Wiring problem on one side of house. Need help!

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Old 05-15-11, 11:57 AM
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Wiring problem on one side of house. Need help!

I'll try to be as detalied as possible, but I am no electrician. Got home last night and went to turn on kitchen lights, no workie. Than found that lights in to spare bedrooms were also inop as well as the front porch light. Ok, all on the same curcuit correct? Well checked breaker and it was not tripped. Tested voltage and got 120. Checked the light switch and it has 120 volts. Whan flipped on it drops to 65-70 volts. At the light fixture I get 110 volts. The other switches on this curcuit have 120 volts as well. But the lights still dont come on. Bulbs are good in all rooms. Now the front porch light has no power at the fixture but it has power at the switch. No idea what has happened and could really use some help. Of course I really can't afford an expert because this old house is draining me, but its home and I gotta fix it. Thanks! Ok, I just got more info to ad. I checked the porch fixture and discovered 15 volts with switch turned on. From what I have read this could be my digital multimeter. But when I turn the switch off The voltage goes to 65 volts. Where is this power coming from?
 
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Old 05-15-11, 02:17 PM
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Welcome to the forums! Yes, what you are getting is phantom voltage, common with digital multimeters. You appear to have a lifted neutral at some point. If any of your receptacles/switches have stab back connections, turn off the power and remove the wires to the screws on the switch/receptacle. Let us know what happens.
 
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Old 05-15-11, 04:01 PM
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Also remove and replace any wire nuts in all the switches, lights and receptacle. You did turn that breaker all the way off then on didn't you. Sometimes they don't look tripped.
 
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Old 05-15-11, 06:27 PM
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All of my switches are stab back type. I actually replaced them all in one of the affected rooms a month ago. I am replacing them as I paint rooms. I also replaced a Lamp fixture in the kitchen that is on the affected curcuit. It does have wire nuts. But what should I replace those with? As a note, and an admission to my lack of skill with wiring, I did buy my switches and receps with GE brand stuff bought at Wal-Mart. And the holes were to small for the copper wire so I made the holes bigger to accept the wire. I know its really cheap, but I live out in the sticks and my nearest hardware store is 40 minutes away. Does it sound like I may have burned a switch out cause it was too light duty for my house. The old ones were the original 1970 installs. I'm done for the day, but I'll let yall know what I come up with tomorrow. Thank you.
 
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Old 05-15-11, 07:00 PM
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Remove all the receptacles and switches where you over drilled the holes and discard them. You need to remove the wires and put them under the screws. You defeated the safety measure of not allowing a 12 gauge wire to be inserted into the hole, and probably do have a couple or more ill fitting stabs.
 
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Old 05-15-11, 08:13 PM
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I'll replace them ASAP! I'll hit lowes and get some good stuff to replace them.
 
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