Basic Electricity

Discussion in 'Politics' started by aphexcoil, Jul 1, 2003.

  1. Well we've been doing a lot of upgrades to our new place. Let me just say this much:

    If you're going to do a lot of stuff with outlets, switches, etc -- don't think that the white wire is really always neutral.

    Today I got the shock of my life when I replaced an outlet that was controlled with a switch. I figured if I turned the swith off, it would turn the outlet off (which it does when something is plugged in).

    When I took the outlet out, I saw one red wire on the HOT side and three white wires on the neutral side. I was perplexed why there were three neutral wires, so I just said, "oh well" and proceeded to do my thing.

    Well, I undid all the wires and started to put the wires on the new outlet.

    Guess what -- white wires can be hot, too.

    120 volts in one hand and out the other. WOW! Talk about a reality check. My thumb and index finger were sore for an hour.

    What a shock.
  2. Was it a socket that can be controlled by more than one switch? Or maybe an outlet where only one of the two sockets is controlled by a switch?

    In general, you need a hot lead sensor or a voltage meter to check the wires regardless. There's a lot of good work out there, but there's also a lot of sloppy (not just electrical) work out there too. So you have to be on guard. You can also end up with a colored wire that you don't expect if you're dealing with a pigtail or if you have a multi-way wiring scheme or perhaps if you've got an older mixed outlet.

    Always a good idea to do a quick check or hot lead sweep in any event and unless you're very confident about the state of things turn off the circuit breaker while you're working on it - also a good idea to where insulated soles and gloves if you can, just in case.
  3. Shocking...oh!..really bad.

    aphex, when did you become a moderator?
  4. balda


    when two "Hot" lines share same "Neutral" it is totally legal.
    So this is what happened, when all white wires connected together it will register zero reading on your tester but when you take white wires apart : one white wire is still 'Neutral" any other wires can be "Hot" because you break "Neutral" line further, and if there is another appliance plugged in down the line "White" wire than is disconnected will bring electricity through that appliance backwards.
    In other wards draw a circle and pretend that upper line is HOT and lower is Neutral, in the middle light bulb. break "neutral" in the middle and through the bulb electricity will be at the other end of Neutral wire.

    hope that helps.
  5. That is exactly what it was. If you break the path of a neutral, one of the wires will want to go to ground -- even if you are the path. *ouch*
  6. Two weeks ago or so.
  7. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say goodbye to everyone...Goodbye...with alphie as moderator I am sure to be on the out and out, sob, long live alphie - death to rlb21079:(

    just jokes, good luck and godspeed aphexcoil, you have your work cut out for you
  8. nitro



    Something smells like it's burngin in here?