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I have two lights in on a circuit that are not working. They…

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I have two lights in...
I have two lights in on a circuit that are not working. They just both stopped working and I don't think I did anything to cause it. They are at the end of a run one after another. I have tested the hot wires and they're showing 125v. I have checked connections and they all look good in the light boxes and the switch boxes. How can I test to see if it is an opened neutral causing this problem. What would you check next? Very frustrating!!
Submitted: 9 months ago.Category: Electrical
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Answered in 13 minutes by:
9/21/2017
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 9 months ago
Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4,361
Experience: 31 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
Verified

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) Do you have a multimeter available to confirm voltages?

2) What type of switches? Single pole or 3-ways?

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
Both are single pole and I have a cheap multimeter I think still works
Customer reply replied 9 months ago
I do know a good amount about wiring
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 9 months ago

Thanks for the replies.

1) Use your meter and take the following measurements with the wall switches in the ON position and let me know the results.

A) At each light box, measure from the switched leg to the white neutral. Should measure approx 120 volts.

B) At each light box, measure from the white neutral to the ground. Should measure approx 0 volts.

C) At each light box, measure from the switched leg to the ground. Should measure approx 120 volts.

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
oops!! was I suppose to turn off the circuit. I just melted my multi-meter.
Checked earlier with a pen type meter
ground to hot wire 125v
ground to switch wire 0 when off and 125v when on
neutral to ground 0
neutral to hot 125v
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 9 months ago

1) A non-contact tester (pen type) is not able to measure voltage. You need a 2 wire lead contact AC voltmeter.

2) Voltage can only be measured with the breaker and the wall switch in the ON position.

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
The pin type meter I was using has to leads and measure volts but simple. The volt meter blew I touched the ground with the common lead and the other lead to the hot wire and pop and smoke the lead pin blew off the wire and across the room. Does that mean anything in it's self.
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 9 months ago

1) When the meter fried, did the circuit breaker also trip?

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
No it's on a AFCI breaker. Don't think that makes a difference.
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 9 months ago

Not sure why the breaker didn't trip since a short circuit occurred.

1) Have you measured voltage directly at the light bulb sockets?

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
it is weird the switches show power at the switch when turned on but nothing at the fixtures One is last one the circuit in the attic and the other is right before it on the circuit in a hallway. both are acting the same.
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 9 months ago

1) If the switches have power, then there is either a loose termination or a faulty splice at the wall switch or a loose termination downstream from the switch.

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
like an opened neutral wire somewhere before the switch? So just keep opening boxes and checking connection
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 9 months ago

1) If you had an open neutral, the N to G voltage would have been much greater than 0 volts. Your N to G voltage @ 0 volts is correct.

2) You can confirm an open neutral by using a 3 prong extension cord plugged into another known receptacle circuit. Then use the neutral wire on the extension cord and compare it to the middle hot conductor tab located inside the light socket. If you measure 120 volts at the light socket hot tab to the cord neutral, then the lighting circuit has an open neutral and further investigation will be required by opening up other boxes.

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
okay thanks, getting late here. I will try some other things tomorrow. What would you do first
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 9 months ago

No problem, glad to assist.

1) Use a 3 prong cord and compare the neutral from that circuit to the switched leg hot at the light bulb socket. If you measure 120 volts, then the switched leg hot wire is good and the circuit neutral wire must have an open.

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
okay i will try this tomorrow thank you
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 9 months ago

OK, very good. Reply back tomorrow and let me know how you make out.

Thanks...........Kevin:)

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Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 9 months ago

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.

Thanks.................Kevin:)

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