Tester showing reversed polarity on receptacles

Old 03-12-15, 01:00 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 818
Received 104 Votes on 86 Posts
Tester showing reversed polarity on receptacles

At my buddy's house he has a few receptacles that are showing a reversed polarity when the tester is plugged in. The light pattern on the tester is indicating this. Neutral and hots are on proper screws. Any idea what else could be causing this issue?

Old 03-12-15, 01:18 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 70,147
Received 2,966 Votes on 2,676 Posts
You're saying the white and black wires are on the proper side of the receptacle.
Possibly the black and white wires are reversed before they get there.

Does a table lamp work when plugged in ?

You would need a meter at this point to check the white wire to ground and the black wire to ground for voltage.
Old 03-12-15, 06:12 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,941
Received 45 Votes on 43 Posts
On some plug in testers a bad ground can show up as hot/neutral reverse. You can test this by plugging an extension cord in a receptacle with a known-good ground and test voltage between the ground in the extension cord and each of the prongs of the unknown receptacles.
Old 03-12-15, 07:39 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 6,911
Received 51 Votes on 46 Posts
Upstream Problem

Look for a reversed connection upstream from the first problem receptacle.
Old 03-12-15, 07:54 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 11,151
Received 164 Votes on 147 Posts
The plug-in testers are not that reliable in their diagnosis, but will indicate when there is a need for troubleshooting with a meter.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: