bad switch or wiring?

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  #1  
Old 05-22-01, 10:19 PM
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Remodeling an old house I have two light switches that do not work. Using a tester I find no power at the switches but is it the switch or the wires leading to the switch? Should I replace the switches first or assume the worst and replace the wiring?
 
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Old 05-23-01, 07:19 AM
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Both wires connected to the actual switch are dealing with teh same side of the power line, reading a voltage across will read 0 v. If your wiring is grounded, then one side of the switch measured to ground will give 110v , the other side of the switch to ground will give 0v when the switch is off, 110v when the switch is on (if the house wiring is grounded the electrical box that housing the switch will be grounded) . Dending on where the source of power is there may or may not be a neutral wire in the box where the switch is.

One thing to check is to make certain that there is no blowen fuses/tripped breakers, and there are no CGFI plugs tripped.

The 2 light switches in question , are they both controlling the same light fixture, or is each switch controlling a different light.

If you remove the switch (make certain that you know which wires is conencted to the switch, and if 3-way - which wire was on the common screw) , check for continuity between the 2 connection screws on and off. If 3-way then continuity between the common and one other screw , and then common and the remaining screw, on and off.

If that checks out then your switch is ok. Use only the screw connections on the switch not the stab/push in connections on the back.

Oh, you mentione dremodelling, is the switches in question
a new install, or an existing item that now doesn't work. Has it worked before and what work has been done between the time it last worked and now.

Post back , and we will proceed from here.
 
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Old 05-23-01, 07:34 PM
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bad switch or wiring

The two switches are on different lights. Single switch for each. The building is about 40-50 years old with cloth insulated wiring. The two lights in question worked but stopped with no connection to each other. I used the tester with the two probes and the light in the handle. The other switches and sockets light up the tester but these two do not.
 
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Old 05-23-01, 07:38 PM
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Have you replaced the fuse?
 
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Old 05-23-01, 08:05 PM
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bad wiring or switch

The breaker is functional and the other lights and sockets on those two circuits are functional.
 
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Old 05-23-01, 08:16 PM
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Still trying to eliminate the simple stuff.

Have you replaced the light bulbs?

When you use this tester to look for power at the switch, what two things do you touch the two probes on the tester to?

Do you have any GFCI receptacles in your house at all?
 
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Old 05-24-01, 04:27 PM
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bad wiring or switch

Yes the bulbs were changed out. The probes touched the electric wires at the screws at the switch, not the screws themselves. Is the switch bad? It would seem there is no power to the switch so it would be the wiring coming into the switch.
 
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Old 05-24-01, 04:28 PM
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No to the GFCI question.
 
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Old 05-24-01, 05:34 PM
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As dkerr already stated, putting the two probes on two wires connected to a switch is a test of absolutely nothing. Instead, test between each wire and ground (or the neutral wire).
 
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Old 05-25-01, 06:48 PM
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It may not even be at the switch depending on where the source of power is coming from, it could also be at an outlet plug or at a ceiling location. Somewhere at a switch location, at a plug location, or at the ceiling location, a wire connection has become loose. Check to make sure that both halves of the plugs work on that same circuit. Check for any loosely connected wires at these locations. It is most likely at one the locations I mentioned. Sense you have 2 switches that control separate lights and it would be unlikely that 2 switches went at the same time, I would suspect that the switches are ok, and there is a problem with a connection at a plug or ceiling location. push in /stab type of conenctions are switches or plugs can be a source for problems, use the screw connections.
 
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Old 05-25-01, 08:53 PM
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bad wiring or switch

Thanks guys I went ahead and replaced the switches as the cheapest and easiest alternative. And BINGO that was the problem in both cases. Guess it was just their time to go Thanks again
 
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