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Thread: Help me ... I'm not an electrical engineer (or even close)

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Help me ... I'm not an electrical engineer (or even close)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Curtis View Post
    ...
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  2. #22
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    Default Re: Help me ... I'm not an electrical engineer (or even close)

    Labrat .... that helps alot, first in explaining how the meter works (I took the single lead connected approach and touching both approach just to give all that are reading this the most possible information) now I understand the 0 V with both touching and why I may have low reading with just one lead touching. Others had kinda expalined that, but your words sunk in.

    I am off to check the continuity with the oms meter now... I will post the results. I hope you are right (and with all the work done at different times by different people on my homes electrical system it could be "poor" quality work that has a neutral being grounded somewhere.

    I appreciate ALL the help of everyone that responed ... my wife has enjoyed seeing the unity of our group. She isn't into blinky flashy, but was impressed. Especially for those that responed after 11 pm, on into 1 am. Many of us are late night people I guess.

    I will report back.
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  3. #23
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    Default Re: Help me ... I'm not an electrical engineer (or even close)

    I am glad labrat could explain it. I could see what you was doing but could not find the words for you to understand my jibber jabber. I am more of a hands on type of guy . hope you get the problem solved .

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Help me ... I'm not an electrical engineer (or even close)

    OK reporting in. The "continuation" downstream wiring has 0 oms, as does the "new" wire. The "hot wire has a value (not exactly sure what it is with the different scales of the meter).

    Next, I found two outlets that had a new closet built around them about 5 years ago, and wood finished back boards were put over the existing walls as the back of the closets. I made sure the outlets had openings cut in fromt of them even though they were not gonna be used, so I can get to them to check the white/ground situation.

    As for the "new" line, I put it in the wall myself when the wall was built, thinking ahead for the day that I wanted an additional outlet. It too shows 0 oms, but it is only a 6 foot run from the old outlet and the ends are not connected to anything yet (this is what started this whole thing - that I now wanted to connect an outlet to the capped wires I left in the covered box.) I don't know what may be the issue here other than double checking if maybe a drywall screw hit the wire somehow when the drywall was being put up.

    Next projects to check are the white / grounds on those two sections.

    IF I don't find where there is a connection between the white and ground, I would assume it is safe and will be functunal to have the "in the closet" outlets hooked up, but I think it is important to confirm that no screws hit the wires on the new 6' section that I ran.

    Things are looking up ...
    Last edited by Jim Curtis; 10-18-2011 at 11:55 AM.
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  5. #25
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    Default Re: Help me ... I'm not an electrical engineer (or even close)

    if everything is right and connected "with the power turned off" the white and ground should show continuity or close to 0 ohms resistance. or if you have sound attenuation on your meter if there is continuity your little alarm on your meter will chime continuously until probes are removed from the wire.

    UNDER NO circumstance should you ever have voltage running through the white wire to ground, on a standard 15amp or 20 amp 120v receptacle. maybe if you have a dryer or ac or oven can you have current going through the white to ground wire since the white wire in those cases aren't the neutral conductor they are really a hot conductor for the 240v 208v appliances. electricians do this to save money on wire and that additional wire to make colors proper is not needed. I usually phase tape the wire to its proper color so people understand that the white wire is in fact a hot wire (black or red per single phase panel).

    All this testing your doing is kinda confusing and i am not understanding how if your taking a black and white from an already working plug that there is any problem(ie back feeding voltages and etc). I read that you said there could be a screw in a wire from the sheet rock or wall board. If this were the case A it would not work and or 2. your breaker would trip since the way the wire is wound in Romex if a screw penetrates the jacket on a conductor it will always hit the ground(they are tightly wound)

    another way to test this is put everything the way it was before you added the wire get a GFCI tester plug it in it will tell you if the wires are correct reversed or open ground or open hot or open neutral, if you get any other ready than correct please tell me the reading and we can trouble shoot from there.
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  6. #26
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    Default Re: Help me ... I'm not an electrical engineer (or even close)

    Going all the way back to your first posting.
    What you described was.. "hooked up the new plug, and when I measured between Neutral and Hot, I saw zero volts. When I measured between Hot and Gnd, I saw 120volts".

    To me this says that your NEUTRAL (WHITE) either wasn't hooked up, or is broken.

    So one option would be to test your NEUTRAL cable...

    Power off.
    Disconnect your new wire from it's starting points (where you were attaching it in the box to get power).
    Test continuity between your new WHITE and GROUND ( should be INFINITE indicating no contact)
    Now twist the GROUND and white together (just the two from the "new" cable).
    Go to the socket at the other end of the cable, and check continuity between WHITE and GROUND.
    Should now read ZERO. If not.. there's a break in the cable.
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  7. #27
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    Default Re: Help me ... I'm not an electrical engineer (or even close)

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    Power off.
    Disconnect your new wire from it's starting points (where you were attaching it in the box to get power).
    Test continuity between your new WHITE and GROUND ( should be INFINITE indicating no contact)
    Now twist the GROUND and white together (just the two from the "new" cable).
    Go to the socket at the other end of the cable, and check continuity between WHITE and GROUND.
    Should now read ZERO. If not.. there's a break in the cable.
    i would have to agree with this test... maybe show pictures of what your doing.
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  8. #28
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    Default Re: Help me ... I'm not an electrical engineer (or even close)

    Jim, you’re starting to scare me here.

    You should be doing nothing more than connecting black to black, white to white and bare to bare, as in the diagram below.
    outlet-wiring.gif

    Then you should plug in an outlet tester, like the one below (about 3$) into each outlet and checking for the correct light combination.
    Electrical-Receptacle-Wall-Plug-AC-Outlet-Ground-Tester.jpg

    You’re messing with something that can easily burn down your house if done incorrectly just once. It may be time to call an electrician.
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  9. #29
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    Default Re: Help me ... I'm not an electrical engineer (or even close)

    Originally you said the box was wired with the "feed" (hot and neutral coming from the circuit breaker) going to the one set of screws on the outlet plug, and then on the other screws to the other plugs downstream. That is not the ideal way to wire plugs but is easier for the electrician to do it that way. It also may not be "code" for your area- I know it is NOT for my area in El Dorado County, California. (Note: that is the way you wire a GFCI so all downstream plugs are protected.)

    The "right" way to do it is to use a wire nut, or electrical crimp to tie the "feed/in" to the "downstream/out" all together of the same color (black to black, white to white, and bare/gnd to bare) each and with a stub wire about a 5-6" short wire that you will connect to the outlet screws (or push ins on the back of the outlet if you have that). This allows for a more reliable connection to the downstream outlets- less likely to get loose and arc or overheat. In your case, you would have four wires (of black OR white, OR bare) connected by the wire nut- power in, power to new circuit, power to continuation of the plug circuit, and the stub wire to go to the plug in the outlet.

    My guess is that you may have accidentally snapped the isolation tab(s) off the outlet which allows a two plug outlet be split so that half is powerd and the other half is switched. That would screw up one or both of the continuing circuit power.

    Hope this helps.

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  10. #30
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    Default Re: Help me ... I'm not an electrical engineer (or even close)

    Oh dear.. what if this was a SPLIT plug? That second feed may not have been a "downstream", but a second 15 AMP circuit (probably out of phase with the first)
    This wasn't in a Kitchen or Workshop.. was it?

    Pictures are a must at this point, and the idea of calling that Electrician is sounding better and better.
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