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Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

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  • #16
    Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

    Yes sorry I noticed the edit after I had posted.

    I will resume troubleshooting tomorrow as I don't know which breaker controls the faulty circuit so I turned off all the power to the house while working on it today (during daylight hours).

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    • #17
      Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

      If you didn't live so dang far I"d come help ya find the problem.

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      • #18
        Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

        Slightly off topic, but an eg. of how tricky some sparky problems can be.
        In my own home, I had a motion detector circuit on a light for our patio. I'd cook outside at night and the light would come on for a very short period of time, then turn off. Frustrating to me, but not p-ssing me off enough to really look at it. Fast forward to last March, I'm redoing some electrical in an adjacent family room that feeds the outdoor motion sensor circuit. Tear the thing completely apart. I find a hot inside the octogon box that was broken inside the wire nut itself. It made contact as long as the light was not on. Once on, it heated up, expanded and pulled away, causing the light to go out. Once cooled, came back on. If I hadn't had an eagle eye when tearing that box apart, I could have easily missed that fault.
        Jim

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        • #19
          Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

          One other thing to check.You could have lost a neutral.You can check that by checking voltage from hot to ground wire with a volt meter.Elther way it sux to find a connection problem.

          Huck

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          • #20
            Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

            Originally posted by JimDon View Post
            Slightly off topic, but an eg. of how tricky some sparky problems can be.
            In my own home, I had a motion detector circuit on a light for our patio. I'd cook outside at night and the light would come on for a very short period of time, then turn off. Frustrating to me, but not p-ssing me off enough to really look at it. Fast forward to last March, I'm redoing some electrical in an adjacent family room that feeds the outdoor motion sensor circuit. Tear the thing completely apart. I find a hot inside the octogon box that was broken inside the wire nut itself. It made contact as long as the light was not on. Once on, it heated up, expanded and pulled away, causing the light to go out. Once cooled, came back on. If I hadn't had an eagle eye when tearing that box apart, I could have easily missed that fault.
            Jim
            Yes I agree electrical problems can be hard to diagnose. Actually I have a confession to make - I'm an electrical engineer but my work is mainly on the low voltage side. I design and develop board level circuity (analog as well as digital) as well as chips (integrated circuits) for applications such as wireless, compressed video etc. I work in R&D developing new products and I've had my fair share of very hard to diagnose problems when testing a new deisgn for the first time.

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            • #21
              Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

              Originally posted by huckster4 View Post
              One other thing to check.You could have lost a neutral.You can check that by checking voltage from hot to ground wire with a volt meter.Elther way it sux to find a connection problem.

              Huck
              Yes good point - I was thinking about that possibility today.

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              • #22
                Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

                Hate to tell ya this, but,calling in an electrician could save ya the headache.These types of problems kinda needs some intuition and experience in house wiring.
                just an option. No offense meant.

                Huck

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                • #23
                  Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

                  Originally posted by huckster4 View Post
                  Hate to tell ya this, but,calling in an electrician could save ya the headache.These types of problems kinda needs some intuition and experience in house wiring.
                  just an option. No offense meant.

                  Huck
                  No problem - the diagnostic procedure sounds tedious rather than difficult. I think I should get to the bottom of the problem fairly soon. The main thing is that it is not a critical circuit so I can be without power on it for a while.

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                  • #24
                    Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

                    One other thing to do,check all neutral wire connections in the breaker panel.I've seen the screws back off (or never tightened when installed) enough to lose connection.

                    Huck

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                    • #25
                      Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

                      Huckster,
                      I thought about telling him to hire a sparky too, but then as he told about background, I thought, "he'll be just fine."

                      May take a little while to work thru the c-ap, but he'll figure it out with his background. Just don't light yourself up doing it.

                      BTW, don't ask me how I know this either. I see nothing.

                      Jim

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                      • #26
                        Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

                        Jim Don, yeah thats why i said no offense. I think he has a leg up on finding the problem.

                        Oh, and how will I know if I don't ask? lmao

                        Huck

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                        • #27
                          Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

                          Originally posted by huckster4 View Post
                          One other thing to do,check all neutral wire connections in the breaker panel.I've seen the screws back off (or never tightened when installed) enough to lose connection.

                          Huck
                          Funny that went through my mind at some point also but I forgot about it. On the other hand I was thinking that my non-contact tester would still indicate a hot wire at the outlets even if the neutral was disconnected/loose which is not happening. So I have concluded at the moment that the hot wire has become disconnected somewhere.

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                          • #28
                            Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

                            Non-contact testers can give false positives based on backfeed off neutrals and many other factors. They are not fail safe and should never be relied on to tell what is really going on. They are a quick and dirty way to tell if there is power and that's it. Anything else, you need a wiggy or a volt-ohm to get in and tell you if there is power. Relie solely on a non-contact and you risk getting a bad burn. Hope this helps.
                            Jim

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                            • #29
                              Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

                              Originally posted by JimDon View Post
                              Non-contact testers can give false positives based on backfeed off neutrals and many other factors. They are not fail safe and should never be relied on to tell what is really going on. They are a quick and dirty way to tell if there is power and that's it. Anything else, you need a wiggy or a volt-ohm to get in and tell you if there is power. Relie solely on a non-contact and you risk getting a bad burn. Hope this helps.
                              Jim
                              What's a wiggy? Is it one of those clamp on meters? I thought those only showed current draw rather than voltage. I was assuming that if the neutral was disconnected a multimeter will not give an accurate reading if the reference point is floating. I suppose one could measure the hot voltage against the ground in that situation.

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                              • #30
                                Re: Troubleshooting dead electrical circuit

                                Its a brand name for a solenoid tester and has become known as a generic name for this type of tester. Ideal, Fluke, Greenlee, and many others make similar testers.

                                "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006

                                https://www.youtube.com/user/PowerToolInstitute

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