Receptacle with "open hot" ?

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  #1  
Old 07-29-15, 11:11 AM
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Receptacle with "open hot" ?

The top half of the outlet reads open hot on the receptacle tester. A voltage tester reads power. However, the outlet doesn't work. The bottom half works fine.
I've included some pictures of the connections. There is a neutral and a hot going into the back of the receptacle that is hard to see. Does anyone know what might be going on here?
Thanks
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  #2  
Old 07-29-15, 11:15 AM
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open hot outlet No. 2

I have another outlet that is open hot on top but has no voltage. The bottom half works fine. There are two hot wires connected to the bottom pole and two neutral wires connected to the top pole (I don't know if that matters). There are no wires connected to the back of the outlet. Any ideas?
Thanks
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  #3  
Old 07-29-15, 11:23 AM
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Does anyone know what might be going on here?
Yes if the tab is intact on the brass side. You answered your own question.
There is a neutral and a hot going into the back of the receptacle
Back stabs are not reliable and it is best not to use them. Connect all the black wires to a 6"-8" of wire same size and color. This is called pigtailing. Connect a pigtail to the white wires in the same way. Connect the pigtails to the receptacle.

If the tab is not intact on the brass side see Ben's reply below.

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Note you can not actually reliably test for power with a non contact tester and plug-testers can give false results. Best to use a multimeter, preferably analog.
 
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Old 07-29-15, 11:24 AM
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Is half of the outlet supposed to be controlled by a switch?
 
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Old 07-29-15, 11:27 AM
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The one receptacle is switch controlled . You can see the broken tab on the brass side.
 
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Old 07-29-15, 07:38 PM
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Thanks for the replies. This helps explain the two wall switches that don't do anything. How do I get the switches to control the outlets?
Thanks
 

Last edited by Rolomoto; 07-29-15 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 07-29-15, 09:31 PM
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Edit: Try the switches before following the instructions below. As PCBoss wrote below it may already be working correctly.

Only if the switch doesn't work you need to disconnect all three cables. Using a multimeter (or test light or solenoid tester) but not a non contact tester. Determine which cable is always hot. Which is hot only when a switch is on. Which is never hot.
  • Connect the one controlled by the switch to one set of screws on the receptacle.
  • Pigtail the remaining two black wires to the brass screw of the other set of screws.
  • Pigtail the whites to the other set of silver screw.
Do not use the back stabs.

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Last edited by ray2047; 07-30-15 at 07:10 AM.
  #8  
Old 07-30-15, 04:24 AM
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The switch may already be working correctly before making any changes.
 
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Old 07-30-15, 07:11 AM
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Yes. Please check with the switch on before making any changes.
 
  #10  
Old 07-30-15, 08:49 AM
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Thanks, I think I have it now.
 
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Old 07-30-15, 09:02 AM
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Good work. Was it just the switch wasn't on?
 
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Old 07-30-15, 01:12 PM
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No, I was a little to optimistic.
One of the outlets that I thought was switched is in fact not switched, even though the tab is broken. It is always hot but the outlet prong holes on top are so loose that you have to jiggle a plug to make contact.
There are two wall switches in one cover, one switch is ON/OFF the other has no markings. The is no power in these switches, I've tested with non-contact and multimeter. Actually, I don't know for sure what circuit these switches are on since I can't power them.
I have a suspicion that the ON/OFF controls one of the outlets in the room -the one pictured that has 3 black and 3 white wires in it. Curiously,that outlet is on a different circuit than what I believe is the wall switch circuit (one wall of the room is on another circuit). The upper half of that outlet is dead, no matter the switch position.
The other switch I suspect is a way to control the downstairs hall light, so it might be part of a 4 way switch set up, as there are already two separate wall switches down stairs that control this light.
It's all very confusing but I'll research it further and try and figure it out.
 
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Old 07-30-15, 02:42 PM
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the other has no markings
That would be a 3-way switch. Please give the non contact tester to your kid to play with. Using it will just confuse things. If you are using a digital multimeter consider any reading less than 90 volts as actually 0 volts.

I'd replace the receptacle with loose slots. If you don't need the receptacle you posted about half switched you can just replace the receptacle with a new receptacle and leave the tab in place. Connect only the power in cable and the cable that feeds something else. Cap off the cable from the switch instead of connecting it to the receptacle.
 
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Old 07-30-15, 07:44 PM
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Sounds good, thanks for the reply!
 
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