Long Island Shooters Forum banner
1 - 20 of 63 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm hoping the gurus can help me out. A little background:

- My house was built in the 50's and had non-grounded wiring. As I remodel rooms I upgrade to wire with a ground and new circuits.

- The previous home owner (or rouge electrician) made some upgrades but I replace them where I find them as they are not to code or just sloppy or dangerous.

I am currently working on my basement and ran across a strange issue. I had a junction box that was above a light. I flipped the breaker and all the lights on the circuit went off. When I went to disconnect the wires I got a zap.

Doing some trouble shooting I found that another circuit was giving wires in the box power so I shut that off.

I traced the wires back to the original circuit and disconnected everything up stream of the box.

I got as far as I could to another junction box but now the other circuit is not working.

Here's the strange part. When I test the hot and neutral I get no current. However, if I use a ground from a known grounded source (extension wire plugged into a grounded outlet) I get current on BOTH the hot and neutral.

Hot and neutral with the circuit on - no current (ground it not touching - just looks like that in the pic)


Hot wire showing current when I connect the ground to the ground on the extension cord from a grounded outlet.


Neutral wire showing current when I connect the ground to the ground on the extension cord from a grounded outlet.


When I flip the breaker off for the second circuit I get no current - it is only when the second circuit is on.

Did someone cross a hot and neutral in the circuit? Could it be caused by my Insteon light switches on that circuit? It appears from my testing that the ground on that wire is not working as it will not show current when I connect the hot and the ground to the tester.

Any help would be appreciated!
 

·
win support for firearms - train a new shooter
Joined
·
1,671 Posts
White is not always a neutral,
you're measuring voltage present not current
the junction box fed something else besides the lights?
good luck

on edit:
disconnect stuff in the boxes
correct your ground to the service
determine the correct feed breaker
determine what the other breaker feeds
determine your feed circuit
Your Insteon remote system could be causing the 6 v leakage measurement through the receiver/transmitter
call McWonderful or Serve Electric

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I meant voltage.

I took out the multi meter and it is reading 6 volts on hot and neutral with the ground in the wire bundle. I supposed it was not enough voltage to set off the test light.

I am aware that the neutral can be reassigned in a 3-way circuit but that did not appear to be the case here.

Here is how it was wired originally:

- Circuit for basement lights was connected to the light in the basement boiler room (two wire - no ground), that was connected to another junction box in the adjacent room where a light was mounted (with non grounded wire).

- The non-grounded wire was connected to a 3 wire with ground (the ground was not connected) that lead to the switch.

- The red wire of the three wire was was turned the light on and off.

- The switch has that set of wires in the pics - everything was white - white, black - black.

Usually I have seen if they repurpose the neutral it is connected to a hot wire.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok so I wired the circuit the way it was before and added a ground (I removed the groundless wire) and it worked as before.

I have no idea why it is wired this way but it seems to be ok as long as I have it connected how it was.
 

·
Avoiding the ban hammer!
Joined
·
17,259 Posts
I assume by the height that this is a switch?

Looks/sounds as if it's a dead end 3way where white/black as your common. Reason both are hot to ground because the white is not a neutral but either the common or traveler.

If it is a 3way, if you flip the other side, red will be energized as well as the black/white
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It is a switch but not a three way which is what threw me.

It was wired like this:

- circuit comes from panel and connects to light in boiler room 2 wire hot and neutral (no ground)

- another two wire with no ground was connected (white white, black black) to to the first wire and then went to another fixture in the adjacent room.

- that light had a 3 wire with ground that went to the switch in the pic.

- in that junction box there was another two wire with ground that was connected to the black and white of the three wire.

- the red was connected to the light fixture.

Both lights had one switch each which I removed from the discussion for simplicity.

How much do you charge for an in person consult? It's working now but I want to understand how it is wired.
 

·
win support for firearms - train a new shooter
Joined
·
1,671 Posts
It is a switch but not a three way which is what threw me.

