Power out in one room...

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Old 05-21-10, 07:57 PM
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Power out in one room...

Hey guys,

New to DIY.com here but am an avid DIYer, hence the name. Anywho I am not very eletrically savvy and am having a problem.

The power is out in the back room of my house and the adjacent walls in the other rooms (the ones they share with the "no power" room).

I have checked all the outlets and none appear to have blown or have loose wiring. I even checked all the but-connectors and made sure they were all secure.
'
The house I am in is semi old, not sure of the exact date but it was probably built around mid 60's to early 70's. There is NO fuze box, which I found extremely odd. The target room is connected to a 15amp breaker.

From what I have described does anyone have a suggestion that comes immediately, or even one that takes a while to come up with .

Any help is greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 05-21-10, 08:00 PM
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Unfortunately this is pretty much an easter egg hunt. I would start to look either in the last working or first non-working receptacle or the most commonly used switch or receptacle.

I know you said you checked the splices, but sometimes the backstabs appear fine but are actually loose.
 

Last edited by pcboss; 05-21-10 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 05-21-10, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by AvidDIYRookie View Post
The house I am in is semi old, not sure of the exact date but it was probably built around mid 60's to early 70's. There is NO fuze box, which I found extremely odd. The target room is connected to a 15amp breaker.
Welcome! The fact there is no fuse box but you said the circuit is on a 15 amp breaker has me a little confused. So you have an electrical panel or not??
 
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Old 05-21-10, 08:51 PM
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Can you explain "but-connectors". But- connectors are not normally used in household wiring. Did you mean wire nuts or something else?
 
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Old 05-22-10, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by AvidDIYRookie View Post
The house I am in is semi old, not sure of the exact date but it was probably built around mid 60's to early 70's.
A rental house I work on was built around 1868. Ohhh.......you mean 1968? That ain't old. Not to me anyway.

Hopefuly you do not have aluminum wiring. If you did not find the problem yet, let us know, as all of us love to solve electrical outages here.
 
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Old 05-22-10, 05:47 PM
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Ecman51- Hahah well I guess it isn't very old, but the wiring was done very poorly. There is no fuze box, but there is a circuit breaker. The circuit breaker is connected to these 3 small fuzes directly behind it. From there the wires run to and throughout the house. It is copper wire.

Ray2047- Yeah sorry I meant wire nuts, just used butt connectors on another project got mixed up.

Toyln- Yes I do have an electrical panel. but the panel is then directly connected to the outlets instead of to a fuze box.

PCboss- I am going to replace all the outlets tonight and hopefully that will solve the problem.

I'll let you guys know tonight if it works or not.

Thanks for all your help, it's greatly appreciated

Rook
 
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Old 05-22-10, 05:51 PM
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Yes I do have an electrical panel. but the panel is then directly connected to the outlets instead of to a fuze box.
You don't use a fuse box if you have a breaker box. A breaker and fuse are both over current protection devices.
 
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Old 05-22-10, 08:59 PM
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Oh okay gotcha Ray.... for some reason I was under the impression that the circuit breaker lead to the fuze box, but obviously that is not the case, thanks for the clarification.

So, I have replaced every outlet in the target room as well as the outlets that were affected on the sharing walls in other rooms next to it with no luck.

I don't know if this will help diagnose the problem but the light switch in the target room does not work and the light switch in an adjacent room, which shares a wall with the target room, does not work.

Also, when switching out the outlets I double checked and didn't see any burnt or loose wires.
 
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Old 05-22-10, 09:17 PM
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How many cables at each switch. How are the wires from the cables connected? While you are checking that remove any wire nuts and replace with new wire nuts.
the light switch in the target room does not work and the light switch in an adjacent room, which shares a wall with the target room, does not work.
 
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Old 05-22-10, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
How many cables at each switch. How are the wires from the cables connected? While you are checking that remove any wire nuts and replace with new wire nuts.
There are 3 main cables which split into 2 wires, and there is a copper wire at each switch.There are actually 3 switches that are not working. 2 of them have 2 black wires going in and the other has 3 wires going in, 2 black on the right side top and bottom with a white wire going in on the left bottom side.

I do not have any wire nuts but will get some tomorrow to replace. In the meantime is there anything else I can do/attempt?
 
