Outlet Wiring Issue

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  #1  
Old 09-28-20, 06:07 PM
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Outlet Wiring Issue

I've been having trouble with my satellite receiver randomly rebooting. The tech came out today and plugs in an outlet tester into the outlet powering the receiver. It showed reversed hot and neutrals. I did a bit more detective work and tested the other 4 outlets on the

circuit. They all showed correct wiring via the outlet tester. I then pulled the outlet out of the box and noted that both sets of hots and neutrals were reversed. I disconnected the top pair of hot & neutrals from the outlet and turned the breaker back on. The pair connected to the outlet showed 117V as did the pair I disconnected from the outlet. The pair of wires with the electrical tape showed no voltage. I couldn't see the taped wires exiting the box anywhere in my basement (only 2 pieces of romex exit the bottom of the box and are visible in the basement). I assume the taped pair go up the wall but to where ... ???
My questions:
1. If this outlet is in the middle of the run, why did both sets of wires show voltage when I disconnected a pair from the outlet?
2. Why didn't the outlets "downstream" from this outlet show reversed hot & neutral as well? After wiring the outlet correctly, all the other outlets on the circuit still tested fine.
3. Why is the neutral labeled W1 a slightly pinkish color? Anything related to being wired incorrectly?

Sorry this is so long but I wanted to mention everything I thought was relevant.


 
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Old 09-28-20, 06:21 PM
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1. If this outlet is in the middle of the run, why did both sets of wires show voltage when I disconnected a pair from the outlet?
What are you using to test? Is it a non-contact tester? They easily give false positives. If you tested them with a meter, then I suspect that one set of wires may be coming from a switch. It looks like the tab between the two side screws is broken out.

2. Why didn't the outlets "downstream" from this outlet show reversed hot & neutral as well? After wiring the outlet correctly, all the other outlets on the circuit still tested fine.
Were the other outlets wired with the black to the brass screws and the white to the silver screws? That is how they are supposed to be wired. The outlet in the picture is wrong.

3. Why is the neutral labeled W1 a slightly pinkish color? Anything related to being wired incorrectly?
I doubt it. Sometimes wires can have an odd color as they age or when they are manufactured. Make sure that is not really a red wire in a 3 wire cable. (Black, red, white)
 
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Old 09-28-20, 08:51 PM
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Your receptacle has been connected using the push-in terminals. This method has proven itself time and again to be highly intermittent..... especially when the power is bridged thru the receptacle. Any single loose pushed-in wire can render the entire circuit following.... intermittent.

Connecting the wires in reverse on the receptacle is not correct but probably did not cause your intermittent problem. More likely caused by a loose wire.
 
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Old 09-29-20, 04:21 AM
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Tolyn & PJMax, thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it. When I reversed the hots and neutrals I did use the screw terminals instead of the push ins. I measured voltage using a digital VO meter. The room where this outlet is located had a ceiling fan that was removed many years ago. I assume the 2 taped wires were part of that circuit.
The other outlets in the circuit were wired correctly - ie black to brass, white to silver. Only the pictured outlet was reversed.
Not to beat a dead horse but if the outlet shown in the picture was wired wrong and the other outlets on that circuit were wired correctly why didn't all the outlets "downstream" of the incorrectly wired outlet also show reversed polarity? After I swapped the white and red wires shown in the photo, all the outlets test normal.
Thanks again for your help.
 
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Old 09-29-20, 05:15 AM
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The polarity of downstream recepts is a function only of the black/white wire status, not how upstream recepts are connected to those wires. UNLESS, a black is connected to a WHITE upstream.
 
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Old 09-29-20, 09:26 AM
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After I swapped the white and red wires shown in the photo, all the outlets test normal.
Do you mean the white wires and the black wires ?
IF that is a red wire.... it would go into a cable with a white and black wire. That means that would be a three wire cable. However..... I only see 3 black wires which tells me that wire that looks red is not.... it's white.
 
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Old 09-29-20, 02:28 PM
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Whoops. My Bad. Meant to say black and white.
 
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