• IMPORTANT: Please note that nobody on this forum should be seeking from or providing advice to those who are not competent and / or trained and qualified in their field (local laws permitting). There is a discussion thread on this global industry-wide matter HERE. This also has more information about the warning with regards to sharing electrical advice in some countries. By using this forum you do so in agreement to this.

Discuss Lights Out in the American Professional Electrical Advice Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

During a heavy rainstorm in the evening, all lights and plugs went out in the living room, adjacent foyer and 3 outside lights (1 near the front door and 2 garage carriage lights). Everything else worked normally.
Next day I did some trouble shooting. No breakers tripped. I checked voltage coming out of each breaker. 120V. I checked the connections in the breakers and on the neutral bus bar. Seemed OK. So I was convinced that I had 120V and good neutral wires leaving the breaker box.
Next I went to the junction box in the living room. No voltage in the junction box. I checked continuity between the breaker output and the junction box. No continuity. I checked continuity between the neutral bus bar in the breaker box and the neutral wire coming into the junction box. No continuity. AZ home. Stucco, Built on slab. No basement.
I'm stumped. HELP.
 

Pete999

-
Arms
Esteemed
During a heavy rainstorm in the evening, all lights and plugs went out in the living room, adjacent foyer and 3 outside lights (1 near the front door and 2 garage carriage lights). Everything else worked normally.
Next day I did some trouble shooting. No breakers tripped. I checked voltage coming out of each breaker. 120V. I checked the connections in the breakers and on the neutral bus bar. Seemed OK. So I was convinced that I had 120V and good neutral wires leaving the breaker box.
Next I went to the junction box in the living room. No voltage in the junction box. I checked continuity between the breaker output and the junction box. No continuity. I checked continuity between the neutral bus bar in the breaker box and the neutral wire coming into the junction box. No continuity. AZ home. Stucco, Built on slab. No basement.
I'm stumped. HELP.
What test instrument were you using to test for Voltage at the outgoing side of the breaker?
 
It's very difficult to diagnose the cause of this sort of problem whilst not on site. Is there another joint between the fusebox and the joint box you tested at? Otherwise it's simply a case of checking continuity from the source to all accessible joints in a logical fashion until the break is located. Otherwise call in a pro to sort it. As suggested above though, use only approved voltage testers for voltage and a decent multimeter for continuity, DIY style neon screwdrivers and non contact voltage testers will only mislead.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6
I've never used a neon screwdriver. Don't own one.
I used a Commercial Electric digital voltmeter Model MS8301A (Home Depot) to trouble shoot the breaker panel. I own a Commercial Electric non-contact voltage tester and used it in the project to, for example, quickly check a junction box and other boxes for voltage. No signal, no voltage. A positive only tells you voltage is present, but not which wire. I also have a wire tracer, but didn't use it in this project: the breaker box is mounted on an outside wall, opposite a living room wall which is full of a very elaborate entertainment system which I didn't want to spend hours disassembling the re-assembling again. The home is built on a slab, no basement.
Incidentally, while I'm a retired DIYer, I have worked for electrical contractors in the past.
Concerning the comment from fairlight: do you really think there'd be joints between the breaker box and the junction box in the living room?
Thanks for your input.
 
Concerning the comment from fairlight: do you really think there'd be joints between the breaker box and the junction box in the living room?
Thanks for your input.
[/QUOTE]

I've really no idea. However continuous conductors don't just break, if there really is no continuity to the assumed first joint on the circuit then either there will be another joint or some mechanical damage has occurred. Beyond that I don't see how we can assist without being on site.
 

Megawatt

-
Arms
During a heavy rainstorm in the evening, all lights and plugs went out in the living room, adjacent foyer and 3 outside lights (1 near the front door and 2 garage carriage lights). Everything else worked normally.
Next day I did some trouble shooting. No breakers tripped. I checked voltage coming out of each breaker. 120V. I checked the connections in the breakers and on the neutral bus bar. Seemed OK. So I was convinced that I had 120V and good neutral wires leaving the breaker box.
Next I went to the junction box in the living room. No voltage in the junction box. I checked continuity between the breaker output and the junction box. No continuity. I checked continuity between the neutral bus bar in the breaker box and the neutral wire coming into the junction box. No continuity. AZ home. Stucco, Built on slab. No basement.
I'm stumped. HELP.
@Rt626 what do you mean junction box in side your living room and do you have a panel inside your house and a meter combo panel outside your house with breakers
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9
No panel inside the house. Yes, meter combo panel outside the house with breakers (located on wall outside, opposite the living room).
By "junction box inside the living room" I mean a box that serves as a communal meeting spot for electrical wires, one from the panel, where they connect before moving on. The junction box has 3 light switches plus other wires leading to sub-circuits.
 

Megawatt

-
Arms
No panel inside the house. Yes, meter combo panel outside the house with breakers (located on wall outside, opposite the living room).
By "junction box inside the living room" I mean a box that serves as a communal meeting spot for electrical wires, one from the panel, where they connect before moving on. The junction box has 3 light switches plus other wires leading to sub-circuits.
@rt626usa so you are saying that all the wires from the outside panel go through the wall into a junction box and then they are distributed to all your circuits that don’t work. You said this didn’t happen till it rained that night could you have a roof leak with a light taking on water. You need to call your power company to come out and check your service
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11
Entertainment Center.JPG
This is a picture of the living room wall opposite the breaker box outside. No power to the entertainment center. (The orange cord in the pic is a 100-ft extension cord coming from another room so we can watch TV.) There's only one plug on this wall (which is behind the entertainment center). The junction box I've been referring to is on the wall across the room opposite the wall shown in the pic.
Question: Is it conceivable the wire from the breaker box goes to the entertainment center first before it continues on it's journey to the junction box?
Or, asked another way, is it conceivable that there's a primary circuit (plugs) between the breaker box and the junction box?
 

