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Bathroom electrical has power but nothing works? Nothing was touched overnight!

Bathroom electrical has power but nothing works? Nothing was touched overnight!

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  #1  
Old 10-01-16, 10:41 AM
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Bathroom electrical has power but nothing works? Nothing was touched overnight!

This morning I woke up and the bathroom exhaust fan and both light fixtures don't work. There are NO reno's or any work being done anywhere in the house at all and no storms or weirdness has happened in the last week at least.

So I check the socket by the sink for power and it has none, it is a GFCI and the RESET button is popped. I try to push it in and it refuses to go in. It doesn't just "reset fast" it literally is JAMMED out somehow. So I go into town and buy a new socket (GFCI) in the chance that it may be related to the issues and I replace it.

Now the socket works just fine but the lights and fan still don't. So I get my current testing pen (the kind that lights up and beeps frantically when current is detected) and start poking around. The socket has power (good, and confirmed by plugging something in), both light fixtures also cause it to beep instantly (within 3" of the fixtures actually). I try the bulbs (LED) in another socket in the hall, they work fine. Here's where it gets weird:

With the current detecting pen:
-Beeps when near any of the fixtures in the bathroom whether the light switches are ON or OFF.
-Beeps around the terminals on the light switches themselves whether the switch is ON or OFF.
-Beeps around the fan whether the switch is ON or OFF.
-DOESN'T beep when the breaker is shut off.

How can there be power detected at all the fixtures even when the switch is off? And even with all this power detected NOTHING works?
The testing pen works just as expected on my light fixture in the hall, it refuses to beep when the light switch is OFF but will beep fine when it's ON, so the pen is working.

I opened every fixture in the bathroom and they all are hooked up fine (and haven't been changed or altered in the last decade). All whites are to whites and blacks to blacks, even the ground wires are attached. I snugged each marret just in case a neutral had come loose in the chain and still nothing.

Any ideas? I'd call an electrician but for one to drive to my house (160miles away one direction) it costs a fortune if this is an easy fix. I'm completely stumped!
 
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Old 10-01-16, 10:51 AM
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Welcome to the forums! The tick tracer you are using only detects the presence of electromagnetic fields, which can be created by flicking it in the open air. It has its uses, but not here. You should also have in your arsenal an inexpensive analog multimeter ($10). It will give better readings. When you changed the GFCI, did you replace wire for wire and screw for screw? It may help us if you were to remove the power to the GFCI and pull it from the box showing us the connections you have as well as any that are left in the box, identifying each one if you can. Post pictures like this: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
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Old 10-01-16, 10:57 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply. I did replace it exactly as it was before so I wouldn't add any problems. My multimeter is down at my boat which I'm in the process of rewiring unfortunately. I had considered the sensor pen was picking up noise somehow but I don't think it is. If I hold it near a light fixture and turn the lightswitch on and off it continues to beep but if someone downstairs turns the breaker off it stops beeping. I guess this may still not be of any definitive result but I just don't get why everything would be working 12hr ago and now it's not.

Edit: posting pics from my phone so hope this works and helps

Light switches. Left one turns lights on right one turns the fan on
https://s13.postimg.org/f52mlwwo7/20161001_135937.jpg

Light and fan
https://s15.postimg.org/4h1g3c8cr/20161001_135944.jpg

GFCI socket
https://s18.postimg.org/d0lueuba1/20161001_140109.jpg

Trying to get a better view in the GCFI box.
https://s22.postimg.org/91l6v46bl/20161001_140119.jpg NOTES the marret in there twists the ground from the 2 wore sets and the socket together not the hot wire that the picture angle makes it look like.

Inside the GFCI box I've attached the white ad black to the proper terminals on the socket (it's clearly labelled) and the TOP socket black and white match the same black and white that come out of one wire. The bottom socket terminals match the black and white from its own wire as well. I'm assuming this is right? It's not a DC circuit with a difference in parallel or series so I didn't think I'd have to combine wire strands or anything to carry it on.
 

Last edited by Guyfromthenorth; 10-01-16 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 10-01-16, 11:09 AM
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At the switch, you cannot separate the line and load wires sufficiently not to have induced current set off the pen. Removing the power completely will remove the induction.

How many wires were at your GFCI, not including the ground?
 
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Old 10-01-16, 11:14 AM
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There were 5, 2 black 2 white 1 ground (green). I added pics. Hope that helps and thanks so taking time to post back
 
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Old 10-01-16, 11:37 AM
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Each pair is on the proper screws. Is the hot pair on "LINE", and the other pair on "LOAD"??
 
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Old 10-01-16, 11:48 AM
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Good timing chandler I just came here to post about LINE and LOAD.

So I got it fixed. The old socket was a different company than the new one. The line and load were backwards. So the original problem was the old GFCI fried for some reason and disconnected power to the rest of the bathroom. The red herrings were the false positives from my reader and the different wiring pattern on the new GCFI.

At least someone else may come across this and save them the hassle and confusion. Thanks again for the help
 
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Old 10-01-16, 11:57 AM
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Glad you got it fixed. BTW, it is a "receptacle", not a socket, but who's counting? Have a good afternoon.
 
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