It was wired like this:

- circuit comes from panel and connects to light in boiler room 2 wire hot and neutral (no ground) POWER FEED ?

- another two wire with no ground was connected (white white, black black) to to the first wire and then went to another fixture in the adjacent room.

- that light had a 3 wire with ground that went to the switch in the pic. FEED + SWITCHED LEG BACK TO LAMP ?

- in that junction box there was another two wire with ground that was connected to the black and white of the three wire. POWER FEED TO 2nd LAMP?

- the red was connected to the light fixture. SWITCHED LEG BACK TO LAMP ?

Both lights had one switch each which I removed from the discussion for simplicity.

How much do you charge for an in person consult? It's working now but I want to understand how it is wired.
to teach he should charge double that to make it work

This is hard to do / describe w/o a diagram,

the pic needs another switch in there, but it's as close as I could find

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,344 Posts
You are stumped for the first time? Are you married yet? Isn't it great that we have so many Sparky members? Some will even prefer brass to cash as payment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,155 Posts
The box is supposed to be flush with the wall. It's set too far deep. Your meter may be picking up stray voltage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
to teach he should charge double that to make it work

This is hard to do / describe w/o a diagram,

the pic needs another switch in there, but it's as close as I could find

Thanks - it's close but not exact. I'll have to throw up a diagram tomorrow as I'm shot now.

McFly is going to try to drop by tomorrow to see what up!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You are stumped for the first time? Are you married yet? Isn't it great that we have so many Sparky members? Some will even prefer brass to cash as payment.
First time stumped with wiring


It is great to have electricians who know what they are doing. Last time I had one here he did sloppy work. Hence why I do it myself (along with plumbing, carpentry, etc.)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,465 Posts
Being a firefighter I highly recommend have a electricians look at it. Cause fires never happen at opportune times so to avoid having me come to remodel you home have a professional look at it.
 

·
win support for firearms - train a new shooter
Joined
·
1,671 Posts
First time stumped with wiring


It is great to have electricians who know what they are doing. Last time I had one here he did sloppy work. Hence why I do it myself (along with plumbing, carpentry, etc.)
stumped with this circuit,,,, can't wait till you start on the plumbing and woodwork.........etc
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,781 Posts
I can't help you, but I just got a house and it had some nice rouge wiring too.... Went to replace an ungrounded 2 prong outlet... Opened it up and saw 3 wires connected without a nut just tape. Took the tape off and the 3 black wires were soldered together. Plastic insulation all melted and charred.... Awesome!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
19,459 Posts
To be certain what you arte dealing with, you should diagram the connections, then disconnect the wires in the box and determine the feeds, disconnect the other boxes on the same circuit and perform a continuity test on each conductor so you know what is going to what. Be systematic and pragmatic, those are the keys to "ringing out" a circuit. Very often, somebody gets in there who does not know how to wire a three or four way circuit, abandons that part and uses a single pole switch to feed the circuit. Or double feeds a load with two single pole switches. Also, bear in mind if you disconnect the neutral from a resistive load like an incandescent light that has a live feed going to it, the neutral will then read "hot" to your voltage tester, if you then ground that neutral the light will go on. However, if the neutral is reading hot because you have a dead short between the hot and neutral somewhere, this will make a big spark and hopefully trip the breaker- which is to be avoided.

When in doubt, seek help like the others said. Where an the island are you located?

DO fix stuff that you know is wrong, and DO keep detailed electrical records- particularly in a renovation where you may only be able to access parts of a circuit at a time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I can't help you, but I just got a house and it had some nice rouge wiring too.... Went to replace an ungrounded 2 prong outlet... Opened it up and saw 3 wires connected without a nut just tape. Took the tape off and the 3 black wires were soldered together. Plastic insulation all melted and charred.... Awesome!
Ouch. When I gutted and remodeled my kitchen I found a junction box hanging out of the wall by the wires behind my electric stove.

The stove was powered by a 14 gauge wire / 15 amp circuit. I finally figured out why it took so long to boil water
 
1 - 20 of 63 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top