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Bought a late 1800's house along with a mess of electrical…

Customer Question
Hi, Bought a late...

Hi, Bought a late 1800's house along with a mess of electrical issues. The ceiling light fixtures were literally hanging by the wires, so started about replacing them with purchased new lights from Lowes. The first three went along very well without issues(also replaced the switches, re-stripped existing wires before using caps, then taping before sticking back into housing), until... A ceiling fixture that DID work, but again hanging by one wire, when I moved in, no longer worked one day. So, figured I would also do the same as other fixtures. Not a chance! There were two switches that I thought worked this one fixture, but had not tried one to see if it actually worked. When I released the ceiling light, I did not think to look at how it was wired-stupid? No, just assumptions on my part that it would be the same set-up. Have been working on this thing for four days now. Since the two outlets in this same room do not work either, I can only do this with a headlamp or in daylight-minimal now with winter here in the north. Very frustrated to say the least! I cannot determine just which of the cables goes off to the circuit box, and which move on to other receptacles such as the outlets or the other switch. There are NO red wires in the ceiling, only one switch has a 'two-wire' where I have already replaced the switch. Yes, in the 'on' position, the light comes on when the breaker is reset. When shut to the 'off' position, the breaker pops again. The other switch has been removed since I do not need it, and did not know if it worked to begin with-all capped-whites together, blacks together and the grounds. I have a blank on this receptacle for now. My question is, how do I determine which of the cables in the ceiling goes to the circuit box, which goes to the switches or maybe an outlet??(The outlets did work when the circuit was reset, but also failed when the breaker popped after the switch was turned off.)

Contractor's Assistant: How old is the system in question? And have you consulted an electrician yet?

Have had two friends familiar with electrical issues look at it-they are stumped also. The house is late 1800's. The electrical has been updated, but when is anyones guess. Typical of old farmhouses, it has been added on to many times.

Contractor's Assistant: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?

Yes

Contractor's Assistant: Anything else we should know to help you best?

Thought I described this in detail-do not know what more to add here.

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Electrical
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Answered in 9 minutes by:
11/20/2017
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 7 months ago
Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4,414
Experience: 31 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) You will need a 2 wire toner and a probe to trace out the cables. A toner set can be purchased at any Home Depot, Lowe's or a local electrical supply store.

2) When toning a cable or wire, they must be disconnected at the electrical panel. You will need to place the toner on the hot and neutral wires of the circuit at the panel and go from box to box with a probe to identify the cables/wires onto that circuit. Keep in mind that a circuit can tandem thru any type of box.....ie.....receptacle or switch or lighting fixture or junction box and can even tandem thru a box from another circuit.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Had one...had to toss it out because one of the wires was frayed!
Kevin?
'they must be disconnected at the electrical panel'...do you mean the circuit box? If so, just how would I do this?
Helllllllooooooooooooo out there?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
How long do I wait for a reply here?
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 7 months ago

Yes, the toned circuit needs to be disconnected at the panel

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Too many solicitations on this site! Wow, not like I remember the last time! AND, no other replies yet besides? Suppose $5 doesn't go very far for advice. LOTS later Kevin. Satisfaction guaranteed heh? Wonder just how I get that whopping five bucks back then? Not coming back here again!
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 7 months ago

I've opted out of your question. Sorry I'm not able to type as fast as you want an answer.

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