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OT Home wiring

Discussion in 'Home Power and Microgeneration' started by jj, Aug 17, 2003.

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  1. jj

    jj Guest

    Sorry for the off-topic.
    After last weeks lighning storms (we had about 4 real close strikes)
    I find that one room ; plus a couple of other lights/receptacles
    that are adjacent to the faulty room ; is out of power.
    No panel breakers tripped - they were all operated and checked with a
    meter & OK. Wires & connections to the panel breakers all good.
    I strongly suspect an open circuit - but where ?
    I pulled all the non working receptacles & lights & switches to check
    the wires in the boxes - all wiring seems ok - but no power.
    One of the non functioning receptacles is a GFI - but it has no power
    in or out.
    Could there be a hidden junction box with the problem ? In attic or
    wall ? Is there any way to trace wiring within a wall ? A pulse
    sender / detector type gizmo ?
    Any suggestions ?
    John T.
  2. Dale Farmer

    Dale Farmer Guest

    My first guess is that the GFI was damaged from the ground surge
    from the nearby lightning strikes. Would not be surprised that the
    GFI is fed from the panel, and then in turn feeds the other dead outlets.
    Tracer type devices do exist, but the good ones are too damn expensive
    for non-professionals to justify buying.
    Open up the GFI wall box and carefully ( All wires are electrified
    until you have tested it with a meter yourself. When you leave the
    room, recheck the wires just in case the electrocution fairy came
    along and turned the switch back on. ) pull the GFI out of the wall
    until you can reach the wires with your meter. Test the terminals
    on both sides of the GFI.
    If you have power on the input side, but not the output side, then
    that is it. If no power at all, then go look further upstream.
    This is something you may want to hire an electrician to come out
    and do for you. There is some danger here and hooking the GFI
    back up correctly as a feed through device is not intuitively obvious.

  3. hubops

    hubops Guest

    Sorry for the off-topic.

    Thanks Dale. Both sides of the GFI are dead.
    John T.
  4. hubops

    hubops Guest

    Thanks Karl.
    John T.
  5. ben williams

    ben williams Guest

    The one your looking for will have power to one socket and none to the other
    (duplex outlet), because the power comes into one and the buss bars feed the
    other (and all the rest on that line).
  6. albown

    albown Guest

    Many home centers carry circuit tracing equipment. The problem is if you do
    not completely understand the principals it will not help much. You could
    have an open neutral, or an open hot.

    Safety first
    I suggest that you start from the beginning. Open and close every breaker
    in the panel. Make sure there is power flowing from them. Then one at a
    time with all of the power shut off except the circuit your working on try
    and find where the power stops. WW Grainers sells a Tic Tracer, ( known as
    other names) You can trace the power through the drywalled walls about 70%
    of the time with one of them. Do not try it with one of the non contact
    "voltage pens" will not work.

    Unfortunately I have seen a home that need to be completely rewired after
    near by strikes.

    I suggest that once this is repaired you consider a whole house surge
    arrestor for your panel. I have one and it give an extra bit of comfort.
    Seriously, if the lightning was real close the amount of energy that is
    available is staggering. Even a whole house surge arrestor will not help on
    a near miss.
  7. hubops

    hubops Guest

    Thanks for taking the time to post.
    I will maybe look into the Tic Tracer thing.
    John T.
  8. jj

    jj Guest

    Well .... problem seems fixed, but still some mystery to it.
    I found an apparent open-circuit-black wire between the panel and the
    first (?) junction out - a triple switch box. The white wire in the
    cable seemed fine - no open, no short.
    I ran a new length of wire; replaced the GFI receptacle; and
    everything seems fine, now.
    How the open-circuit occured is a real mystery. One suggestion is
    that the black may have been nicked with a nail/screw some time ago
    and the weak point acted like a fuse during the surge from the
    lightning ... I sure can't come-up with anything better ..
    Thanks for all who responded to the original post.
    John T.
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