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Wire still hot after breaker turned off

housenut1's picture

The 15A breaker was turned off and I proceeded to tap into the box for an additional light.  It was still hot.  I turned it on and off again and one time it was off and another time the tester's light dimmed slowly to off.  Could it be a bad breaker or possibly a loose connection on this breaker at the panel causing this?  


   

(post #80009, reply #1 of 57)

Maybe try switch the circuit with another 15 amp breaker in the box. See what happens.
Mike

(post #80009, reply #18 of 57)

Thanks for the tip Mike.

(post #80009, reply #2 of 57)

Loose connection doesn't cause wire to remain hot. You sure you have the correct breaker? Just unhook the wire, if still hot it is not the correct breaker or there is a bridged connection somewhere.

Nobody gets in to see the wizard...not nobody...not no how!

Nobody gets in to see the wizard...not nobody...not no how!

(post #80009, reply #19 of 57)

Thanks for the advice.

(post #80009, reply #3 of 57)

I was changing out an outlet/receptical one time and so I didnt have to go down the basement and find the right breaker I just touched the black and white wires together. I figured that the breaker was tripped and  I could continue, what a surprise! Breaker didnt trip and I got zapped. 


EDIT; I know this is a bad pratice so I'm not advocating it's use!!!


I repeated my effort to trip the breaker with the black and white wires and could not do it. Found out the breaker was indeed faulty.


Doug


Edited 11/7/2007 10:21 pm ET by DougU

(post #80009, reply #20 of 57)

Thanks for the tip Doug.

(post #80009, reply #4 of 57)

You need to read the voltage with a VOM. Those little neon testers will get you hurt some day.


As someone suggested, pull the wire off the breaker. Then read the voltage with a meter.


 


Dave

(post #80009, reply #21 of 57)

This weekend I am going to buy a few I read about in a FHB article by an electrician.  I have put it off too long.  We all need to be reminded sometime.


Thank you

(post #80009, reply #5 of 57)

Slightly off topic...

I was working in a 200A Square D box, new construction. Had maybe 12 circuits run and I was adding a few more breakers to the box.

Turned the main breaker off, the utility lighting circuit in the basement went dark, but I had by trusty battery powered light to guide me, so I started to work.

After a bit I realized that I was still enjoying the rock station that was coming from a boom box upstairs...which was plugged into an outlet...that should be dead.

Hmmm.

A little investigating showed that when the main breaker was turned off, one leg remained hot. So half the circuits in the house were still hot.

Called Square D, they sent a guy out. Bad main breaker. When thrown, sometimes the whole box would go dead, other times it wouldn't. He gave me a replacement box.

I pulled the meter and swapped out the box, then popped the meter back in.

I've always been pretty careful when working in a box. No tools on the shelf, one hand in the box at a time. The good news is safe practices help you when you don't think you need help, but maybe you do!

Oh the joys!

Mongo


There are 10 kinds of people in this world; those who understand binary and those who do not.


(post #80009, reply #22 of 57)

Thanks for the story and I glad you realized the situation.

(post #80009, reply #6 of 57)

"the tester's light dimmed slowly to off."


Ya didn't wait till all the electrzity drained outta the wires. Open all the other switches first..(G)


Spheramid Enterprises Architectural Woodworks


"If you want something you've never had, do something you've never done"

www.richmondrenovationsandrestoration.com  

(post #80009, reply #8 of 57)

LOL


Yeah, and it helps if you unscrew a light bulb on the second floor and leave that switch on too. :-)


Jim


Never underestimate the value of a sharp pencil or good light.

Never underestimate the value of a sharp pencil or good light.

(post #80009, reply #9 of 57)

Ya didn't wait till all the electrzity drained outta the wires. Open all the other switches first..(G)


Maybe he should have plugged it with a piece of white bread...:)

(post #80009, reply #10 of 57)

I am with you and Duane...should have opened some of the other switches down the line.  Geometric pressure being what it is...or was the atmospheric, not sure.

(post #80009, reply #11 of 57)

I'm with Piffin on this one, had a similar experience in a house built in the mid 70's.  I went in to do a remod and found that there was one circuit that couldn't be turned off until I switched two breakers off.  I had a dickens of a time tracing it down. 

(post #80009, reply #13 of 57)

>> Ya didn't wait till all the electrzity drained outta the wires. Open all the other switches first..(G)


That won't work unless the wires are sloped towards the downstream switches and outlets!

(post #80009, reply #14 of 57)

You can't get all of it out if there's a knot in the tube.

(post #80009, reply #15 of 57)

Knot and tube wiring? Are they still making that stuff? <G>

'Man who say it cannot be done should not interrupt man doing it' ~ Chinese proverb

(post #80009, reply #26 of 57)

What if he used aa maagnet to pull it out?

;)

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #80009, reply #23 of 57)

Thanks, I'll give it more time to "drain" next time.

(post #80009, reply #7 of 57)

I was setting up top demo a room once and turned the breakers off servicing it - I thought.

Turns out that somebody had done rewireing a few times in the past and there was a tie in to another circuit oming from another location

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #80009, reply #17 of 57)

Thanks for the advice.

(post #80009, reply #24 of 57)

I guess with electicity I better check three times before I attempt once.  Thanks for the story.

(post #80009, reply #12 of 57)

housenut1


  I had the same thing happen to me. Only I grabbed a hold of a wire that I had actually pulled the circuit breaker out of the box  In turn it grabbed me back and wouldn't let me let go..  220 volt 30 amp circuit!   I was in the rain standing on a the cast iron drain.  What saved me was the rain.. I was soaking wet from head to toe and the path of least resistance didn't go thru my heart.  I was on that wire for a long time (in electrical terms  maybe a little over a minute)  before I could force my knee to buckle and my own weight dragged me off the line.  Turned out the circuit was back fed.

(post #80009, reply #16 of 57)

Glad you're still here to reply and thank you.

(post #80009, reply #25 of 57)

Housenut1


 I'm glad as well <GRIN!> the alternative isn't a pleasant thought.. please don't try this at home I'm not a trained professional and your results will vary..

(post #80009, reply #27 of 57)

To test the breaker just touch one leed of your tester to the ground bar and the other to the screw clamp on the load side of the breaker.Turn the breaker off if you still have power on your tester then you have a bad breaker.

(post #80009, reply #28 of 57)

Something similar happened to me recently...was replacing a hall light fixture and had the switch turned off; checked that th switch leg was dead (hot to the light was off).. So ...felt safe enough to rewire the new light w/out flipping the breaker..The light was also a j-box for all of the hall wiring, and I pulled apart the neutral bundle to tie in the neutral of the new light---and got ZAPPED by one of the junctioned neutrals!! I metered the wire and found it had 120V relative to ground..Say what? .. Something back-feeding through the neutral?, I thought...But it was tied together with all the other neutrals when I opened it up! I tapped it back into the bundle of neutrals and it arced a tiny bit, but went right back into the matrix! I just wire-nutted everything back together like it was before and pretended everything was normal. New light worked fine..Have no idea what that was all about..

Can anyone explain that?

(post #80009, reply #29 of 57)

you accidently opened a neutral that is shared with another live circuit.

you MUST be very careful around neutrals when doing your own electrical work with limited experience

.
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.
., wer ist jetzt der Idiot ?
. . .

. . . . . . . .

(post #80009, reply #30 of 57)

>>you accidently opened a neutral that is shared with another live circuit.

Huh?

can you explain that in technical terms?

I didn't "accidently" open the neutral; I untied the bundle of neutrals so that I could remove the neutral lead to the light fixture. One of the 'neutrals' then turned 'hot'...How does this happen?