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Old 05-23-10, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by AvidDIYRookie View Post
There are 3 main cables which split into 2 wires,....
3 x 2 = 6 total wires?(not counting ground wires)

There are actually 3 switches that are not working.
Do all these switches have "on" and "off" written on the toggle? Or is one of them a 3-way (which will have a toggle with no writing on it).
 
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Old 05-24-10, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
3 x 2 = 6 total wires?(not counting ground wires)



Do all these switches have "on" and "off" written on the toggle? Or is one of them a 3-way (which will have a toggle with no writing on it).
yes 6 wires total, not including ground wires... These wires run from the wall and into wire nuts where they all meet and are then connected to the switch. there is one wire which goes directly into the switch without going into a wire nut first.

2 of the 3 switches have "on" and "off" written on them, the 3rd does not. The one you describe as a 3-way is the one with 3 wires going into it. Of these wires, 2 go directly into it from the wall (one white, one black) and the 3rd goes into it attached to a wire nut first.
 
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Old 05-24-10, 02:27 PM
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Redo all the wire nuts mentioned in your post with new wire nuts. Not saying this is the cause but if it doesn't help you have at least eliminated some of the possible causes.
 
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Old 05-24-10, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by AvidDIYRookie View Post
Hey guys,

New to DIY.com here but am an avid DIYer, hence the name. Anywho I am not very eletrically savvy and am having a problem.

The power is out in the back room of my house and the adjacent walls in the other rooms (the ones they share with the "no power" room).

I have checked all the outlets and none appear to have blown or have loose wiring. I even checked all the but-connectors and made sure they were all secure.
'
The house I am in is semi old, not sure of the exact date but it was probably built around mid 60's to early 70's. There is NO fuze box, which I found extremely odd. The target room is connected to a 15amp breaker.

From what I have described does anyone have a suggestion that comes immediately, or even one that takes a while to come up with .

Any help is greatly appreciated.
Are you sure that is the correct breaker for that circuit? If not have you checked out other circuit breakers to see if any of them were tripped? Some breaker types are hard to see if they have been tripped so you would need to turn them off then back on.

Jim

 
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Old 05-24-10, 04:50 PM
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Power out

Perhaps this gentleman would be well served by a pen-type voltage detector, they are inexpensive and valuable in this kind of work. I think my stud sensor also has some sort of cable or ac detect function, though I've never used it.

Can anyone recommend a "less expensive" detector with greater range than the pen type, ideally one that can detect dead cable as well as live? IE a metal detector function.

Also, I'm still not sure I understand this breaker/fuse box thing. My best guess is that there is a main breaker (or at least a disconnect switch) followed by three fuses for the branch circuit?

Removing the fuses one at a time might help you to get a sense for the "wiring diagram" of your house. I would flip the main breaker off before removing each fuse, back on after removal, back off before re-insertion of the fuse to prevent arcing or other mishap.

Once you've got your "diagram", you should be able to find the last working fixture/outlet on the line. As a previous post suggested, you should focus your efforts on the last working fixture and the next inline that doesn't work.
 

Last edited by mysterylectric; 05-24-10 at 04:54 PM. Reason: clarify by adding last paragraph
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Old 05-24-10, 05:09 PM
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Mysterylectric, welcome to the forum. The non contact testers are okay for a limited number of things but can be misleading for a newbie. The Op was under the impression that you needed to use fuses with a breaker. That has been explained to him. Your Idea of diagramming is good but his description of the switch connections seems to indicate the circuit is, at least in part, non-linear.
 
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Old 05-26-10, 02:20 PM
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So I have replaced the old wire nuts with new ones and made sure they were all very secure. Still no luck unfortunately.

I have purchased an electrical meter and when testing the 3way switch by touching the wires going into the back of it, it reads 0. But when testing the wires that are going into the wires nuts it reads 120v. The 3way switch is connected with 3 wires, 2 black and 1 white. the black wires are connected on the right back side, one on top and the other on the bottom. The white wire is connected to the bottom left corner on the back. Both the bottom black and white wires are coming from a completely different larger wire, which I believe runs to the rest of the non-functioning outlets.

It seems like this switch is the trouble-maker... Should I replace it?
 
