No more current

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  #1  
Old 09-01-13, 08:19 PM
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No more current

I was swapping three outlets because the other ones were old. As I got to the last plug to the last wire, the hot wire accidentally touched the receptacle metal causing a flash. All of the plugs didn't work after that. I also noticed the light switch also didn't work. I went to test the adjacent room and those plugs worked but my laundry room which is right next to the problem room now also had damaged switches in addition to the garage switches as well. I replaced all the light switches and plugs and reset the panel. I thought that would fix the issue but still not getting any current coming in to those plugs/switches at all. Can anyone make any suggestions or help me out? Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-01-13, 09:23 PM
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Did you turn the breaker all the way off then on. Are you sure it was the correct breaker. Have you looked for any GFCIs inside, outside, garage and hidden behind something that hasn't been moved in years. Non GFCI plugs seldom go bad (nothing to go bad but the connection) so replacing is a last resort but redoing the connections is a good start if you used the screws not the backstabs. Did you replace all of the wire nuts?
 
  #3  
Old 09-01-13, 09:25 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

It sounds like you were working with the power on and got an arc flash. That's often a consequence of doing that.

That said, it sounds like you may have lost neutral. Do you have ungrounded potential at the receptacles now? Use an analog multimeter to test from hot-to-ground and hot-to-neutral in each outlet (box) and let us know what you find.

I... reset the panel.
Did you switch each breaker off before switching it on?

See Troubleshooting a dead receptacle or light....
 
  #4  
Old 09-01-13, 10:17 PM
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At first when I went to the panel, there was only one breaker that was on the off switch. So I'm assuming that particular breaker was the one with the issue so I turned that one back on. Then I went back to check to see if there was cureent again but nothing. So the second time around I turned all of them off and turn each one back on one by one. As for GFCI outlets/breakers, I don't have any in any of the rooms and none in the panel, where could I find them or where could they be located. It's a single story home so I'm assuming near the panel or the attic.

How would I check for neutral? What type of tool(s) are needed? What wires do I touch in what order and what should I be looking for?
 
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Old 09-01-13, 10:51 PM
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How would I check for neutral? What type of tool(s) are needed? What wires do I touch in what order and what should I be looking for?
Nash replied already:
Do you have ungrounded potential at the receptacles now? Use an analog multimeter to test from hot-to-ground and hot-to-neutral in each outlet (box) and let us know what you find.
.
 
  #6  
Old 09-02-13, 01:18 AM
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I don't have an analog multi meter, can I use a digital one instead?

As for the ungrounded potential, I don't really know what is meant by that but all of the receptacles have a ground wire out of copper. I have always connected this wire when replacing receptacles in the past.
 
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Old 09-02-13, 01:25 AM
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Since you only have a digital meter.....try that.

Check from the small (hot) slot to ground.
Check from the large (neutral) to ground.
 
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Old 09-02-13, 06:19 AM
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120 volts consists of a grounded conductor informally called neutral and a ungrounded conductor informally called hot.

Some digital meters do not do a good job of cancelling spurious voltages so for matter of practice just treat anything less than 100 volts as ~0.
 
  #9  
Old 09-05-13, 05:20 PM
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Ok, so this is what I did:

I tested the leads from the switches none of them had over 1 volt. Each reading said .004-.007.

I also tested the breakers at the panel thinking I wasn't getting current from the panel and all of the breakers had a reading of 118.2-118.4 volts.

So I'm thinking there may be a break in the wire between the panel and the very first switch that passes the power to continue to the other switches.

Any ideas?
 
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Old 09-05-13, 06:36 PM
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So I'm thinking there may be a break in the wire between the panel and the very first switch
Unlikely.

With wires disconnected only one black wire should show hot to ground. Is there a a verified good ground at each of the switches you tested. A second test to perform now is to plug a grounded extension cord into a known good grounded receptacle. This time measure each black wire to the wide slot of the extension cord. You should have one hot per switch box. (Assumes no multiple circuits in a switch box.)

Terminology:
A wire is a single conductor.
A cable is two or more conductors in a metallic or nonmetallic sheath.
 
  #11  
Old 09-05-13, 11:11 PM
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When I replaced the switches, I noticed there was no ground to them but they worked even without it before and didn't have a problem.

For the extension cord plug test, do I just pick at random any plug or is there certain ones I should test such as adjacent rooms?
 
  #12  
Old 09-06-13, 01:51 AM
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but they worked even without it before and didn't have a problem.
No ground is need for devices to function with minor exceptions. They are strictly for safety. So if no ground how did you do the voltage tests you reported?

For the extension cord plug test, do I just pick at random any plug or is there certain ones I should test such as adjacent rooms?
Just one that works correctly. Your not testing the receptacle. You are using the receptacle as a a source for neutral to test the wires at the switches since they have no ground wires.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 09-06-13 at 10:57 PM. Reason: Format quote
  #13  
Old 09-06-13, 10:31 PM
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For the switches I flipped the switch to on and touched the bottom wire and then grounded to the metal casing of the switch and that's the reading I got on each on.

I decided to go into the attic today and check the wires to see if by any chance there was a break in the lines but wasn't able to find any. So I went back to the source of the problem receptacle that started the whole issue and used my multimeter again and to my surprise I was getting power. I don't know how I got power again as I didn't flip the breakers on/off but I started to connect the wires once again and everything seems back to normal. I don't know why but I think the switches are connected to this circuit because as soon as I installed the last receptacle to power, the switches were functional once again. Took me about half the day but got it done. Any ideas on why the two circuits are run together like that? I've noticed in my previous home projects the wiring in the house is confusing and I'm dumbfounded by some of the things I find, tons of shortcuts or done incorrectly(or at least in my eyes). Thanks to all that replied, much appreciated. Now moving on to installing a ceiling fan, but this time with the power off! Lol
 
  #14  
Old 09-07-13, 05:36 AM
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Glad you got it and thanks for letting us know. Just in cace you have problems a gain:
For the switches I flipped the switch to on and touched the bottom wire and then grounded to the metal casing of the switch and that's the reading I got on each on
That is not how you check voltage, you disconnect the wire. A switch has no bottom and the hot could be on either terminal. And as you stated the box was not grounded.
 
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