partial power


Old 01-25-01, 01:04 PM
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We have had a problem with one of our circuits in our home. We replaced all of the switeches and outlets, replaced the actual circuit and we still are not receiving power to some of the things on the circuit. The following are on that particular circuit: 2 bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen light, pantry light, basement light and washing machine. The following things are not working: kitchen light, pantry light, bathroom plug, 2 bedrooms. We have tried tracing the wire from the circuit, to see if perhaps it has broken somewhere and we can't seem to find any break. The house is 130 years old and we would have to literally break the walls to trace this wire completely. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-25-01, 05:50 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
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You say no power. Does the breaker trip, or is the breaker on?

Given that you've replaced all the outlets and switches, it is most likely that the problem is there, not in the wires. And a multimeter can give you x-ray vision to see all the wires behind the walls.

It seems clear that you hooked something up wrong. Here are a few things you may have overlooked:

(1) Not all 3-way and 4-way switches have the screws in the same relative position. If you rewired switches by merely placing the same wire on the, e.g., upper right screw, you may have done it wrong.

(2) If some of your outlets were switched, they may have had one or more of the break-out tabs broken out. If you didn't check for this and break out the tabs the same way, then you may have done it wrong.

(3) If you wired by wire color, rather than by labeling the wires and reproducing the connections that were there before, you have almost certainly done it wrong. In general, you cannot make assumptions based on wire color alone.

(4) If you replaced any non-GFCI outlets with GFCI, you may not have paid close attention to "line" and "load" requirements, since the old outlet didn't care. Could any of these GFCIs now be tripped? You might consider temporarily rewiring all GFCI outlets so that all connections are on the "line" side and none on the "load" side. This will allow you to see if this might be the problem.

Do any of these things sound like mistakes you might have made? Let us know and we'll try to figure out what to do now.
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