Big oops!

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  #1  
Old 11-24-14, 04:22 PM
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Big oops!

So.... I'm looking at getting out of this without making a huge mess. The other day, I was hanging something on the wall near an outlet when the light went out. I have checked the outlet. The neutral wire from the source is reading ground. That's the first issue. I also am not reading any connectivity from the load on anything going to the switch. What are the chances that I took out both wires?
Here's my question.... To fix the neutral wire I'm assuming I will need to cut into the wall? Ugghhh-i hate drywall. The leads to the load go through the ceiling. What's the best way to fish those wires to the outlet?
 
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  #2  
Old 11-24-14, 04:29 PM
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The neutral wire from the source is reading ground.
It should read ~0 volts to ground. By "oulet" do you mean receptacle or light? If receptacle does it feed the light or the switch?
 
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Old 11-24-14, 04:41 PM
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By outlet I mean the switch. The neutral wire reads 0 volts. But also reads a short to ground. The pwr in goes to the 3way switch.
 

Last edited by cstultz; 11-24-14 at 04:48 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-24-14, 05:34 PM
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You won't have a neutral connected to a switch. Even if it is white, it is a traveler between the two three way switches. "Outlets" are anywhere electricity makes its final journey. It can be a light fixture or a receptacle. Switches are switches. Fill us in on what you have done and what is not working. You can also post pictures of the switches pulled from their boxes with the power off if you want. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
  #5  
Old 11-24-14, 05:49 PM
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I have 3 lines coming in. 2 of them are 14-2.One of the black leads in is 120v. The other black is 0v. Both of the whites are 0v with one of them reading a short to ground. It happens to be with the same wire that reads 120v at the black line. The 3rd line in is 14--3. All 3 lines read 0v. I've tried checking continuity by doing a diode test to figure out which lines were which. I did not have any continuity from the light to the switch on any of the lines. I could definitely figure it out if I could just see which lines were which.
 
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Old 11-24-14, 05:55 PM
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Before you cut into walls, you should post pics as Chandler stated.
Or describe in detail what you have in the switch box and how you think you may have damaged the cable.

For example:
You have a 14/3 cable in box with black attached to marked terminal of 3-way switch, and a white and red wire attached to brass terminals of 3-way switch.
If there are other cables in box, such as a 14/2, describe that also, listing all connections that may be together with wire nuts.
This info is needed for testing purposes.

I posted this before seeing your post............
 

Last edited by Handyone; 11-24-14 at 05:56 PM. Reason: Late Post
  #7  
Old 11-24-14, 06:07 PM
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The one I am looking at the most is the white wire that is reading a short to ground. Is that possible?

I will post pics tomorrow. On my phone now. It's a little difficult.
 

Last edited by cstultz; 11-24-14 at 06:13 PM. Reason: adding info
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Old 11-24-14, 06:20 PM
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The white and ground may read continuity from being connected to the same bus in the panel.
 
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Old 11-24-14, 06:20 PM
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the white wire that is reading a short to ground
Is it the white of the 2-conductor cable or the 3-conductor cable? If one of the 2-cunductor cables is it the one that dos not read 120 volts measured black to white. Note the position of the wires should be recorded and the all wires disconnected before making any measurements.
 
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Old 11-24-14, 06:29 PM
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The white one reading ground is a 2 conductor cable. Its the one that has reads 120v.
 
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Old 11-24-14, 07:30 PM
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That is perfectly normal. The neutral and ground wires are connected to the same location at the panel and will show grounded. That two wire cable IS the feed to that box.

You have 2) two wire cables and a 1) three wire cable.
You know which cable is the supply/hot to the box.
Was there one or two switches in that box ?
The other two wire cable is most likely a feed out to another location.

You said red and white are travelers and the black from the 3w cable went to the common of the switch. Where there only three wires on the switch ?


 
  #12  
Old 11-24-14, 11:09 PM
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Yes... 2 of the white wires were connected together.
 
  #13  
Old 11-25-14, 03:50 AM
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Yes... At least 2 of the white wires were connected together. There is only one switch there. I think there were only 3 wires on the switch.

Sorry for the double post
 
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Old 11-25-14, 06:05 AM
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2 of the white wires were connected together.
Only to each other, nothing else? Were these the whites of the two 2-conductor cables? Were all three wires of the 3-conductor cable (red, black, white) connected to the 3-way switch with no other wires connected to the 3-way switch?
 