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Old 05-31-10, 07:03 PM
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So I put a new 3 way switch in and it still doesnt work. when I tested the cables running into the back of the switch, the two black read 120v when tested with a neutral other than the one going in the back. When i test with the neutral going into the switch it reads very weak about 20v, this is with the new switch installed. Anything helps
 
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Old 05-31-10, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by AvidDIYRookie View Post
So I put a new 3 way switch in and it still doesnt work. when I tested the cables running into the back of the switch, the two black read 120v when tested with a neutral other than the one going in the back. When i test with the neutral going into the switch it reads very weak about 20v, this is with the new switch installed. Anything helps
Neutrals never get connected to a switch. The white is a hot wire that was not reidentified because either the original installer was lazy or it was not required at the time. If you have a white that is attached to a switch then mark it black so as not to confuse it as a neutral.

You keep posting the wires go to the back of the switches. I suggest removing the wires from the back stabbed holes and only use the side screws unless these are premium devices.
 
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Old 05-31-10, 10:44 PM
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The other place you should check is the ceiling luminaires as well from time to time you will snag a bad connection up there as well.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 06-01-10, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
Neutrals never get connected to a switch. The white is a hot wire that was not reidentified because either the original installer was lazy or it was not required at the time. If you have a white that is attached to a switch then mark it black so as not to confuse it as a neutral.

You keep posting the wires go to the back of the switches. I suggest removing the wires from the back stabbed holes and only use the side screws unless these are premium devices.
The white which you described as a hot wire and should be black, when tested reads 0v. The other two wires read 120v. The wires are actually connected by the screws on the side, I just kept saying that.

I am going to check the light sockets themselves tomorrow and let you know what I find.

Any reason why the white (suppose to be black) wire is reading 0v? The switch is brand new.
 
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Old 06-01-10, 10:35 PM
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Any reason why the white (suppose to be black) wire is reading 0v?
The common that goes to the light should read 0 volts when not connected to the switch. Is it connected to the odd colored screw?
 
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Old 06-02-10, 07:41 AM
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Yiou might be reading 0 volts due to where you are testing for voltage. You need a difference in potential before you will get a valid reading. For example, suppose a single pole switch is on, try to check for voltage between the screws. You will read 0. Now if you checked for voltage between either of the screws and a green ground or a neutral connection you should read 120 volts.
 
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Old 06-03-10, 04:16 PM
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Now I have checked the light fixtures and everything looks to be okay. I went ahead and changed the wire nuts on the lights. I decided to test the switch again today and found that the common now reads 120v (when connected to the switch), the top black also reads 120v BUT the bottom black reads 0v. This black that is reading 0v shares a rubber casing (for lack of a better description) with the common (white) wire.

No the common is not connected to the odd colored screw.

I tested each wire individually using the same ground.

I really want to avoid having to call a pro out here.
 

Last edited by AvidDIYRookie; 06-03-10 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 06-03-10, 05:41 PM
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No the common is not connected to the odd colored screw.
But it should be. A three way switch has three screws. The odd colored screw is the common. At one of the switches the common connects to the load/light. At the other switch the common connects to the line/hot.

The two same colored screws are the travelers. In a properly wired circuit at each switch one traveler is always 0 volts and one is 120v. This will change from one screw to the other depending on switch position.
 
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Old 06-03-10, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
But it should be. A three way switch has three screws. The odd colored screw is the common. At one of the switches the common connects to the load/light. At the other switch the common connects to the line/hot.

The two same colored screws are the travelers. In a properly wired circuit at each switch one traveler is always 0 volts and one is 120v. This will change from one screw to the other depending on switch position.
The only odd colored screw on the switch is the Ground. There is however the word "common" pressed into the back of the switch, a black wire is connected to this screw.

I checked the other 3way switch ( the one that runs in line with this, which I have not tampered with save changing the wire nuts and reconnecting) and it is setup the same way.

I am guessing that whoever wired the lights just used copper wire and was lazy with following color code. I am a total rookie to this so just speculation.
 
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Old 06-03-10, 07:00 PM
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The only odd colored screw on the switch is the Ground. There is however the word "common" pressed into the back of the switch, a black wire is connected to this screw.
Then that is the common wire. That should either be a hot or go to the light. If it goes to the light when disconnected it should measure 0v to ground. If it is hot it should, when disconnected, measure a 120v to ground.
was lazy with following color code
There is really no color code except that a white wire must be remarked if not used as a neutral.
 
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