Problem with receptacle

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  #1  
Old 08-09-15, 08:14 PM
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Problem with receptacle

I have this weird issue in this home I just bought. It was built in 1960 and the entire interior of the home was rehabbed. Everything cosmetic is 100% new down to the door knobs and hardware. The plugs and faceplates look replaced too. This one plug in my back bedroom is acting weird, when I plug a plug tester to it the tester states the neutral is open. I put a multimeter to the plug sockets and it reads "1". If I put one of the ends of the multimeter to the ground slot in the plug and the other end of the multimeter into the blade (hot slot) a slot I get a reading of 120 volts. This tells me that is ground is completing the circuit, the hot works fine. The neutral ( white) does not. I did some investigating on the breaker box and turns out this plug has its very own 20amp breaker ( its two breakers in one?) I think it's called a double decker or something. I obviously turned it off and I tested everything in the house, that breaker only turns off this one plug. All the other plugs work even in the same room. Exterior plugs work too. So this is weird. One plug with its very own breaker, with an open white neutral wire. Any advice? I am
23 and this is my first home. I am good with working on cars and am a fast learner. I am nothing near a professional with cars or obviously a home but I would like to make repairs myself when possible, and I am usually good at finishing the job correctly. When it's a job for a professional though, I'll hire them instead!
 
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  #2  
Old 08-09-15, 08:26 PM
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Terminology:
The plugs and faceplates look replaced too.
Not plugs, plugs are male. Those are receptacles.

You've done a good job of troubleshooting. You are correct about open neutral. Now you need to start opening boxes and checking connections. It could be at the last working or first non working.
its two breakers in one?
If it a tandem with two single pole 120 breaker then that is fine. If though it is a 2-pole 240 breaker for a multi wire circuit we need to know. Does it have two black wires or a red and black wire?
 
  #3  
Old 08-09-15, 08:49 PM
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When removing the receptacle I see one white, one black and the bare copper for the ground. I have not removed the breaker switch yet to see what's there. That's the next move. I have opened up all the receptacle in the same room, besides one, and found that everything is wired up correctly, (black on bronze and white on sliver). I just really find it odd that this breaker, as far as I have found out, only controls this one receptacle.
 

Last edited by D_spear; 08-09-15 at 08:52 PM. Reason: Change word
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Old 08-09-15, 08:55 PM
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When removing the receptacle I see one white, one black and the bare copper for the ground
If the black and white are back stabbed move to the screws.
I have not removed the breaker switch yet to see what's there.
(Breaker not "breaker switch" is the usual term.)You don't remove the breaker you remove the front of the breaker panel.
 
  #5  
Old 08-09-15, 09:01 PM
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Thanks for the helpful tips for proper terms. That makes sense to remove the faceplate of the breaker panel and not the breaker itself.

I have removed the screws from the receptacle and removed the entire receptacle from the box itself. The wires screwed in from the left and right side.
 
  #6  
Old 08-10-15, 05:11 AM
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I just really find it odd that this breaker, as far as I have found out, only controls this one receptacle.
This is commonly done to run things like a window A/C or a space heater. It is a dedicated circuit.

See here for what can happen when you don't have a dedicated circuit.
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...aker-trip.html
 
  #7  
Old 08-10-15, 07:10 AM
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You also need to check the connection in the panel. There will be a bar with all the white wires on it. You will need to look there.

Caution there are live wires at almost all times in the panel.
 
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Old 08-10-15, 05:52 PM
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Okay sorry for the delay guys, I work a full time job with overtime so this might be a day between each reply. First off thank you for all the help! I got the panel of the electrical box, the breaker that turns off this receptacle looks to be connected fully, if it's done right I'm not sure, however the breaker directly above it, which is the exact same (20am two pole?) is missing the white/neutral wire! I turned this breaker off too and I can't seem to find any thing else it has disabled. I have pictures to show. Please advise me any advice if any. thanks. and yes I am aware that the ground is not hooked up on the receptacle.

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Last edited by PJmax; 08-10-15 at 08:54 PM. Reason: reoriented/enhanced first picture
  #9  
Old 08-10-15, 06:03 PM
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Okay sorry the pictures went sideways for some reason. They were in the correct position on my computer. I found a receptacle across the entire house in which no longer works when I turn off the breaker that is missing the neutral wire. It works when the breaker is on.
 
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Old 08-10-15, 06:29 PM
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A 120v breaker that is not GFCI or AFCI should not have a neutral. If it is for a 240 load it may have a white wire but that is really a hot wire. This may be a 240 volt circuit that was converted to 120 volt. To do that the white would have been moved to the neutral bar. You need to check that whites connection to the neutral bar.
 
  #11  
Old 08-10-15, 06:35 PM
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both of these breakers are two pole 20amp, so would that make it 240volt? Theres two different two pole breakers, each breaker only controls one plug. I do not see any red wires at all.
 
  #12  
Old 08-10-15, 06:48 PM
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So I think the obvious problem is that I have using 240 two pole breaker on 120 volt receptacle, two two pole 20 amp 240 breaker that is missing the white wire makes sense, since it only controls one receptacle, however I do not understand why the first problem plug has a two pole breaker 20 amp 240 volt with both black and white wire hooked up, which I've learned means theres two 120 volt hot wires connected. Where is this "hot" white wire leading to? Could my possible issue be that I have two "hot" wires for this receptacle
?
 
  #13  
Old 08-10-15, 06:59 PM
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you are correct, I understand this now! I wanna just double check myself, how can I test resistance on both ends of this white wire? I have a multi-meter but its not long enough obviously
.
 
  #14  
Old 08-10-15, 07:00 PM
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I do not understand why the first problem plug has a two pole breaker 20 amp 240 volt with both black and white wire hooked up, which I've learned means theres two 120 volt hot wires connected.
No. It means it is 240v feed. I believe I am confusing you and am not sure to explain more clearly for you.
 
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Old 08-10-15, 07:03 PM
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I understand now. I looked up some wire diagrams. I need to move the white wire from the two pole to the neutral bar at the bottom. What is a safe way to do this without getting shocked?
 
  #16  
Old 08-10-15, 07:15 PM
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Turn off the main breaker. Your panel looks like a split bus panel, I was just in one similar last week. There might be a outside disconnect. Otherwise to kill power to the panel you need to turn off the top 6? breakers. Of course, double check everything with a meter! The large wires at the top can not be disconnected by an average mortal.
 
  #17  
Old 08-10-15, 07:19 PM
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Thanks for the help. I got the white wire where I needed it. One last question. My neutral and ground bar are the same bar. Is this okay?
 
  #18  
Old 08-10-15, 08:02 PM
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My neutral and ground bar are the same bar. Is this okay?
Yes, because this is the first panel with a breaker.
 
  #19  
Old 08-10-15, 08:34 PM
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The problem is fixed. The receptacle works perfect now and passes a plug tester with one green light. Thank you for helping me and giving me great advice. I really feel good about fixing this myself!
 
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Old 08-10-15, 09:18 PM
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Thanks for letting us know the outcome.
 
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