Outlets working but not light fixtures.

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  #1  
Old 04-13-12, 12:33 PM
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Post Outlets working but not light fixtures.

Not sure where to go with this. All of the outlets in the den work but suddenly the ceiling fan and the other light fixture as well as the exhaust fan over the stove do not work. I replaced the switches but that didn't work.

I bought a tester so that I could test the breakers and they all were receiving power but for some reason, there was no power at the switches.

Don't really know why all of a sudden they would just stop working.

Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thank you
 
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  #2  
Old 04-13-12, 12:43 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Have you reset all the breakers? Often they do not look tripped when they really are.
 
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Old 04-13-12, 01:47 PM
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I bought a tester so that I could test the breakers and they all were receiving power but for some reason, there was no power at the switches.
Not aware of a tester specifically made for that. If you mean a non contact tester any results may be wrong. If testing the breaker the output is the important info. That can be tested with a test light, multimeter, or solenoid tester, or swapping the wire to a known good breaker.

Follow Mitch's instruction to reset the breaker and we will go from there.
 
  #4  
Old 04-13-12, 02:33 PM
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Ok. I will make sure that all of the breakers are in the right position and are not tripped. For clarifiction, do I flip them off and then back on, or just make sure that they are flipped on? sorry if that's silly question, just want to make sure that I am doing it the right way.

The tester that I was using (I don't have it in front of me) had two contact leads, a black and a red. The guy at Home Depot told me to use it to see if I had power at the breaker. ok.

Thank you guys for the responses. I am checking the breakers now.
 

Last edited by monti71; 04-13-12 at 02:59 PM.
  #5  
Old 04-13-12, 03:15 PM
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do I flip them off and then back on,
Yes you must flip them off then on. You usually can't tell just by looking.

The tester that I was using (I don't have it in front of me) had two contact leads, a black and a red. The guy at Home Depot told me to use it to see if I had power at the breaker. ok.
Good. Sounds like a test light. It shows you have power leaving the breaker. You did test between the breaker screw and neutral bar correct?

Have you red this yet: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...rminology.html
 
  #6  
Old 04-13-12, 06:03 PM
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You did test between the breaker screw and neutral bar correct?
The small inexpensive test lights I am familiar with don't have leads long enough to test most breakers that way. I prefer a solenoid tester for this type of test. A digital or analog meter also works well, but the solenoid tester is faster.
 
  #7  
Old 04-14-12, 01:31 PM
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OK. I flipped all of the breakers off and then back on and nothing happened. still no power is getting to the ceiling fan, light fixture or exhaust fan.

I am not familiar with a solenoid tester. I will say this about my electrical panel; There is not a main shut off for all breakers. There are 2 thick main cables coming into the panel that are screwed down. I don't know where the main shut off would be.

Thsnks again
 
  #8  
Old 04-14-12, 02:01 PM
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Is it possible that lights and fan were fed off one of the outlets that was a ground fault and was tripped.

I had a lightning strike about 200' away and surge through the Comcast cable was enough to burn out the TV (smoke and all). Later, I just happened to look at an outlet in the kitchen and noticed it had popped - All were wired by the amateur DIYer that was the father of the slumlord that previously owned the townhouse.

Anything is possible.

Dick
 
  #9  
Old 04-14-12, 02:52 PM
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still no power is getting to the ceiling fan, light fixture or exhaust fan.
If you've tested for power at each location, and there is none, then you have an open circuit somewhere. Since you've reset the breakers, it's likely downstream from the panel. Dick's idea about a tripped GFCI might be the answer. Other places to look include the receptacle the exhaust fan is plugged into and the switch box(es) where the switches for the ceiling fan and the other light fixture are mounted.
 
  #10  
Old 04-14-12, 04:50 PM
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I will definitely look around for one of those. There is one in a bathroom off the kitchen. I tried that and noting happened but I will see if there is another one hidden some place.
 
  #11  
Old 04-14-12, 04:54 PM
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ok, silly question. Where would the exhaust fan recepticle be at and how would I get to it? Sorry if dumb question but we have been living with this issue for 7 months as I have tried and various trouble-shooting ideas and asked around.

As for getting to the boxes where the ceiling fan is, the access to that part of the attic isn't big enough for a 5 year old to climb into.

Thank you guys for your continued suggestions. I need it.
 
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Old 04-14-12, 05:28 PM
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I will definitely look around for one of those. There is one in a bathroom off the kitchen. I tried that and noting happened but I will see if there is another one hidden some place.
Assuming you mean "a tripped GFCI receptacle," there should be two in the kitchen and one in the garage. They may also be in unfinished basement areas, or outside. Checking those is a long shot, but it won't hurt.

