Bad wire?!?

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Old 08-12-07, 03:35 PM
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Bad wire?!?

I may be the latest casualty in the "doing things out of order" club...

Finishing a basement. I ran all of the wiring (using 12/2 or 12/3 where appropriate) last fall. I didn't have time to test the outlet wiring before drywall was put up. Everything has now been finished (painted, tile and carpet laid, etc...), and we were preparing to move our daughter into the bedroom we put down there. I wired up the outlets and connected them to the panel, and absolutely no power what-so-ever at the outlets in the bedroom. Outlets in other areas of the basement seem to work okay - they're on a different run of 12/2 that comes into the panel.

I tried connecting only the first outlet, thinking that maybe a loose neutral or something down the line may be causing a problem, and still nothing.

I tested the breaker by connecting a run that goes to other outlets in the basement, and confirmed that the breaker is fine.

Prior to this basement project, I completely re-wired the entire upstairs of our 50 year old house, so I'm not necessarily a newbie at this. This is the first time I've ever experienced anything like this.

Is it probable that I have a break in the 12/2 somewhere in between the breaker and the first outlet (approximately 50 feet of wire between the panel and the bedroom)? Is there some way to test for this?

Please give any thoughts... Right now I'm frustrated because I'm afraid that I may have to replace the entire run from the panel to the bedroom, which means tearing into the drywall.

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-12-07, 03:40 PM
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If you know the first receptacle on that run, you can test for power at it. If no power, then you have a problem between that receptacle and the panel.

How do you have the wiring hooked up at each location?
 
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Old 08-12-07, 03:50 PM
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In the first outlet, there are two 12/2 lines coming into the box. I have the blacks from each connected to the two HOT (brass) screws, and the two whites connected to the WHITE screws (I'm not using the quick connect tabs in the back of the outlet). Grounds connected together with a green wire nut, which one tail coming through the hole in the end and connecting to the ground screw (by the way, I've tried another outlet, that I know works, and same result.).
I've tried connecting only one 12/2 line to the outlet at a time, as well.

At the panel, I have the ground connected to the expansion ground bar, and the white connected to the neutral/ground bar at the top of the panel, with the black connected in the clamp screw on the breaker.

What frustrates me is that this should be so simple and straight-forward, I've made these connection dozens of times through the household re-wire process...

Thanks for posting!
 
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Old 08-12-07, 03:55 PM
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By the way - your avatar is veerry appropriate right now!
 
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Old 08-12-07, 04:15 PM
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Do you have a multimeter handy?

Turn off breaker to the suspected circuit. You could check continuity by taking the neutral and hot wires in the first recetacle and wire nutting them together, then disconnect the hot and neutral in the panel and put your multimeter leads to them. If that cable is intact, you will have continuity.
 
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Old 08-12-07, 04:44 PM
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How did you test?
 
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Old 08-12-07, 07:33 PM
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Duh!

I don't have a multimeter, so I couldn't check it that way.

Turns out I'm now officially in the running for idiot of the year award!

After 3 1/2 hours of trying everything I could think of to figure out what was going on, I was standing in the doorway to the bedroom preparing to start cutting holes in the drywall when I looked down at a receptacle box that I put in the short hallway between the bedroom and the bathroom (of course, I hadn't had time to wire in that outlet, either).
As I sat there and contemplated where that outlet was going to draw it's power from it dawned on me that while completing my wiring, I had changed my plans, and actually brought the line in from the panel to that outlet, and then ran from that outlet to the outlet in the bedroom that I thought was the first in the series in the bedroom.
I wired up that outlet, turned on the breaker an presto - power to the bedroom outlets.

Sorry I panicked and wasted your time and board space.

Thanks for taking the time to try to help through my crisis that wasn'...
 
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