Very Strange Electrical Outage


  #41  
Old 10-06-15, 06:34 PM
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The white spliced to the red should not throw you. The white, if wired correctly, is a hot.

A non-contact can show power, but will not show the loss of a neutral. It can also pick up power from a nearby cable.

Where are you in MD?
 
  #42  
Old 10-06-15, 06:44 PM
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Lol....sometimes things get lost in translation. I wasn't thrown by the splice, I was thrown by the earlier post indicating that I should not see power there at all. It said, the power is not there but at the light.

The splice...I was just reciting back what the post said that I should see, confirming that it was in fact true.

I'm in a small town called Perryville, about 45 miles north of Baltimore.

Eric
 
  #43  
Old 10-06-15, 07:17 PM
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Came thru there Saturday night.
 
  #44  
Old 10-07-15, 07:46 AM
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@kirkeric,I have gone through your discussion and i want to ask you what you find on the screws of the right switch? if you don't find any power then power is not getting there and is interrupted elsewhere.
Can you check the red/black wire with the red wire nut for power ? Check it from the connection to ground.
 
  #45  
Old 10-07-15, 07:55 AM
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Hey Jon,

Thanks for the reply. The right switch has no power, nor do any of the other wires.

The only thing in that box WITH power is the left switch which has its own separate source that goes directly to it.

Eric
 
  #46  
Old 10-07-15, 08:03 AM
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No. It's not working but was getting a solid reading using the non contact thing,
Your not going to get anywhere if you keep using that thing. You are just wasting time. You need to open every box on the breaker and check for voltage using a multimeter, preferably analog.
 
  #47  
Old 10-07-15, 08:16 AM
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Ray,

A lot of conversation on this non contact thing. I should have not brought it up. I HAVE opened every single outlet and checked with a multi-meter but shy of tearing a hole in the wall or trying to strip off the outer housing of cables running across the floor joists, it does a good job of at least verifying something is or is not going through.

It definitely works if nothing is going through so in that respect it is helpful.

But, fully understand the comment and there isn't a device that I haven't opened up, yanked out, and checked.

Eric
 
  #48  
Old 10-07-15, 08:39 AM
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So you had 120 volts at each of those boxes are were they all dead? If the light is on the circuit did you re do the connections there?
 
  #49  
Old 10-07-15, 10:36 AM
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Ray,

All boxes are dead - every swingin one on the circuit. The left one that showed live in that two switch both is on a different circuit.

Eric
 
  #50  
Old 10-07-15, 10:44 AM
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Sounds like it is time to either check the breaker for output or a toner and start toning to see the path of the circuit .
 
  #51  
Old 10-07-15, 11:28 AM
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PCBoss,

Thanks. A new term - toner. Haven't heard that one yet.

As far as the breaker box, that was where I began. Every single breaker in the box (in this case two boxes), have 120~v.

I even replaced a couple that I thought might be bad but they really weren't.

Eric
 
  #52  
Old 10-07-15, 11:45 AM
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A toner injects a signal onto the wire and is followed by a tracing part. Commonly called a fox and hound.
 
  #53  
Old 10-07-15, 11:53 AM
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Right - understand.

Which means it's about time to call on the electrician. lol

Eric
 
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Old 10-07-15, 05:11 PM
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As asked before is there a light on the same breaker?

There is a way with continuity measurements to determine which cable comes from the breaker. I'd then replace that cable with a new one. Not a simple solution but you identify each cable that goes to another box. The remaining cable comes from the breaker box.
 
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Old 10-08-15, 10:59 AM
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Hi Ray,

Is there light a light on the breaker? Just for clarification, most of the most recent discussion has been about the receptacle that had two switches. The left one is hot and on a different circuit and the right one is dead. Everything on that same circuit is dead.

The dead one controls the ceiling light in the kitchen and is the threeway, with another switch opposite the room also for that light.

Hope I've answer the question.

Separate question but I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this little guy. Do you think it would be any help in finding my problem?

Gardner Bender 120 VAC GFCI Outlet Tester; 1/clam, 5 clams/master-GFI-3501 - The Home Depot

Eric
 
  #56  
Old 10-08-15, 01:49 PM
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most of the most recent discussion has been about the receptacle that had two switches. The left one is hot and on a different circuit and the right one is dead.
I don't understand. Is the receptacle controlled by a 3-way switch circuit?
Do you think it [plug in tester] would be any help
Unlikely, certainly not as a good as a multimeter. It can also be a source of confusion by giving incorrect results in certain cases such as open neutral.
 
  #57  
Old 10-08-15, 02:58 PM
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The 3 light tester only works on energized circuits.
 
  #58  
Old 10-10-15, 01:36 PM
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All,

Problem identified! I took a couple days off since it was only a partial nuisance and we had been getting by.

So, as noted in the picture below, the three wires to the left got a bit hot. The little arc burn on the right - no worry, I did that on accident. I was pushing the wires around and it went kapow!

So, when I did pull these three wires and elongate them like you see, they seemed like they were all together but I wanted to see what you think. Should all three be twisted together? There was no cap or anything and I've not touched this light in the 11 years I've lived here.

Second question is, I presume the best I can do is trim them down to where I can still manage twist them and cap them.

Does that sound about right?

FYI - This was the single light controlled by the dimmer switch (which I DID install). Single light and single switch.

As somebody noted, I think this was called a loop circuit or something. Reminder, home built in 1958.

I'm kinda standing by but I feel pretty confident all three go together.

Eric
 
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  #59  
Old 10-10-15, 02:55 PM
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Remove the hanger so we can have a better view of the wires.
 
  #60  
Old 10-10-15, 05:05 PM
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Well, no need. As I poked around, the connector was tucked up in there and looking at things it was pretty obvious they went together.

All fixed.

Thanks for the tons of help you all provided. This is a fantastic forum!

And now I know what was causing those ghost outages last year. So I think we now have a permanent fix.

Eric
Kirk Productions
 
  #61  
Old 10-10-15, 05:32 PM
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Job well done. Thanks for letting us know. I hope you won't be mad if I suggest you read post #11.
 
  #62  
Old 10-10-15, 05:48 PM
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Not at all Ray. Trust me, I read that. . It took me a while and a bit of denial where I was like if the switch TO the light has no power, how could the light. But it's an old house and understand that's not the preferred way anymore to have it wired like this.

In any case, point noted.

Thanks

Eric
 
  #63  
Old 10-10-15, 06:31 PM
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Bit of history. Originally houses had no receptacles. Electric was just for lights. When first appliances like toasters and fans came out they had Edison based screw in connectors so they could be screwed into a light socket. When plugs and receptacles were introduced receptacles were added by running them from the nearest light. It was done the same way even in new construction for decades. What you have is a variation on that. Not uncommon at all even today in older houses wired by older electricians. Hey that is the way their Pappy taught them.
 
 

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