Where would the exhaust fan recepticle be at and how would I get to it?
If you have a range hood with only a light and a fan, or just a simple fan in the wall, it may be hardwired and not cord-and-plug connected. Combination hoods, with microwave ovens in them, usually are - and the receptacle is often set into the back wall of the cabinet the hood is under.

If the exhaust fan is turned on by a wall switch, that's another place you could have lost the power.

As for getting to the boxes where the ceiling fan is, the access to that part of the attic isn't big enough for a 5 year old to climb into.
Ceiling fan and light fixture boxes are accessed from below. You may be able to lower the fan's canopy without lowering the fan. But, if you haven't opened any electrical boxes and tested for power, how do you know
no power is getting to the ceiling fan, light fixture or exhaust fan.
Are you just saying that they aren't working?
 
  #13  
Old 04-15-12, 02:48 AM
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Good point. I guess I should say that they aren't working but that I am not getting power at the switches.

The exhaust fan is the light and fan combo without the microwave deal attached. When I pulled the stove away from the wall I only saw the one main plug for the stove so I am assuming that the exhaust is wired inside the wall someplace since the stove is new and I did not see the installers do anything as far as wiring the exhaust fan.

You said that there should be 2 GFCI recepticles in the kitchen. If I do not see them, what is that an indication of? Aside from me being blind. Would they have "hidden" them someplace?

I will take a look at the box for the ceiling fan. How exactly should I test that once I have accessed it?
 
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Old 04-15-12, 07:09 AM
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I will take a look at the box for the ceiling fan. How exactly should I test that once I have accessed it
It depends on the cables and connections inside. Basically you should have power to the light connections with the switch on. Depending on how the circuit is wired there may be an always hot 2-conductor cable also.
 
  #15  
Old 04-15-12, 12:28 PM
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Could there be a GFCI somewhere in the kitchen exhaust fan housing? I did not see where it's connected to a recetacle in the cabinet and it's not hardwired to stove.
 
  #16  
Old 04-15-12, 12:35 PM
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Did you open the exhaust fan and look for a connection. If you're not sure how post a couple of pictures of the outside and looking up into it. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...-pictures.html
 
  #17  
Old 04-15-12, 12:40 PM
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There looks like there is a "compartment" that could house connections. I will post some pics.
 
  #18  
Old 04-15-12, 12:55 PM
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Old 04-15-12, 01:18 PM
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I will post some pics.
This content is currently unavailable
..................................................................
 
  #20  
Old 04-15-12, 01:26 PM
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Ok, it's on my profile page. what is your FB name and I will "friend" you so you can see. I don't know why the link didn't work.
 
  #21  
Old 04-15-12, 01:50 PM
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I wonder if I have to stay logged in to FB. I logged back in so maybe that will work?

Thank you
 
  #22  
Old 04-15-12, 02:55 PM
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Ok, it's on my profile page. what is your FB name
Believe it or not not everybody is a FB member. Please use a proper and safe picture hosting site such as Photobucket or Imageshack.
 
  #23  
Old 04-15-12, 04:59 PM
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  #24  
Old 04-15-12, 05:12 PM
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The gray box below the motor is where your connections are.
 
  #25  
Old 04-15-12, 05:16 PM
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ok. I actually took the wxhaust down and noticed an ugly hole in the wall where they ran the power wire back into the wall. There is not receptacle on the other side so my guess is that it's hard wired in to the receptacle where the stove is plugged in at. Could that be the case?

As for the gray box, how will I know what 'm looking for when I take the cover off.

Thanks for the continued help.
 
  #26  
Old 04-16-12, 02:19 PM
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As for the gray box, how will I know what 'm looking for when I take the cover off.
You're looking for three things. One is to determine whether there is power present. Your non-contact voltage tester should tell you that, just as it did at the switches, fan and light. The second is to see whether there is only one cable coming into the box, or more than one. The third is, with the power off at the breaker, to check that each splice in the box is well made and well protected.
 
  #27  
Old 04-16-12, 03:28 PM
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Just remember you can get a false positive from a non contact tester so it is no guarantee you have power. On the wire nuts you need to remove and replace with new or at least check the insides for corrosion.
 
  #28  
Old 04-16-12, 04:54 PM
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I've had difficulty using my non-contact tester to tell which wire was hot. It's not really the best tool for that. But I've never had it light up and ring steadily when there was no power. IMX.
 
