OLD Light Switch replacement!! Help Please!

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Old 01-25-08, 10:08 AM
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OLD Light Switch replacement!! Help Please!

Hello I am back but i have recently traced the wire from the second floor to the first floor where the switch was connected and i discovered that there is no current on the black and white wire. I connected a light bulb and got current when i touched the metal covering which is the ground. Does this mean that there is a broken wire in this cable ? Please any help..
 
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Old 01-25-08, 10:15 AM
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I don't know what kind of test you performed, but I don't think it means anything. If you explain what you did and what your problem is, perhaps we can help.
 
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Old 01-25-08, 01:01 PM
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Testing requires two test points. Please specify the two test points you are using. Also you are not measuring current. You are measuring voltage.
 
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Old 01-25-08, 01:22 PM
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If you have only two wires in the switch box check for voltage between them with the bulb unscrewed. If no voltage with the power off to the circuit connect the two wires together with a wire nut. Screw in a known good light bulb. If it lights you have found the switch loop for your light. With the power off to the circuit disconnect the two switch wires and attach to a switch. If you don't know which circuit use the main breaker to turn off all power.

Do not try the above if more then two wires in switch box. Instead post back with the exact wiring at both ends. Include all wires.
 
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Old 01-25-08, 03:34 PM
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old light replacement

Thanks guys and sorry if i was not clear. Okay i have narrowed it down to a junction box in the ceiling on the first floor. Here is where there is a romex cable that should give me the voltage but instead of the black and the white wire it is the black and the metal part(supposedly ground) of the romex. Please help..
 
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Old 01-25-08, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by elacesar View Post
Thanks guys and sorry if i was not clear. Okay i have narrowed it down to a junction box in the ceiling on the first floor. Here is where there is a romex cable that should give me the voltage but instead of the black and the white wire it is the black and the metal part(supposedly ground) of the romex. Please help..
You would expect a voltage difference across the black and ground, so that is not a problem, AFAIK.

It appears as though the white wire here is disconnected somehow.

What is in this junction box? Is it two cables? Have you checked the white wire from both cables?
 
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Old 01-25-08, 04:19 PM
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You have an open neutral. Find it and fix it.
 
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Old 01-25-08, 05:10 PM
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I agree. You have an open neutral. Could be in any junction box on the circuit including boxes with working devices and the main panel if the entire circuit is dead.
 
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Old 01-25-08, 05:29 PM
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old light replacement

Thanks guys for replying and i thought it was an open wire somewhere but the walls are sheetrocked and its going to be tough.. The entire circuit is not dead because when i flip on the breaker most of the lights turn on. Would the bad connection be on a switch or on a junction box?? Thanks again
 
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Old 01-25-08, 05:36 PM
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All wire connections should be in permanently accessible junction boxes. These should be either boxes containing switches, boxes containing receptacles, other boxes at appliances, or other boxes that may have been placed to aid in wiring (such as when upgrades were done).

You just have to look. Open each and every box on the circuit. Check the connections. Remake any wire nutted connections with new wire nuts. Move any back stabbed connections to the screw terminals. Check all connections. Remember that the problem can be anywhere on the circuit, not just at a location where the problem is evident, such as a receptacle that does not work.

Back track from where you know the problem exists. Since you know it is at a ceiling box then go back to the switch. Then go back to whatever receptacle or location might be feeding the switch. Remember, when they wire homes they usually take the shortest route so determine everything on the circuit and go from there.
 
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Old 01-25-08, 07:02 PM
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sounds like a backfed switch you are working on, that is why u are not reading voltage to neutral(may not be a neutral), but will read voltage to ground, if you read voltage ground to neutral you will read full potential voltage(open neutral) if you are trying to read current, you will only read current once bulb is in(resistive load)
Originally Posted by racraft View Post
All wire connections should be in permanently accessible junction boxes. These should be either boxes containing switches, boxes containing receptacles, other boxes at appliances, or other boxes that may have been placed to aid in wiring (such as when upgrades were done).

