Bad Night - need help focusing my troubleshooting

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  #1  
Old 12-12-14, 11:49 AM
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Bad Night - need help focusing my troubleshooting

we had a wind storm last night and as we were going to bed, i turned on a couple of lights to get a better look at the damage outside (branches falling on our roof).

when i turned on the Kitchen lights 1 of the 2 lights started to spark as it tried to turn on, I Immediately flipped the switch however the Light did not stop Sparking despite the other Light going out. In this time i also noticed our built in the outside wall dog door had its LED lights "flashing" in unison with the sparking light in our kitchen. I went downstairs and turned off the breaker as it did not trip.

I Then removed the offending light and found that one of the two stranded wires that attach to the light fixture had broken near the light bulb and that was what was causing the sparks as the electricity arced across. I then went downstairs and turned on the breaker.

This is the current state of affairs from that circuit, the Hall Light and stairs light both turned on normally and function correctly with the use of a switch. From visual inspection the T.V/XBOX One and my Computer all have power.

they are all on the left side of the kitchen lights. The Remaining Kitchen light, which is fed first in the pair refuses to turn on when i flip the switch, in addition the Dog Door no longer turns on, it is plugged into a socket that is 6 feet from the plug that is currently running my computer just fine. We also have a Chandelier and an outside light on that circuit that is not functioning.

Everything that is ****ed is within the width of the kitchen, however the T.V/XBOX and computer is fed from the Chandelier light box which is fed from the Kitchen lights.

this is the source of my frustration, the things on the tail end of the circuit and the beginning of the circuit are all functioning perfectly. Yet the Kitchen and Chandelier (two plugs) and outside light is not.

I have a Fluke VoltAlert tester that is helping me figure out whats getting power. The Kitchen Lights have constant power, and so does the light switches controlling them. Despite flicking switches both wires are showing current at every point. The Outlet that used to supply the dog door is showing that it has voltage, The WHITE neutral wires in the kitchen lights are showing current going through them.

In addition the Chandeliers switch is a lighted dimmer one, and the light on the switch is not on, yet all of the wires are showing current with the tester.

The Breaker is NOT tripping and up until last night everything was working perfectly.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-12-14, 12:11 PM
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also i now ran an extenstion cord from a kitchen outlet plug to the dog door. it is now functioning perfectly, so that plug is apparently not working, yet lighting up my volt tester.
 
  #3  
Old 12-12-14, 12:36 PM
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I have a Fluke VoltAlert tester that is helping me figure
More likely just confusing you. Non contact testers can not tell you if you have actual voltage only that there is a magnetic field that may or may not indicate a significant voltage. For real testing you need a multimeter, preferably analog not digital. An $8-$15 one is fine.

Your problem is probably a failed connection either at the last working outlet (light or receptacle or switch) or the first non working outlet (light or receptacle or switch). You need to move any back stabs to the screws and redo the wire nuts. Have you read: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ther-info.html
 
  #4  
Old 12-12-14, 01:22 PM
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so the most likely culprit would be a lose wire in a connection or a broken wire?

(i have found a couple of those, the house is old)
 
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Old 12-12-14, 01:59 PM
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Just to add to Ray's reply.... the non contact testers are good for finding live power but if you loose the neutral..... the tester will show hot but technically the circuit is open since there is no neutral. That's where the meter comes in handy.
 
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Old 12-12-14, 03:19 PM
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good to know,

I moved the pig tails and splices away from each other and tend to test near the marrette, if i lost a neutral along the way would the neutral show hot? because everything i put that dam thing near is setting it off.
 
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Old 12-12-14, 03:28 PM
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You are accomplishing nothing by continuing to use a non contact tester. Get an analog multimeter or a solenoid tester or even a test light and we may be able to hep you.
 
  #8  
Old 12-12-14, 04:28 PM
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yeah sorry, had to wait till i was home from work to hit up the home depot.

The Volt Meter is telling me there's only 10-12 volts between hot and neutral at the lights effected and the two plugs.

it also cuts in and out on the meter (flashes the 10-12 volts on the display), the switches are also all working properly.
 

Last edited by Rei604; 12-12-14 at 05:02 PM.
  #9  
Old 12-12-14, 04:48 PM
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You are measuring 10-12vac between hot and ground.
Try measuring from hot to ground. Let us know what you measure.
 
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Old 12-12-14, 05:20 PM
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I am getting almost 120 from Hot to ground and Neutral to Ground.

out of the two receptacles that are not working, neither are back stabbed and its the only wire going into that box.

I wiggle tested the remaining receptacles and light switches and did not get any sort of flash or solid light from a lamp plugged into one of the dead receptacles.
 

Last edited by Rei604; 12-12-14 at 06:00 PM.
  #11  
Old 12-12-14, 06:01 PM
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We did write analog multimeter not digital multimeter. Sure sounds like digital.
I am getting almost 120 from Hot to ground and Neutural to Ground now
Which indicates an open neutral. You are going to have to start testing all connections on the circuit. Have you read:http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ther-info.html
 
  #12  
Old 12-12-14, 06:22 PM
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I apologize about the Digital thing, i asked the Home depot guy and this is what he recommended and didn't think twice about it.

I have read that, and have been googeling. My two dead plugs are fed from separate boxes, one is a light fixture and the other is a switch box.

A Wiggle test didn't accomplish anything, and none of the receptacles are back stabbed.
 
  #13  
Old 12-12-14, 07:25 PM
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I apologize about the Digital thing, i asked the Home depot guy and this is what he recommended and didn't think twice about it.
Good advice and BigBox don't always go together. I'll bet they also recommended that over priced non contact tester. You need to remake the connections not just wiggle. The wire nuts need to be removed and the inside inspected for corrosion.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 12-12-14 at 07:44 PM.
  #14  
Old 12-12-14, 07:33 PM
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sounds good, ill put a pin in this and re do the connections tomorrow.

should i focus only on the boxes attached to the dead things, or do everything on the circuit?

edit: also thanks everyone for all your help, i google and youtube allot of stuff on my own but sometimes i just need to talk something through with someone to figure out what i -should- be googling.
 
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Old 12-12-14, 07:53 PM
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With daisy chained devices it can be the last working device. Power comes in but it doesn't go out to the next device because of a failed connection to the cable going to the next device. In a perfect world the the daisy chain is linear, 1 feeds 2, 2feeds 3, etc but sometimes they jump around.
 
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