Circuit issues?


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Old 06-06-15, 07:14 AM
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Circuit issues?

Hello - I was doing some work on my ceiling, and I got some moisture into an old hardwired smoke alarm. It set the alarm off, and i ultimately ended up flipping the breaker and disconnecting the alarm as I wanted to continue working with lights but not a loud alarm in my ear. Unfortunately, when I disconnected the alarm, I must have broken the circuit. A friend told me to try and connect the two wires (white and black) together in a cap to close the circuit. That tripped the breaker when I attempted to flip it back on, so I undid that and just left the breaker off all night. Now that the alarm has had time to dry out, I went ahead and reconnected it. When I turn the breaker on, the test light on the alarm comes on, but the rest of the outlets and light switches on that circuit still aren't working. Could I have created a short somewhere else on the circuit? Where do I even begin? I didn't want to start pulling off all covers if that wasn't the likely issue. this house was wired in the 70's and we find all sorts of odd circuit paths - not a lot of logic. But I think there are two light switches, several outlets, a hard wired door bell, and this wired alarm on the circuit. The doorbell and the alarm seem to be the only things getting power, and they could logically be the first two things on the circuit. My knowledge is very introductory, my husband's is maybe one step above that, and my father's is intermediate! I was trying to surprise my husband this weekend with scraped and re- textured ceilings, and now I've caused this!! Any suggestions on what the issue is and how to go about correcting it?
 
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Old 06-06-15, 08:42 AM
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Hi,how many cables are in that box?can you send a pic of the box so we can determine what the splices should be?
Geo
 
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Old 06-06-15, 08:50 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

A friend told me to try and connect the two wires (white and black) together in a cap to close the circuit.
Tell that friend to never do, or give advice on electrical work. That is very poor advice for sure and may have caused the issue.

Adding to Geo's post, is it possible that a splice came undone while you were working in the box. A picture or description of the wires/cables will help to get started.
 
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Old 06-06-15, 03:54 PM
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Thanks for the responses. I've been trying to log back in to provide an update. Somehow I got it to work, but now it's not a gain. I believe that perhaps another connection in that box came loose, and me continuing to fidget with it eventually moved it "just right." Does that make sense? But I flipped the breaker off again to put it all back together, and as I feared it's not working again. I'm working on posting a picture now, but my router and computer are on that circuit and so I'm trying to figure out how to post a photo from my phone. It appears there are several black wires pigtailed, white wires pigtailed, and ground wires pigtailed. So I'm assuming one of those came loose inside the caps? But the good news is there's hope for me yet since I got it working once! Thank you for your help!

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Last edited by Amanda Hannah; 06-06-15 at 04:12 PM. Reason: Added photo
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Old 06-06-15, 04:06 PM
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Since you got it working, it is likely a loose connection in the box. Turn off the power and carefully take each wire nut off and inspect the connection. Remake any that are loose. Do each splice one at a time to prevent any confusion.

You should also make sure you didn't inadvertently splice the power to a switch leg. See if anything works with all the light switches on.
 
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Old 06-06-15, 04:26 PM
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Ok. That all makes sense. I do have one question that is probably very dumb - but better safe than sorry. is there a possibility that any of those other splices or wires coming in are part of another circuit/breaker? I have a voltage reader and I quickly checked any exposed copper, and I didn't see anything. But that assumes I'm using it correctly! Haha! Novice here! I just don't want to uncap and start to re-splice and get zapped somehow. I may have my husband do this piece - I know just enough about wiring to be dangerous - and scared!
 
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Old 06-06-15, 06:13 PM
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I have a voltage reader and I quickly checked any exposed copper, and I didn't see anything. But that assumes I'm using it correctly!
If you mean a non contact tester there is no correct way to determine voltage with them. They react to an electromagnetic field which may or may not indicate a real voltage. You need a multimeter, preferably analog (or a test light or a solenoid tester) to determine if you really have voltage.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-06-15 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 06-06-15, 06:23 PM
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SHUT THE POWER OFF! Pull the wires out from the box,take all the whites out ,take the wirenut off and and straighten all the copper ends out then twist neatly together with a pair of pliers then install the wirenut,do this with the blacks as well,you should not see any bare copper when the wirenut is installed correctly.
Geo
 
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Old 06-06-15, 07:39 PM
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I highlighted what is likely your problem. It is bad to have exposed copper like this like Geo posted. Remake the splices as he described and you should be good to go.

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Old 06-07-15, 11:00 AM
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Thanks all. It's working fine now. Appreciate the assistance! (As will my husband so he doesn't come home to more work!)
 
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Old 06-07-15, 11:32 AM
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Thanks for letting us know the outcome.
 
 

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