Switch with to hot wires


Old 12-09-04, 04:27 PM
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Switch with to hot wires

I was replacing a light when I found out that even though the light was off the wire was hot. Ouch! I proceeded to rewire the switch. When I testes with my new single pole tester that detects hot wires I found that both the (black) and the return (white) were hot even when they were disconnected and not touching at the light end. I thought there must be a short in the romex so I pulled a new wire. It acts the same. I used the black hot wires on the switch, and when I trun the switch on the unconnected white wire is hot also. It is free on both ends, and it is a new 12/2 romex. What is going on?
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Old 12-09-04, 05:15 PM
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How do you know it's hot?? Are you use a multimeter or are you attempting suicide by touching both white and black at the same time?

If you are testing the voltage from black to white then yes, it looks like the white is hot but it isn't neccessarily. If you are testing the white to ground and it reads voltage present then there is voltage.

You shouldn't be doing wiring without the proper breaker off.

The other possibility is that some line which is feeding the white upstream from the switch is hot. But I doubt it or your light would have had problems before.

It is dangerous to assume anything about electricity and circuits, especially that it will not shock and/or kill you.
Old 12-09-04, 06:41 PM
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This is a perfect illustration of why you must always turn off the breaker before working on any lighting. The wall switch is not sufficient.

This is also a good illustration of why you should never assume that a white wire won't kill you. It can indeed.

Other than having trouble interpreting what you are seeing, do you have a real problem? If so, what is it? Does the light work or not?

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