Hot-Neutral reversed?

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-19-07, 07:11 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 443
Hot-Neutral reversed?

I installed some new receptacles in my master bath (in line with the GFI). I used one of those tri-circuit testers and the light combination (Red, Yellow, off) says that the Hot and Neutral are reversed? I guess I messed up, but what does that mean? The receptacles actually work, too.

Any help!

Thanks
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-19-07, 07:43 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
If the receptacles work and your tester says that the hot and neutral are reversed then you have the hot and neutral reversed.

Did you connect the hot wire to the brass screw on the receptacle and the neutral wire to the silver screw on the receptacle? Or did you just connect the wires, not paying attention to what terminals you connected them to?

Just what do you mean by "The receptacles actually work."
 
  #3  
Old 10-19-07, 07:45 AM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: usa
Posts: 274
Assuming that the circuit was wired properly in the first place, and that your circuit tester is correct.

It most likely means that the black (hot, non grounded) conductor and the white (neutral, grounded) conductors are reversed on the receptacle(s) that you replaced.

On a standard 120V duplex receptacle, the black (hot) wire goes on the brass colored screw.
This is the terminal (screw) that powers the small, rectangular slot on the receptacle.

The white (neutral) wire goes on the silver colored screw.
This is the terminal (screw) that powers the larger, rectangular slot on the receptacle.

The bare (or green) wire goes on the green screw on the receptacle.
This wire attaches to (bonds) the metal strap on the receptacle and also bonds to the grounding (round hole) connection on the receptacle.

Although they still "work", they need to be corrected if they are mis-wired.
Mis-wiring could pose a hazard under some circumstances.

Just my opinion

steve
 
  #4  
Old 10-19-07, 09:02 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 443
"Did you connect the hot wire to the brass screw on the receptacle and the neutral wire to the silver screw on the receptacle? Or did you just connect the wires, not paying attention to what terminals you connected them to?"

- Ok, that must be it then. I must've connected them to the wrong terminals. I'll open up and check now.

By "working" I meant that I can use them to power things like a curling iron and a razor. And the GFI tripped one time. So, in a way they are working.


"Assuming that the circuit was wired properly in the first place, and that your circuit tester is correct."

- Nope, Im assuming I wired something wrong.

Thanks
 
  #5  
Old 10-19-07, 09:29 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Most devices that use alternating current have no clue which side of the power is hot and which is grounded, and they don't care. They work just fine either way.

You will note that some devices you plug in can be plugged in with the plug either way. Others have a polarized plug and it will only fit one way. Still others have a ground prong, which forces the issue.

Many of those devices with a polarized plug would still work if the plug were reversed, but you run the risk of potentially energizing a portion of the device (such as the shell on a lamp socket) if the plug is reversed.
 
  #6  
Old 10-19-07, 12:53 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 443
Ah, thank you for the explanation. I really do learn so much on here. I remember reading about the polarization of the prongs on the outlet - makes complete sense. Did not know how other areas could be potentially energized b/c of it. Thank you as always!

Ok, now some more details on what happened. I opened up the first two receptacles and they were wired fine. Opened up the third, and that too seemed to be wired fine. Then, I noticed that one of the hot wires (connected to the correct side) had actually broken off at the terminal! Somehow this was all running with one hot wire completely severed. Is that possible?

I will add that the receptacle box has three sets of wires (and hots) coming in/out of it. One is the lead right from the breaker box, another goes out to the GFI in the other room (not sure why?) and then a third was the one I added and which broke. Some reason it still worked!
 
  #7  
Old 10-19-07, 02:40 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
When two hot wires are connected to the same receptacle, it often means that one of them is the supply wire (upstream) and the other is taking the hot to other places (downstream). The receptacle will still operate fine if the downstream wire is broken as long as the upstream wire is still good.

Note that if your wires are breaking, it's likely that you are stripping them incorrectly. It is critically important not to nick the copper when stripping wires. Even if the wire doesn't completely break, a nick will create a hot spot that can start a fire.
 
  #8  
Old 10-22-07, 03:21 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 443
Hi John, I can see that about stripping the wires correctly. Boy was I doing it wrong and the hard way back when I installed these receptacles. Im great at it now and have the proper tools. Before I didnt.

Strange, to your point about the actual receptacle working fine if the hot for one of the downstreams was broken. Well, all three of the receptacles worked fine - the one where the break was, and the two downstream. also, the GFI which is where the third hot went off to, worked fine as well?
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'