You just have to look. Open each and every box on the circuit. Check the connections. Remake any wire nutted connections with new wire nuts. Move any back stabbed connections to the screw terminals. Check all connections. Remember that the problem can be anywhere on the circuit, not just at a location where the problem is evident, such as a receptacle that does not work.

Back track from where you know the problem exists. Since you know it is at a ceiling box then go back to the switch. Then go back to whatever receptacle or location might be feeding the switch. Remember, when they wire homes they usually take the shortest route so determine everything on the circuit and go from there.
 
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Old 01-26-08, 09:33 AM
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old light replacement

Thanks again guys,, I know that it is an open neutral somewhere so I am trying to figure out a way of finding it without bringing down a chandelier, a ceiling fan and a couple of other lights.. Thanks again for the help..
 
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Old 01-26-08, 01:24 PM
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If you know the sequential route of the cable the problem is in the last working box or the first not working box in the sequence.
 
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Old 01-26-08, 02:35 PM
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old light replacement

Thanks Joed but I dont know the sequential route and the only box that is not working is the ceiling box and the with for it..
 
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Old 01-26-08, 05:28 PM
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You have to attempt to figure out the route. Try obvious choices. But, yes, you may have to open and check every box on the circuit.

You could have been done by now.
 
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Old 01-26-08, 06:30 PM
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You could some testing.
Turn off the breaker. Open a receptacle on the circuit and disconnect all the black wires. Turn the breaker back on and see how much of the circuit goes off.
Then choose one of the prevoius working devices that went dead and open it up and do the same thing.
 
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Old 01-27-08, 10:35 AM
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old light replacement

Thanks again Joed but just a little more help on that great idea. When i remove the black wire from that receptacle how can i narrow it down to that receptacle.. Sorry to bother but I really want to do it by myself because i have spoken to three electricians and after a week they have not showed up..
 
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Old 01-27-08, 11:26 AM
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Your problem is actually in the white wire. After you inspect the receptacle you have opened, if you disconnect the black wires and leave them hanging but safe and turn the power back on, then all the devices that are still working are before the one you are working on and probably not your problem. Look again in the other devices on the circut that are dead.
 
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Old 01-27-08, 11:57 AM
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I understand your reluctance to take down ceiling fixtures, but you could have been done by now. A ceiling fan would be one of the first places I would suspect, given the movement of the fan and possible vibration of the box.
 
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Old 01-27-08, 12:27 PM
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old light replacement

Thats a good point about the ceiling fixture. I will get it down tonight and hopefully figure this out. Thanks aain guys
 
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Old 01-28-08, 05:17 PM
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old light replacement

Just to let you know that i removed the ceiling fan and i found two wires that were running the fan so i guess the problem is not there. The only things that i found that were on this circuit breaker were the outlets near the floor so is it possible that one of these outlets is the culprit? Thanks for any help..
 
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Old 01-28-08, 05:34 PM
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Check all your connections make sure they are tight ... Especially backstabs. they suck
 
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Old 01-28-08, 05:43 PM
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old light switch

Thanks but its going to be tough because there are about ten outlets and who knows if there is another outlet somewhere else.. Fed uppp
 
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Old 01-30-08, 12:09 PM
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old light switch

Does anyone know an easier way of tracing Romex cable wire to the power source?? Thanks for any help
 
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Old 02-01-08, 08:53 AM
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old light switch

Thanks for the help guys I had to eliminate this cable because it had no neutral on it. I Used an outlet that had power and broke up the nicely plastered walls to bring over the neutral wire. Thanks again
 
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Old 02-01-08, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by elacesar View Post
Thanks for the help guys I had to eliminate this cable because it had no neutral on it. I Used an outlet that had power and broke up the nicely plastered walls to bring over the neutral wire. Thanks again
I hope you brought over a whole cable and not just a neutral wire.
 
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Old 02-04-08, 09:45 AM
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old light switch

Thanks Joed yes the electrician installed new wires and eliminated the old ones and its working the way its suppose to. Thanks again
 
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