half a circuit not working

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  #1  
Old 10-12-07, 10:50 PM
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half a circuit not working

I am having a problem in the basement where half of the outlets and lights on the same circuit are not working.I have followed the line from the panel as best I can with a volt meter all is well until what llooks like the end of the line as there is only one wire going into the outlet. where the problem is, is about 20 feet away where 4 outlets and and two lights do not work. however trigger a volt tester.I know they are on the same circuit because when I flip the breaker it no longer triggers. If I touch the common to the ground all lights come on with no heat or large spark. not too sure if that helps. I have all the outlets hanging out to check for any ground outs and found none. any help would be appreciated Thanx Doug
 
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Old 10-12-07, 11:02 PM
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It sounds like you have a broken nuetral (white wire) in the circuit to the 4 outlets and lights that don't work. When you say voltage tester i assume you are using a non contact type that lights when close to the presence of electricity. This would still light as you have the "hot" protion of the circuit there. That also why when you connect the ground to the nuetral it works, as the circuit is completing it's path through the ground. You have to find where this "broken nuietral is. The best places to look are all the connections with wirenuts (remove them and make sure all wires are twisted and none are broken), the outlets if there are two whites and two blacks on them ( they may have burned or broken the contact strips up inside the outlet) or last look for a damaged wire between the last working light or outlet and the non working. Hope this helps.
 
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Old 10-12-07, 11:15 PM
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that kinda helps however that is what I have been doing "i think" one of the main problems is I cannot find the wire that connects the last working to the non working or a split somewher before for that matter. I have been using both the non contact and the contact that gives a digital readout. the confirmation on a broken white is of good value thank you I wiil keep looking. some of the ceiling is finished so this is a big issue thanks again
 
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Old 10-12-07, 11:17 PM
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that is a classic sign of open netrual you should able find it either bad connection at the Junction box or the repcteales some have back stabbed they are nortious for having loose connection there

before you mess around with this MAKE sure the breaker off on this circuit

Merci, Marc
 
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Old 10-12-07, 11:30 PM
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Keep in mind that somewhere ( or possibly several somewheres ) the circuit may go two or more directions from a single box. This would usually be a light fixture as they have bigger boxes to allow more wires. Go back along your path and check each box to see how many cables(romex's) come into each box. when you come to a box with 3 or more cables then you have found a splitting point. you can then turn off the power (verify with your tester that it's off) and then disconnect one cable at a time. Then turn the circuit back on and see if something new doesn't work. When you finally find a cable that does'nt unhook anything new there's a good chance that you have found the wire that goes to the non- working portion. This can be very time consuming and frustrating, but stay with it and you will narrow it down. Also a good idea to make a "map" of where all the wires go so you know in the future. Just fold it up and staple it near your electrical panel.
 
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Old 10-12-07, 11:50 PM
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almost all the outlets have wires in the back as opposed to the screws yes you are correct about time consuming and frustrating
the line is on a double breaker so yes I do make sure the box is off thnx guys
 
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Old 10-13-07, 06:20 AM
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You have an open neutral. Check the last working location or this first non-working location.

Move ALL back stabbed connections to the screw terminals and remake all wire nutted connections with new wire nuts.
 
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Old 10-13-07, 12:20 PM
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found and fixed, was a white cut in half in a cold cellar switch box which is never used. no burn marks so not sure what caused it to break, either way it's done now thanks for all the help
 
 

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