Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Carpe Diem
Joined
·
20,714 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Did a kitchen remodel about a year ago. Customer called and wanted the mini pendants changed out. I ordered the new ones and went to install them.

Let me back up a second and say my electrician is awesome. Never had a single problem with him AND this house passed inspection...

Took down the 3 pendants and installed the new ones. Simple. Turned the power back on and now NONE of the lights work. WTF????

Took me about 3 hours but I figured it out. The circuit didn't have a neutral hooked up!!!! There was a home run to a 4-gang box and somewhere along the way, the neutral was missed. My question is how did the lights work in the first place?
 

·
I own stock in FotoMat!
Joined
·
12,611 Posts
Original installation was using the ground as a neutral?
 

·
Carpe Diem
Joined
·
20,714 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Conduit installation.

Neutral that was supposed to be for kitchen lighting was incorrectly connected to the dining room circuit. And not even on the correct phase either.
 

·
I own stock in FotoMat!
Joined
·
12,611 Posts
I don't get it.

How does a neutral have a phase?

What was the original fixture's white wire connected to?
 

·
Carpe Diem
Joined
·
20,714 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK, I'm NOT an electrician so my description is probably wrong.

I assume a phase is either side of the panel. If I'm wrong, sorry.

The kitchen light breaker was on the left of the panel. The dining room on the right. The neutral that was supposed to be for the kitchen was connected to the dining room circuit and was connected to the right side neutral bar of the panel. I was under the impression that if a circuit was on the left of the panel, the neutral needed to be connected to the neutral bar on the same side. That's why I hire an electrician. ;)

Regardless, I'm wondering how the kitchen lighting worked if there was no neutral hooked to it. And furthermore, why it stopped working when all I did was change 3 lights, wire for wire.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
428 Posts
no neutral

We had an incident a few years ago where this lady lost power to three rooms in ranch. After about 5 hrs we figured out that someone wired the feed to the light in hall first and ran the neutral in series. with light. So, essentially everthing was fine until the bulb burned out about 1 yr after the house was built. Just like a xmas tree. That job I"ll always remember .
 

·
I own stock in FotoMat!
Joined
·
12,611 Posts
............I assume a phase is either side of the panel. If I'm wrong, sorry. ..............
Not busting ya here, but it is (generally speaking) wrong. "Phases", or 'legs' alternate in rows. The top two breakers are one phase, the next two down are the opposite phase. If it's a single-phase panel, the next row would be the same as the top. If it's a three-phase panel, the next row is the third phase.

So a single phase panel would be
A-A
B-B
A-A
B-B
A-A
B-B....

A three-phase panel would be
A-A
B-B
C-C
A-A
B-B
C-C........

There are some old 1-ph panels that do have all one phase on one the right and all the other phases on the left, but they're few and far between.

The only thing I can think of is while you were moving the wires around in a box, something (the neutral you needed) came loose.
 

·
Carpe Diem
Joined
·
20,714 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So a single phase panel would be
A-A
B-B
A-A
B-B
A-A
B-B....

A three-phase panel would be
A-A
B-B
C-C
A-A
B-B
C-C........
Thanks for the education!

I was just happy I fixed it.

The necessary neutral was run to the 4 gang box from the panel but was not hooked to the neutral (white wire) going to the kitchen lighting. It was instead, hooked to the dining room leg. I figured this out by retracing how the electrical was run originally. Luckily for me, my electrician had the wire pairs taped together when they left the panel and when they appeared in the box. Once I figured out which colored wires went to what, I found there was no neutral from the panel hooked to the neutral going to the lights. When I fixed that, lights all worked!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
917 Posts
This happened to me yesterday, I'm changing out a front door in a rental unit and plug my compressor into the living room outlet. Turn the compressor on, nothing except the living room light comes on and the dining room light dims. It had been one of those days and I had already experienced the old blown-in attic insulation so this new problem went immeadetly into the not my problem file :no:. Owners problem :thumbsup:
 

·
Carpe Diem
Joined
·
20,714 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Then my question would be, Why were YOU doing an electrical service call?
Easy there. Changing a light fixture is not a specialty service.
The question was why didn't the electrician or inspector catch it and how it even worked hooked up incorrectly in the first place.
 

·
Fentoozler
Joined
·
5,623 Posts
The question was why didn't the electrician or inspector catch it and how it even worked hooked up incorrectly in the first place.

That's 2 questions...I'll pick the one I want to answer:

The question was why didn't the ..... inspector catch it and how it even worked hooked up incorrectly in the first place.


Where does it say anything must actually work? :whistling
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top