Dead Circuit

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-06-13, 11:22 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 4
Dead Circuit

okay, I have a dead circuit going to my living room. I checked the circuit breaker with a multimeter and power is leaving the breaker. I used a cable tracer on, what I believe is, the last outlet in the circuit. The receiver picked up a tone at every switch and outlet on the circuit. The tone stops in the kitchen wall above a window and I can't pick it up afterwards. The tone does not reach the breaker box.

So, do I have a broken wire in the wall and do I now open the wall in that area to look for it?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-06-13, 12:08 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,508
Do you have a broken wire in the wall.......hmmmmmm.....I doubt it.

Good idea with the tracer. Always make sure the circuit you are tracing stays off otherwise if the problem corrects itself your tone generator could explode. (not that I know anything about that )

So take your idea one step further. Take the wire out of the circuit breaker and try tracing from the panel in the other direction.
 
  #3  
Old 01-09-13, 01:02 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 4
I'm gonna try it. However, I'd like to find time without rain before I fool with the circuit breaker box. Out of curiosity, you don't think a wire could be broken or chewed by some mouse?
 
  #4  
Old 01-09-13, 01:18 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,365
Hard to tell about rodent damage. It can occur anywhere.
 
  #5  
Old 01-09-13, 06:35 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Out of curiosity, you don't think a wire could be broken or chewed by some mouse?
Sure. But I think it's more likely that you have a loose connection in an outlet box near where you lost the tone from your generator.

Now I'm curious: When you lost the tone, did you try moving the generator closer to where you were?
 
  #6  
Old 01-10-13, 07:46 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 4
The tone follows the ceiling from the kitchen light Toa spot above the kitchen Window. It also runs along the top of the wall to the bathroom and the living room to the remainder of outlets on the circuit.
 
  #7  
Old 01-10-13, 09:49 AM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
There are a lot of things that you can see that you can't. For example,
The tone follows the ceiling from the kitchen light Toa spot above the kitchen Window.
does this mean that that is where you lose the tone as you're making your way toward the panel? Can you trace this wiring at all in the attic, basement or crawl space?
Originally Posted by Nashkat1
When you lost the tone, did you try moving the generator closer to where you were?
I checked the circuit breaker with a multimeter and power is leaving the breaker.
Did you check to make sure the neutral for that circuit was properly connected?
 
  #8  
Old 01-12-13, 05:17 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 4
I lose the tone as I make my way towards the circuit breakers, yes.

I checked the breakers with a voltimeter. Connected one lead to black by breaker and one to the neutral bar. They showed about 120v. Please tell me how to check for a specific neutral wire.
I mapped the breakers since this circuit went dead, Two breakers are unaccounted for. One may go to an exterior light in the backyard. It's a large light. Both appear good.

Thanks for your indulgence, BTW.
 
  #9  
Old 01-12-13, 05:37 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Please tell me how to check for a specific neutral wire.
You haven't said, but it is inferred in what you've said that your house is wired with cable, not conduit. Given that, follow the black wire for the dead circuit from the breaker back to where it enters the panel. Then follow the white wire that is in the same cable down to the neutral bus.

Check to see whether that white wire if under a screw by itself, and is securely terminated. Give it a tug or two. If that isn't the case, correct the problem with the neutral and test again.

If, OTOH, the neutral for that circuit is securely terminated by itself (no other wire under the same screw) then it's time to try the test PJmax suggested earlier:
Originally Posted by PJmax
Take the [hot] wire out of the circuit breaker and try tracing from the panel in the other direction.
Also take the neutral wire off the neutral bus. If your tone generator has alligator clips, clip on and start tracing. If it plugs into a receptacle, just grab a spare receptacle and attach it to that hot/neutral pair so you can plug in.

Let us know what you find with this test.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'