power, but no lights...


Old 05-22-06, 06:53 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Guelph, Ontario, Canada
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Question power, but no lights...

Hi, so I turned on the vacuum today and got nowhere - figured I'd tripped a breaker, so I went and flipped it off and on - still no power. Strange I thought, so I got out my sniffer - it says there's definitely power going through the circuit, in fact I didn't even have to go as close to the wires on that circuit to get a beep as I did on other circuits (I have no idea what that means, if anything?). The breaker is a double; I learned that if you flip both off and on simultaneously then you get light (by this time I had reduced the circuit down to a single light bulb, no switch or anything), but then I put the circuit back together, got no power again, then reduced it again to a single bulb, and was again back to nothing. Has anyone ever heard of anything like this, or better yet, have any idea how to fix it?
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Old 05-22-06, 07:03 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
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Sounds like you may have lost the neutral connection somewhere.

Get one of those little plug in testers that check hot neut and ground or a small voltage tester and check at that recep from hot to neut and hot to ground. If you have a vlotage reading hot to ground but not hot to neut, you lost your neut.

It may be as simple as a wire joint came loose (hopefully in that box) but it could be anywhere in that circuit.

I don't quite understand your test procedure but this single circuit should not be on a double (2 pole) breaker.

If you lost a neut, you may actually have 2 hot circuits at this recep. The power from the circuit using a common neut can back feed to your neutral so be cautious.
Old 05-22-06, 07:20 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
You have an open neutral. The high current draw of the vacuum cleaner has caused a weak connection to open up. The likely culprit is a failed back stab connection.

You will have to check every receptacle and other junction box on the circuit. You are looking for an open neutral wire. While checking, remake every wire nut connection, and move any back stabbed wires to the screw terminals.

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