Everything Randomly Just Shut Off

Old 03-03-14, 04:24 PM
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Everything Randomly Just Shut Off

Hi, I know this is an old thread [http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...t-ground.html]] but I am having this exact same problem.... I had trouble with this circuit before and found a loose wire in a light socket, tightened everything up and the whole circuit worked fine. Today everything randomly just shut off again in that circuit. So immediately I went to the problem light and rechecked it, everything was ok. Circuit breaker wasn't tripped. No GFCI outlets in the circuit. Took what I think is the last outlet apart and tested it with a volt meter. I get 0 volts connecting hot to neutral but 120 when I get hot to ground... NOW here is a kicker, for some reason I also get 120 volts from NEUTRAL to ground? I didn't think that made any sense. Went back to the light socket which I believe is the first stop in the circuit, same tests, same results... hot to neutral 0 volts, hot to ground 120, neutral to ground 120... Im not electrician but understand the basics, and this just makes no sense to me. I also took the panel cover off to try and trace it back to the breaker, the panel is a jumbled mess and just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I couldn't even find the breaker it went to. But when I test the wires coming out of the box (Im about 90% certain they are the right ones) they test fine hot to neutral 120. Any help to get this circuit back up would be great.

Last edited by ray2047; 03-03-14 at 05:06 PM.
Old 03-03-14, 05:12 PM
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You need to check all the outlets (receptacles, lights, switches) on the circuit.
Old 03-03-14, 05:18 PM
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Sounds like an open neutral somewhere.
Old 03-04-14, 12:23 AM
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Randomly shut off

Somewhere along the circuit you probably have a bad neutral connection. The reason you read 120V from Neutral to ground is that the neutral is open and has become energized through a load, like the light bulb. Unplug anything one the circuit and turn off the light switches, then check a receptacle or switch in the middle of the circuit and see if you get 120V. Many times in older homes it is a bad connection in the back of receptacles where the wire was pushed into the device. You should splice the hots and neutrals at the receptacles and pig tail to the device. If you turn on a light, then check neutral to ground and get 120V, you can then move along the circuit and check receptacles until you find one that does not read 120V neutral to ground and that should be a good receptacle to start checking for a bad connection. Be sure to turn off the breaker when pulling devices. Remember just because a conductor has white insulation does not mean it is not energized. When a neutral is opened, on a loaded circuit, one side is neutral potential (zero) and the other side is line voltage (120V).

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