Finding source for dead junction box

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  #1  
Old 10-17-12, 01:17 PM
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Finding source for dead junction box

First, I have very little experience with electricity.

I've come across a junction box set into the outide wall of my home, about 20' off the ground. The wires are currently connected to a very old ceramic socket (the home is a 95 year old cabin ... who knows how long ago this thing was set up!), and they apparently used to supply power to a single light bulb screwed to the outside of the house. At this point the multi meter isn't showing any voltage present in those wires, and there are no breakers turned off. There are no switches on the inside of the house near this location, and all outlets in the room nearest this location are working fine.

So effectively, I have a couple of dead wires sticking out from a hole in the upper corner of my home. It's not a bad place for me to mount a light fixture, but before I can do anything with them, I'd need to find where those wires lead, where/what they're tying into, and why they're not carrying any current. And I don't have a clue as to how to begin trying to determine that.

Anybody have any ideas? Or (as I suspect) am I stuck with a couple of dead wires sticking out from a hole in the wall of my house?

Many thanks! For any thoughts you folks might have!

John
 
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Old 10-17-12, 01:23 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

am I stuck with a couple of dead wires sticking out from a hole in the wall of my house?
Everything is fixable. The question is "How difficult or expensive will it be."

That said, what is behind that outlet box? Finished wall? Open attic? Is there a receptacle anywhere near there? Is there a dead switch anywhere in the house?
 
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Old 10-17-12, 06:26 PM
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Wow, Nashkat. You do good work. Two for two. I knew about both these conditions, but until you mentioned them, neither one had made it into my "field of vision" as perhaps being related.

Yes, there's a ceiling fixture maybe four feet away from the interior corner of the room closest to where the exterior junction box is located. There's no attic, but it would make perfect sense for the wiring from the exterior junction box to be routed through the space above the ceiling and pass through that ceiling fixture junction box. That fixture is very accessible (much moreso than the outside box), and could provide a potentially important clue.

There's also a wall switch whose purpose I've not yet identified during my 12 years living here. I guess I've just been considering it to be dead, as well (95 year old cabin...), but somehow didn't put it together with the dead light bulb on the outside of the house.

The switch is quite a distance away from the external junction box, but stranger things have happened. Most important point is that it's a great suggestion and a great place for me to do some further exploring. I'm definitely embarrassed for not seeing the obvious.

Can't thank you enough, my friend. I very much value your suggestions!

John
 
  #4  
Old 10-17-12, 06:36 PM
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Also, is this wiring grounded?

Some pictures would be nice, too.
 
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Old 10-17-12, 07:23 PM
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You're welcome. I've often been helped when someone gave me a different perspective on something that was puzzling me.

IMNSHO, the dead wall switch holds greater promise than the ceiling outlet, but who knows. As you said,
stranger things have happened... (95 year old cabin...),
Enjoy your research!
 
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Old 10-17-12, 08:41 PM
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On many older houses I worked on all electrical connections including receptacles spidered out from the ceiling fixture boxes so the light is a good place to look for the power source if the one to the mystery switch is dead.
 
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Old 10-18-12, 09:25 PM
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Thanks, Justin and Ray.

It's a little hard for me to see into the back of the junction box because of the location. All I've seen so far is the two leads connected to the old ceramic base, but there could be a ground screwed to the back of the box. I'll reach around and get a couple of quick photos tomorrow or Saturday and send them up. I'll also be able to explore a little around the ceiling fixture and the mystery switch. To be fair, 'mystery switch' is a good call at this point, Ray. All I know is that it appears to be dead ... I suppose it could just be wired to an outlet and I just haven't stumbled into that fact yet.

Anyway, I'll log back in over the weekend with a little more info from your recommendations.

Thanks again!

John
 
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Old 10-18-12, 10:06 PM
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