Megawatt

-
Arms
View attachment 52721
This is a picture of the living room wall opposite the breaker box outside. No power to the entertainment center. (The orange cord in the pic is a 100-ft extension cord coming from another room so we can watch TV.) There's only one plug on this wall (which is behind the entertainment center). The junction box I've been referring to is on the wall across the room opposite the wall shown in the pic.
Question: Is it conceivable the wire from the breaker box goes to the entertainment center first before it continues on it's journey to the junction box?
Or, asked another way, is it conceivable that there's a primary circuit (plugs) between the breaker box and the junction box?
Let me ask you a question does that panel outside have a 100 amp breaker double pole in it, you could have a problem by lose of one phase
Post automatically merged:

Let me ask you a question does that panel outside have a 100 amp breaker double pole in it, you could have a problem by lose of one phase
Could you take a picture of that junction box it might be a big help with cover off
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #13
Megawatt, to clarify: No, I'm not saying that all the wires from the panel go through the wall to a single junction box. I'm saying that for power to the living room, a single wire goes through the wall either directly to the junction box, or through a joint (see fairlight above). So, I'm asking is it conceivable that there's joint between the panel and the junction box? Is that typically done when wiring homes?
 

Megawatt

-
Arms
Megawatt, to clarify: No, I'm not saying that all the wires from the panel go through the wall to a single junction box. I'm saying that for power to the living room, a single wire goes through the wall either directly to the junction box, or through a joint (see fairlight above). So, I'm asking is it conceivable that there's joint between the panel and the junction box? Is that typically done when wiring homes?
YES different electricians run wires different ways so yes it very well could be run through a light first or tapped off receptacles. The good news is in 2017 NEC code book made a change for this same reason and start labeling all the first outlets. I have seen receptacles are usually the problem
Post automatically merged:

YES different electricians run wires different ways so yes it very well could be run through a light first or tapped off receptacles. The good news is in 2017 NEC code book made a change for this same reason and start labeling all the first outlets. I have seen receptacles are usually the problem
Take a fan or something you can plug in at the receptacles not working and wiggle it, you might find it that way. I’ve done it
Post automatically merged:

YES different electricians run wires different ways so yes it very well could be run through a light first or tapped off receptacles. The good news is in 2017 NEC code book made a change for this same reason and start labeling all the first outlets. I have seen receptacles are usually the problem
Post automatically merged:


Take a fan or something you can plug in at the receptacles not working and wiggle it, you might find it that way. I’ve done it
It sounds like a bad receptacle
 
Last edited:

Megawatt

-
Arms
YES different electricians run wires different ways so yes it very well could be run through a light first or tapped off receptacles. The good news is in 2017 NEC code book made a change for this same reason and start labeling all the first outlets. I have seen receptacles are usually the problem
Post automatically merged:


Take a fan or something you can plug in at the receptacles not working and wiggle it, you might find it that way. I’ve done it
Post automatically merged:


It sounds like a bad receptacle
YES different electricians run wires different ways so yes it very well could be run through a light first or tapped off receptacles. The good news is in 2017 NEC code book made a change for this same reason and start labeling all the first outlets. I have seen receptacles are usually the problem
Post automatically merged:


Take a fan or something you can plug in at the receptacles not working and wiggle it, you might find it that way. I’ve done it
Post automatically merged:


It sounds like a bad receptacle
YES different electricians run wires different ways so yes it very well could be run through a light first or tapped off receptacles. The good news is in 2017 NEC code book made a change for this same reason and start labeling all the first outlets. I have seen receptacles are usually the problem
Post automatically merged:


Take a fan or something you can plug in at the receptacles not working and wiggle it, you might find it that way. I’ve done it
Post automatically merged:


It sounds like a bad receptacle
Rt626 any luck yet with your problem
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #16
Thanks for your help, but haven't been able to try your suggestion yet. You see the pic of the one living room wall, hours to move all the shelving and stuff away to get to the outlets. There is a second wall, to the left in the one in the picture, that is somewhat similar, that is, massive display shelves full of stuff. But, again, thanks for your input. It's got to be the solution to the problem. I think it's the only thing that makes any real sense.
 

Megawatt

-
Arms
Thanks for your help, but haven't been able to try your suggestion yet. You see the pic of the one living room wall, hours to move all the shelving and stuff away to get to the outlets. There is a second wall, to the left in the one in the picture, that is somewhat similar, that is, massive display shelves full of stuff. But, again, thanks for your input. It's got to be the solution to the problem. I think it's the only thing that makes any real sense.
I’m really pulling for you and I still think it is a receptacle keep in touch please
 

Reply to Lights Out in the American Professional Electrical Advice Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

Electrical2Go - Online Electrical Supplier
This official sponsor may provide discounts for members
Top Bottom