  #29  
Old 04-16-12, 06:28 PM
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The non-contact detector will not tell you if the neutral is missing due to a failed connection.
 
  #30  
Old 04-16-12, 06:52 PM
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The non-contact detector will not tell you if the neutral is missing due to a failed connection.
Well, yes. At the moment, we're still trying to determine whether ungrounded potential is present.
 
  #31  
Old 04-17-12, 07:57 AM
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Great. Thank you guys for the information. I will take a look at it tonight and when I get home.

Another question I have is about my electrical panel. When I take the main cover off, the panel does NOT have a main shut-off. There are only 2 main cables coming into the panel that are connected at the top by screw down terminals.
1. How do I turn all the power off?
2. Should there be a main shut off somewhere else?
3. Is this kind of panel up -to-date?

Thank you guys so much for your assistance. I just want to make sure I do everything right.
 
  #32  
Old 04-17-12, 08:18 AM
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When I take the main cover off, the panel does NOT have a main shut-off.
On older 60 amp services with 6 breakers or less there may not be a main breaker. However if your service is less then 50 years old or there is more then 6 breakers likely what you are calling the main panel is a subpanel. There should be a main breaker incorporated in to the meter socket or a breaker panel within a few feet of the meter that has the main breaker.
 
  #33  
Old 04-17-12, 08:40 AM
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2. Should there be a main shut off somewhere else?
Yes, somewhere between this distribution panel and the service entrance.

3. Is this kind of panel up -to-date
If it is a subpanel protected by a main overcurrent protection device upstream, then yes. That's what it sounds like. When you open this panel, do you see the ground wires and the neutral wires terminated to separate buss bars?
 
  #34  
Old 04-17-12, 02:41 PM
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I do. When I take the cover off there are (going off memory) 5 -7 breakers on each side and the what I'm guessing are the ground wires connected inside the panel but on their own terminals so yeah it looks like the ground and neutral wires are connected to a seperate bus bar.

I have never seen another "panel" anywhere in the bsement. I THINK the house is older than 60 but I will confirm later.

1. Why is that done? and
2. What if I don't see another meter socket or breaker panel?

When I get home I can take a pic so that you guys can see what I'm seeing if that will help.

Could it be that there is another breaker on this other panel that has tripped and is causing my issue?
 
  #35  
Old 04-17-12, 03:08 PM
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Yes, Pictures would help. Please include a picture showing the area around your meter, the area around your breaker box, and a close up of the inside of your breaker box. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...-pictures.html

2. What if I don't see another meter socket or breaker panel?
There should be only one meter. Since your location is Tennessee I'd expect it to most likely be outside but maybe not.
 
  #36  
Old 04-17-12, 03:26 PM
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ok. When I get home tonite I will post them on imageshack.

Thank you
 
  #37  
Old 04-17-12, 07:43 PM
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The house was bult back in the 80's.

Here is th link to the pic of my panel.

ImageShack® - Online Photo and Video Hosting
 
  #38  
Old 04-17-12, 08:21 PM
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Thank you, but it would be more helpful if you would follow the instructions in How To Include Pictures, so that your images appear in your posts. It would also help us if you would post the pictures of
the area around your meter and the area around your breaker box
that Ray asked for.

Looking at this picture, I think I'm looking at a distribution panel with 20 or more circuit breakers, no main OCPD - two feed lugs instead - and the neutrals and grounds all tied together. Is that right?
 
  #39  
Old 04-18-12, 05:27 AM
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Sorry about that. I will make sure in the future that I include the pic in the actual post. I will also take more pics of the surrounding area, I had just gotten home but I understand. Thank you.

You are correct in your analysis of the panel. So does that mean that somewhere else there should be another "panel"?
 
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Old 04-18-12, 07:40 AM
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Sorry about that. I will make sure in the future that I include the pic in the actual post. I will also take more pics of the surrounding area, I had just gotten home but I understand. Thank you.
Thank you for hearing my/our request.

You are correct in your analysis of the panel. So does that mean that somewhere else there should be another "panel"?
A distribution panel feeding more than six branch circuits requires some means of overcurrent protection to be both code-compliant and safe. The protection for this panel might be at the service entrance or in a separate enclosure inside. That's why Ray specifically asked for pictures of
the area around your meter and the area around your breaker box.
Am I correct, in my analysis of your panel, that the ground wires and the neutral wires are all terminated to one buss? Or are there two? It looked like one common buss to me, but I wasn't sure.
 
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