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Old 11-25-14, 08:33 AM
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If only the three wire cable was connected to the switch then that switch is at the end of the three way circuit.

That would mean that the 2) two wire cables would be just connected together.... white to white and cap it. Black to black and cap it.

This is the way it would need to be wired based on exactly what you have told us... however it is not the logical way that box would be wired.

Logically the two whites would be connected together and capped. The black hot wire would go to the common terminal on the switch. The black wire from the three wire cable would connect to the remaining two wire cable black wire.

ON EDIT:
The pwr in goes to the 3way switch.
I just read this in one of your earlier posts. That would mean the wiring is different than you are describing now.
 

Last edited by PJmax; 11-25-14 at 09:17 AM. Reason: added info
  #16  
Old 11-25-14, 08:58 AM
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Tell us how your wiring at the switch differs from the diagram below.

Name:  g.jpg
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When referring to wires don't say just the color but also which cable. Example: 2-conductor white or 3-conductor white or power in white.
 
  #17  
Old 11-26-14, 08:16 AM
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Solved... Sorta

I definitely screwed a screw into the black lead going to the light and broke that connection. I made a jumper and ran it to the light. It lit up fine. I kept that jumper and hooked up the switch and it's working fine.

Now.... Back to my original question. I was right on target. I have to run a new wire to the light, through the wall and the ceiling. The light is almost directly above the switch. Any secret tips? I hate drywall. I do have a rotozip that I use for drywall. I'd love to be able to just pull the old wire through fishing the new wire through. I doubt that's possible as the old wire is probably stapled to the stud.
 
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Old 11-26-14, 08:22 AM
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If the boxes are stacked it is common to use a weighted string or a small chain and drop from the top box and fished into the bottom box. All you need is an open knockout.
 
  #19  
Old 11-26-14, 08:37 AM
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I was thinking of just cutting a few tiny strips in the wall, through the corner of the ceiling, and over to the light fixture. I really hate having to cut into anything, but I don't see a way around it. Not that wouldn't involve wire molding. (Yuk)
 
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Old 11-26-14, 09:11 AM
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You will have a top plate on the studs, Hope the hole through it is in line and you don't have to find it. Is the switch directly below where you have to go to light? Pictures would help, Are you planning on running new wires?
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...rt-images.html
 
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Old 11-26-14, 09:16 AM
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If you have an unfinished attic above there should be no cutting of the wall involved. A plan B I'd suggest depends on where the nail was driven in relation to the switch box. If in the same stud bay as the switch box you can cut an opening in the inside or outside wall above the nail for a single gang old work box. You would just replace the damaged cable between the switch box and the new splice box. Outside would probably be least obtrusive. You'd need to use a weather proof blank cover plate but it could be painted to blend in.
 
  #22  
Old 11-26-14, 09:29 AM
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No attic. This is on a landing going to the basement. Name:  switch.jpg
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Size:  12.1 KBThe stud is on the right side of the switch. The light fixture isn't directly above. Its a little to the right of the stud. I was thinking of going straight up to the ceiling. Then straight across the ceiling, making a turn to the fixture???? Name:  switch.jpg
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Size:  12.1 KB
 
  #23  
Old 11-26-14, 10:24 AM
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An idea

I think I may just take the hooks down. Cut an access point and splice the wire.
 
  #24  
Old 11-26-14, 10:36 AM
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Cut an access point and splice the wire.
If you splice the wire you need two boxes and they both must remain accessible, covered by a blank plate. If you instead replace the wire from the switch box to a point above the damage you will need only one box. In either case the blank cover would make it difficult or impossible to remount the pot rack. What is on the other side of the wall?
 
  #25  
Old 11-26-14, 11:07 AM
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Part of me wishes I wouldnt have looked at this. The other part of me is glad I looked. Crazy how one screw can cause this. Looks like I was lucky.
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  #26  
Old 11-26-14, 11:13 AM
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I cut the wires and reconnected them. It worked fine. Can I use just one box and still put the hooks back up directly over the top of the box? It would be accessible by taking off the piece of trim covering it.
 
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Old 11-26-14, 11:56 AM
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You actually got lucky. Usually the cable isn't long enough and you have to use two boxes to add a short length of cable but you seem to have enough slack to do a single splice. If you can end up with 4" or longer wires in the box when the cable is cut in at the break you should be okay. Even 2" might work using Polaris connectors or wire nuts with built in pigtails to extend them within the box.
 
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