Outlet is still powered when circuit is off??

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  #1  
Old 10-02-12, 07:48 PM
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Outlet is still powered when circuit is off??

Ok, I got some help yesterday with confirming a wiring diagram which I implemented today. but I ran into a new problem which is really puzzling me as well as worrying me.

I was going to add the circuit I put together to an existing 15 amp circuit which I connected to through an outlet/junction box. in this JB were two fabric wrapped 14/2 wires pig-tailed to the outlet, so 3 black wires wire nutted and 3 white wires wire nutted then the braided ground grounded to the box. This outlet powers my TV so I tripped the breaker, the tv and lights in the area all went out. and I got to work. I removed the old JB and outlet and replaced it with a new JB and new outlet and added my new circuit, starting with the black wire, so now I have 4 black wires wire nutted together (the 2 original wires, the pigtail to the new outlet and the new circuit) I started to connect the white wires and when put all four together they sparked! I thought that very odd so by process of elimination I determined that when I touch one of the original wires to my new circuit, that is when it sparked. I removed my new circuit went back to the original configuration with just a new outlet and when I tried to plug my tv back in the outlet worked, but crackled a little inside. I unplugged the tv and shut the breaker and will be calling an electrician in the morning, but I would like to know... how is it that wire sparked when the breaker was off? Also, I cannot trace the wires any further than I can see as they go into the cinderblock foundation.

Thanks,
Ken
 

Last edited by Kennyv; 10-02-12 at 08:07 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-02-12, 08:00 PM
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You may be dealing with a multiwire branch circuit that is sharing the neutral between two hots. There sounds like a load is on the other hot leg. When you connected the neutrals the current completed the path bath to the panel.
 
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Old 10-02-12, 08:01 PM
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3 white wires wire nutted grounded to the box
White wires should never be grounded to the box.

You may have two circuits accidentally connected together.
 
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Old 10-02-12, 08:02 PM
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Sounds reasonable, but how will that affect my adding a new circuit to that run... and how would the wiring work? I can't attach the neutral to the circuit without it sparking....
 
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Old 10-02-12, 08:05 PM
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Sorry, let me clarify, the white wires were wire nutted and the two wire sets where grounded to the box by their braided ground wire
 
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Old 10-03-12, 10:47 AM
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how will that affect my adding a new circuit to that run...
Just for clarification, you are not adding a new circuit. You are extending an existing circuit. A new circuit is added by installing a new breaker in the distribution panel and wiring from that to new loads.

That said, if your existing system is a two-wire system, without an EGC (a ground wire), it should not be extended unless you add an EGC to it. A new circuit with a ground wire should be run instead.

how would the wiring work? I can't attach the neutral to the circuit without it sparking....
You almost certainly have run into one side of a multiwire branch circuit. The breaker controlling the other side should be immediately above or below the one you turned off to start working on this.
 
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Old 10-03-12, 08:35 PM
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Thanks guys for the help with this, I had an electrician come in and it turns out the issue was the switch that I was wiring in is controlling old fluorescent light fixtures and there was a short in one that allowed the power to return and spark after the hot leads where attached and I tried to attached the neutrals. on top of that the circuit breaker that I turned off which controlled the outlet I was extending from was, according to the electrician," in phase " with another circuit so when I turned off the circuit, the power went out so the tv was off, but there was still power through the line, I actually had to shut down a completely different circuit to kill the power to that outlet. I am happy I called the electrician before I went any further.

Thanks for the insight and help guys, I'm very appreciative!
 
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