I have two electrical outlets in a bedroom that are not working. When I open them up, the black wire tests hot and the white wire tests cold (neutral), (There's no green(ground) wire (old house) ) The black(hot) wire is connected to the copper side screws and the white(neutral) wire is connected to the silver screw side on the outlet. But, the outlet does not work. Bought a new outlet connected it and it still does not work. I've worked with electricity a lot, (even installed a main panel box), but this problem stumps me. Any ideas?
Curious, Pry, how you determined this: I'm wondering whether you used a voltmeter or actually attached a load of some sort. In the former case a voltage reading (esp if slightly lower than expected) might signify capacitive coupling; in which case the application of even the slightest load will cause it to drop to zero
Very Interesting! How would/could I determine whether the neutral(white) wire is a true supply neutral? The white wire comes from the top of the outlet box, loops around the screw(silver) and returns upward (probably to the junction box in the ceiling light. The fuse box is nearby in the hall, but has many while wires on the bus. Thanks.
I'm using a Klein Tools voltage meter. Someone has suggested that the white wire might just be a dead(disconnected) wire and not a true return neutral. Does this sound feasible to you? How would I troubleshoot this? Thanks.
Look for disconnected neutral at junction box on way to breaker box or at breaker box. Or get an electrician.
Fri 30 Oct, 2015 07:30 am
1) Kill the breaker and put a locking device on it
1a) Make sure the breaker is open
2) Have someone else make sure the breaker is open
3) Measure the voltage at the outlet to see that it is zero.
4) Tie the white and black wires together at the outlet
5) Measure the resistance at the breaker. It should be practically zero. If it is not, you have a break somewhere.
6) Untie the white and black wires.
How would/could I determine whether the neutral(white) wire is a true supply neutral?
Pry that's really a good q. Assuming there's no additional malfunction to mess up our observations. set ohmmeter to low range to determine resistance between the questionable wire and the supposed neutral at another outlet. I'd expect to find it slightly lower than comparing it to "ground," usu green. However this might give misleading results in some areas, esp after rain so isn't conclusive
Another: Connecting voltmeter (again set at low range) between ground and the q conductor, introduce an ac current by applying a load of some sort. If there's a slight increase in the reading, then your q must truly be neutral not ground
But maybe the guys really good at electricity know an even easier way