Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Hot/Neutral Reversed and 4way

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    2

    Default Hot/Ground reversed and 4way

    I "know" the very basics of wiring and probably just enough to get myself into trouble. I have a house(new to me) that was built in the early 90's with a few additions to the electrical. There are a few things that seem odd to me as far as what is connected to what but right now is the least of my concerns. I've searched through the forums but haven't seen exactly what I need.

    I was using a vacuum in what I have come to learn is probably the last outlet in a circuit that is primarily overhead light fixtures. The outlet stopped working and I smelled an electrical smell so I assumed the outlet was bad. I replaced the outlet and it still didn't work. I then figured out the light fixture in a half bath and foyer where also not working but the previous light in the circuit is working. That fixture is controlled by a 4way.

    The problems I am having are: The replaced outlet reads hot/ground reversed. The 4way seems to be different then every diagram and description I can find.

    The first switch has red(light screw), black(dark screw) and white(hot), another switch is a dimmer and has black(hot) and red, and the last switch has two red(neutral) and a white(hot). The white and red(dark screw) come from one line and the other red goes to another line. The white from the second line goes to a wirenut which has two or three other white wires attached. With the last switch there are three other switches that control a light and celling fan that are in a three season room that was added after the house was built.

    I've checked all the wires in at the last working junction and the ones not working. I've taken them out of the push in and moved them to the screws.

    Any thought would be appreciated.
    Last edited by Bryan_F; 01-26-2015 at 12:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    233

    Default

    First question - is the outlet you were using to vacuum (and is now dead) controlled by the 4-way switch?
    Second question - when you got the hot/neutral reverse, was there something plugged into the other half of the outlet (e.g. the vacuum cleaner with its switch on)?
    In the last switch box with all the whites in a wire nut -- did you undo that nut and make sure all the white were making good contact (e.g. twist together) and the twist the wire nut back on tightly?
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thanks for the reply Mark. The problem at the outlet is hot/ground not hot/neutral which I mistakenly wrote(I corrected the original post).

    The outlet is not controlled by the four way and nothing else was plugged into it.

    I have disconnected all the switches and changed them from the push-in to the screws. I've unscrewed all the wire nuts and reattached them. I've done the same for the fixture the 4way switch controls, the ceiling fan and light, and another fixture controlled by one of the adjacent switches.

    And now I figured out where the problem was; or at least the cause of my original problem. I found a melted wirenut in a fixture in a room that I thought was on a different circuit.

    Now the question I'm left with was why did it melt. There was only the vacuum and one of the fixtures on at the time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Welland Ontario
    Posts
    415

    Default

    A hot ground reversed is often a false indication of an open neutral. Was the nut on a white wire?

    The reason is melted is a poor connection. Perhaps the nut wasn't twisted on tight enough. It's hard say for sure. But a loose connection will generate heat. Them ore current you draw the heat will be generated. As the connection heats and cools over many uses it gets worse and heats more. Eventually it burnt.
    Operation Overlord.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    233

    Default

    A vacuum cleaner is usually a fairly heavy load (typically 12 amps). This will help find your bad connections by heating them up and making them fail. Tracking those down is easier when you have a map of the wires in your house, and that map is much easier to create when everything is working.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-15-2015, 01:25 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •