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broadbill 10-02-2010 09:55 AM

Could wire be bad?
Hi everyone;

I'm trying to track down the solution to an electrical problem and not having much luck.

We have two exterior lights on the front of the garage that stopped working recently. Thinking they just died (the motion sensing panels degraded and we assumed water got in and fried them) we figured it would be a good time to replace/upgrade.

In taking off the old lights, I realized that the line going to the lights wasn't hot in the first place (so maybe the lights were not dead after all). However, there still appears to be power coming through the switch that controls those lights inside the house. There is nothing between the switch and the light other than a straight run of wire (as far as I know).

Can the wire go bad? House was built in 2004 and the wire is the standard Romex stuff.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance...

kok328 10-02-2010 10:41 AM

Two probable possibilities are:
Romex is solid core wire and it can break under the wire nut.
The other possiblity is you have a bad switch.

broadbill 10-02-2010 10:55 AM

Thanks for the quick response. Unfortunately, I think its something else than either a break under a wire nut or a bad switch.

The only place where there are wire nuts (that i know of) is at the light connection. There is no power when I check the wires themselves. When I took the light off, there was some wire corrosion on the hot/black wire....I even cut that wire back to expose fresh wire and still no power.

The switches also look to be working properly. There is power coming into the switch and power going out when the switch is in the "on" position. Is there something else I can check with regard to the switch?


Blue Jay 10-02-2010 06:01 PM

How are you checking for voltage threw the switch? With a DVM? and to what point? With a DVM and no load on the circuit it could show voltage with a high joint in line. If you are checking to ground the neutral could be open.

broadbill 10-03-2010 11:13 AM

I'm checking the voltage with a light-tester and not a DVM, checking it from hot to neutral.

On second thought, Is it possible that the the switch is bad but there is enough voltage for the light-tester to light up but not enough for the garage light at the end of the line? (which would explain the results I'm seeing).

Might just throw a new switch in there and see what happens...

hornetd 10-06-2010 08:48 PM

Did you ever solve this problem? If yes what was the cause?
Tom Horne

broadbill 10-18-2010 02:41 PM

Thanks for checking in and yes I did solve the problem....turns out a severe storm caused the light fixtures to be damaged so it wasn't a problem with the wire/switch at all. It was also hard to diagnose the problem as I had some issues with seeing the voltmeter light in the bright sunshine on that side of the house.

Thanks for everyone's help!

Albert_23 10-26-2010 08:39 PM

I'm glad to know it's not as complicated as originally thought.

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