Two Outlets Malfunctioning (different circuits)


Old 12-04-16, 02:50 PM
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Two Outlets Malfunctioning (different circuits)

Background: I live in a very old house, and one in which the previous owners seemed to do a lot of less than stellar maintenance.

Problem: I have 2 outlets that aren't working right.
First - Outside GFCI outlet. Does not work at all, but voltage tester says there's power getting to it. I tried replacing the receptacle and no luck. From my reading on this website, I'm guessing there's a problem with the neutral somewhere on the circuit?

Second - Inside. This is the receptacle we plug our christmas tree lights into. I noticed something was wrong because a speaker that was plugged in started sounding very choppy. I plugged the Christmas tree lights in and it will only light one string.

The receptacles are on different circuits unfortunately

Solution: I've contacted an electrician to come out, but I'm wondering if there's any insight or info you guys could provide to help me make sure I know we're talking the same language and help me avoid paying for a treasure hunt if there's something simple going on
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Old 12-04-16, 03:36 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
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Unfourntully it may be a treasure hunt after all. Your non-contact tester really doesn't tell you the whole story. It will detect voltage, but it will not tell you if there is an open neutral, or if it is induced from another circuit. A real test will be to remove the GFCI and test with a real ohm meter to the wires to find of you really have voltage and if your neutral/ground is good.

On the inside outlet, if one light string is lit, and it lit normally, I would suspect it is OK and you just have some bad Christmas lights. However, if it lights dimly, then that may be the source of the open neutral.
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