Need Help From an Electrician

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Old 12-13-17, 08:31 PM
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Need Help From an Electrician

This is my first time on this board seeking help on an electrical problem.<br />
Yesterday I was replacing my old porch light fixture. I did not think it was a big deal. Well, it has become a BIG deal. When I tried to to put a new fixture in its place, I noticed the electric wires were dead, no power! What happened? Yes, I did check the breaker in the panel box.<br />
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Here is what we have. The electric box on the wall where the porch light was mounted has two sets of electric cables coming to it. The one connected to the light has four wires, White, Black, Red and ground. White and Black were connected to the light. The Red now I don't remember where it was connected to. The second cable also has four wires. The Black is taped and not connected to anything. The Red had a wired nut on it and seemed not connected to anything. The White is connected to the White on the first cable.<br />
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These two sets of cables go to a wall switch box that controls this light and a couple of other lights. Below this switch box there is an electric outlet off the floor. The whole thing as described are connected to one circuit breaker in the main electric panel box.<br />
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If I haven't confused you and you are still with me, here is the situation now. There is No power in that outlet and no power in the light cable on the porch wall and none of those other lights connected to it work any longer. But there is 120 volts in the second cable going to the porch light box that seemed not connected to anything. The strange thing is that the Red wire in this cable shows 120 between it and any other wires from the first cable! No matter which one (white, black, or red) !<br />
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That is where we are and I am afraid to go further without knowing what happened and what to do. Did I disconnect something in that light box by accident when removing the old fixture? Did I short circuit something by accident? Why do we not have power in the light fixture and other lights? Where those Red wires go to? And where do we go from here without causing damage?<br />
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Although I am not an electrician, I am an electronic technician and know how to follow lines and take measurements. But here everything is in the wall and we are dealing with high voltage AC. That is why I am here on this board seeking help and guidance from knowledgeable electricians. So, your help would be greatly appreciated. If necessary, I can make a drawing of the wires in the box. Thanks
 
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Old 12-13-17, 09:56 PM
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What are the wires and connections at the switch. (do not include grounds in description.)
 
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Old 12-13-17, 10:18 PM
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One cable with red, white and black.
White and black to the light.
Red.....hanging around

Another cable with red, white an black.
White connected to white of first cable and light.
Black taped off.
Red has wire nut.

Since the whites are carried thru.... black is switched to the light...
it would make sense that the two red wires should be connected together.
 
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Old 12-13-17, 10:59 PM
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Need Help From an Electrician

Thanks for taking the time to respond. It seems the RED wire in the second cable is the source of power since it shows 120 volts in combination with any of the other wires. But I am hesitant to let this powered Red wire touch the other Red wire since it acts as Neutral or the other leg of 120 ( it is like positive and negative wires touching each other if we were dealing with DC). Am I right?
 
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Old 12-13-17, 11:27 PM
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The one red you checked and confirmed is hot. The other you feel may be neutral since when you check from red to red you see 120v........ that is perfectly normal.

Your one red wire is confirmed 120v. The other red wire is connected to devices, etc that are currently only connected to neutral since they are dead. Since they are connected to neutral only.... that red wire will appear to be a neutral. I'm fairly certain it is not. Make sure the circuit is off, connect the two reds and try it.
 

Last edited by PJmax; 12-14-17 at 06:37 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-13-17, 11:38 PM
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Need Help From an Electrician

Thanks a lot for your quick response and suggestion. That is my original feeling too. That the Dead Red wire somehow got disconnected from the Hot Red wire during my removal of the porch light. Question: As you suggested, if I turn off the power and then connect these two Red wires together, and then turn on the power what is going to happen if it is the wrong move?!! Causing any damage?
 
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Old 12-14-17, 03:52 AM
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If connected wrong the breaker will pop. Disconnect and reset breaker.
 
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Old 12-14-17, 06:32 PM
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Success, finally! Connected the two Red wires together and everything started working again... Thanks to you. I really appreciate the help and grateful for knowledgeable guys like you
 
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Old 12-14-17, 06:36 PM
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Good job there !
 
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