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Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
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Experience:  Proven Professional 48 years Experience
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I am in the last stretch of remodeling my kitchen, yet I've

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Hello, I am in the last stretch of remodeling my kitchen, yet I've run into an electrical problem. I've replaced the recessed lights above the cabinets with new ones (LED-jobs), but I can no longer get power to them. This is a problem as the back porch light, garage lights, and garage-door opener are all on the same line/ circuit-breaker, and they have no power (I'm thinking that this is not ideal, but that's what I have). Presently the chandelier over the table DOES have power as does the light over the sink.
I've searched for a break in the circuit everywhere I can think or see, but no luck and still no juice. The thing is...I didn't change anything...that I know of.
The power from the breaker box comes in at the box above the sink. That box hosts a switch for the light above the sink, and that switch serves as a middle-of-the-run for a chandelier, the recessed lights in the kitchen, as well as the porch light, garage, and garage-door opener.
As or right now, I have all of the black wires nutted together as well as all of the white wires (bypassing the dimmer for the recessed lights). The chandelier and light over the sink work, but still no power to the garage door or lights or to the switches that operate them (they're not bad). Also, so power to the switch at the porch light.
If you could provide some advice, I'd very much appreciate it.

Hi, I'm Mike and I'll be assisting you. Please stand by while I review your question.

Do you have a 2 wire voltage tester?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I've been using it every time I changed a wire configuration.

OK, you need to test the following on the circuit.

  1. Hot to neutral
  2. Hit to ground
  3. Neutral to ground

Test at opening closest to the panel. Let me know if you get a voltage reading.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
By opening closest to the panel do you mean the receptacle box where my switches are? I don't think there are any breaks before that coming from the panel box.

By testing the outlet, receptacle, switch or light as directed on a non working item we will know what we're looking for.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
ok...I'm on it.

Standing by.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Mike,I found...Hot to neutral = POWER
Hot to ground = POWER
Neutral to ground = No power

That was a working outlet. You need to be testing at a non working one.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
OK...I tested the only non-working outlet on the circuit and I go no power at all from hot to neutral or ground or neutral to ground, but that is not likely the closest to the breaker box.I'm testing the porch light now

Go to the panel. Open it and test each breaker to neutral to verify they are on.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Nothing at the porch light...the breaker is on. I have power by the sink.

Are you sure that is on the same circuit? A failed circuit due to a bad connection has the problem at the first dead outlet or the working outlet VC ahead of the dead one. I would check the breakers to eliminate them as the problem.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
They are definitely on the same circuit, and there is definitely power. As far as I can tell, the power from the breaker comes in at the bottom of the box. That was the first thing I tested with you because that's what I thought you meant.Right now, I have all the neutral wires to the receptacle joined together (bypassing the switches for the light above the sink and the chandelier. I was thinking to separate the wires in the box, but I don't know what I'd do with them.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I forgot to mention that I have all the black wires nutted together too. I thought that would complete all the circuits, but it didn't do anything for the recessed lights, the porch light and power to the garage. I know that these items are on the same circuit because they all went dead when I turned this particular breaker off to do the work on the kitchen.

If the box has no voltage and all the breakers are on and have voltage, there is an open connection somewhere. As I said, it will be at the dead outlet closest to the panel or at a working outlet ahead of it. You don't have to break connections on the circuit. You will only complicate the issue.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I hear you, but I don't have a dead outlet to test before the garage, which is an end-of-the -run. The switch box to the lights in the garage might be the broken circuit, but I tested them last night, and there's no power going to them. I thought then that the porch light might be the culprit, but there's no power at the switch box there either.The next closest "outlets" are the switches by the sink. I wired them to the incoming hot, by-passing the switches, one by one. Of the three cables coming in from the top of the box, I've eliminated all but one: the recessed lights. That is, when wired directly and exclusively to the hot, the chandelier works, the sink light works, but the recessed lights don't. SO, the garage receptacles and porch lights are also powerless, and I believe they are farther from the breaker than the recessed lights. I hope this makes sense.

Unfortunately not having a circuit map makes troubleshooting more difficult. Circuit directories are worthless. The don't show exactly what's on any circuit. If hot wires are dead in the boxes checked, you either have a junction box or a basement light possibly ahead of the dead outlets. All you can do is keep looking. If you have a clamp meter and enough wire to run from the panel to the dead outlets, I can tell you how to identify the circuit in order to chase the problem from the other end.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I don't have a clamp meter. I guess I'll keep looking for a break, but I feel like ti's after the recessed lights assuming they come before both porch and garage. That'll have to be it for the day though; other tasks await while the sun is high.Thanks for your time.-Charlie

Another failure you should know about is when connections of wires are made with previously connected wire, the wire breaks off and it's not apparent by looking at the wire nuts. They will look good but aren't making an electrical connection.

Hey Charlie, how are you making out? If you need further assistance let me know. I would appreciate a 5 star rating. Thanks Mike

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