26-06, 05:49 AM
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Missing or loose Bonding jumper??
 
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Old 05-26-06, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by winnie
Are you saying that this circuit is controlled by a double pole breaker?
Yes

Originally Posted by winnie
That when you turn off this _double_ pole breaker, you still have an indication on the three light receptacle tester?
Yes

Originally Posted by winnie
That when you disconnect the red wire from the receptacle (with the breaker off) this indication goes away?
Yes

Originally Posted by winnie
Could you confirm weather or not you are seeing any voltage between _neutral_ and _ground_ in any configuration?
No voltage in at any time

Originally Posted by winnie
Do you have a 'low impedance' tester, eg a small light bulb on test leads, or a 'wiggy'?
Yes I have a "wiggy" tester.....and no it does not light. The only thing that does is the 3 light circuit tester. It's very dim and flickery which is why I don't think there's a lot of current flowing.......

I'm going to disconnect the wire from the breaker later and see if I still have light/105V present......
 
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Old 05-27-06, 05:39 AM
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Okay, what you are describing is _almost_ classic 'phantom voltage'.

Phantom voltage is actually quite real, caused by minute currents induced in one wire by the proximity of other wires with voltage on them. Phantom voltage is backed up by only a minute amount of current; with a high impedance volt meter you see a quite high voltage, but even a slight load will 'drain' off the current and make the voltage go away. In some industrial control circuits, 'phantom voltage' is enough to cause a very noticeable jolt.

What I find surprising is that you have enough _current_ behind this to actually light a neon.

I would expect much lower current to be available in a residential situation, but it is entirely possible that this is totally normal phantom voltage.

I would suggest that you do the following: turn off the circuit in question, and use your multi-meter to measure the voltage between hot and neutral. Then start turning off _other_ circuit breakers in your house, and see which breaker makes the phantom voltage go away. After you find this circuit, map out all of the interacting circuits, and see if they ever share a conduit, junction box, path in the wall, etc.

Also I would suggest carefully mapping out the circuit in question, to make sure that all of the conductors (both hots and neutral) follow the same path with no 'loops' (where the hots go one way and the neutrals go another, or where the circuit splits and then rejoins).

If you don't find anything that looks strange, eg. a place where the wires of the different circuits are right next to each other and the insulation looks toasty, or wires of the same circuit following different paths, then I'd just chalk this up to ordinary phantom voltage.

-Jon
 
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Old 05-27-06, 12:08 PM
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OK.....first I would like to thank all who responded, you were all a great help.

2nd......I think I have figured out what is casuing my "Phantom" voltage.......It is indeed a very low current/high voltage situation being caused by a faulty breaker. I beleive that the low current was what threw my little tester off. There was basically enough juice to light 1 light but not both. If the current had been ay higher I beleive that both lights would have lit indicating a normal operating circuit.

What I ended up doing was tracing the circuit back to the fuse panel to ensure nothing else was on this circuit. The 14/3 cable is connected to a double pole 15A breaker that fed 2 outlets, your basic split outlet setup for kitchens. I disonnected both outlets from the circuit witch left me with the cable run into the fusebox and the breaker. I then took the connection from breaker A and switched it with the connection at breaker B. The "Phantom" voltage stayed at breaker A. I then swapped out the suspected faulty double pole breaker and the current was gone. I even went as far as sticking the faulty breaker into another split outlet circuit and the current came back.......

Thanks again for all who helped!!!

Len
 
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Old 05-27-06, 12:15 PM
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Sorry...one more question....

I have read that to supply recessed lights, the cabling must be able to handle 90 deg +, your typical present day platic NM cable. I've got an older style black cloth covered NM cable feeding my present florescent fixture. Can I use the older cloth covered NM cable to feed the recessed cans (totalling 5A and all are IC cans) or should I run a new feeder cable of the plastic NM......The only other load on the circuit is a 40W hallway light.
 
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Old 05-27-06, 05:07 PM
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You probably need to replace the old NM with new cable, for just the reason you stated.
 
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