Electrician Talk banner

1 - 20 of 37 Posts

·
IEATSOCKS
Joined
·
391 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I work in a 23 story building that will soon be open, it's a hotel and I was checking the lights in the stairway. My foreman before me was troubleshooting it as we kept having a dead short. Well he figured it out and had me do up all the splices in the stairway from the 14th floor down. Now looking down I notice the 5th floor down was lit, but between the 6th thru 14th nothing was on. I took my tick tester and checked and oddly enough saw that I was getting power on the neutral as well as the hot. I went down to the 5th floor and traced it up to a splice I had just made up on the 6th floor. And somehow my tick tester was telling me I had power on the neutral, so I cut both the neutral and the hot and redid it. Still had trouble went back up to the splice on 14 and ended up walking up and down trying to figure out the problem. Ended up calling my foreman an hour later and telling him I need some help with this so he told me to come down. I seriously felt pissed at myself for not being able to figure it out, but for the life of me I seriously don't know what the heck is wrong.

I wasn't sure if it was my tick tester not working properly or am I just not thinking things through properly. At a few points I even checked the ground which was not attached to anything and that too was giving me a sound indicating power, heck I even tested a third wire which I know for certain was not hooked to anything and yet that too was giving me a signal. I honestly felt like ripping my hair out my head that I just couldn't figure the damn thing out ! And ideas ?
 

·
Questioner of Authority
Joined
·
880 Posts
Volt pens aren't really for troubleshooting, more for half ass hoping you don't get shocked.
Divide and conquer, Take a splice apart on the 10th floor, and if the fed side works, divide the non working side. If it doesn't work, divide the fed side. Repeat several times.
What wiring method? EMT? MC? Tripping the breaker?
My guess is one of 2 things, something pinched in a light, or poor wirenutting. Need more info.
 

·
IEATSOCKS
Joined
·
391 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Volt pens aren't really for troubleshooting, more for half ass hoping you don't get shocked.
Divide and conquer, Take a splice apart on the 10th floor, and if the fed side works, divide the non working side. If it doesn't work, divide the fed side. Repeat several times.
What wiring method? EMT? MC? Tripping the breaker?
My guess is one of 2 things, something pinched in a light, or poor wirenutting. Need more info.
It's temp lights tied in series from the top down, the feed was cut from 14 up as that was where the dead short was coming from. From 14 down I was re-splicing what was taken apart. Not sure about the poor wire nutting I was thinking perhaps a bad pig tail, I went through every splice i did and made sure it was only the neutral and the hot that was spliced and nothing else. I even traced every one re-spliced and was still unable to find what was wrong. What was getting my really frustrated was the fact that from 5 down was fine, when I went to 6 there were only 2 pair of wires that had to be spliced. I'm hoping that if my foreman could figure it out I could ask him what happened.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,437 Posts
I work in a 23 story building that will soon be open, it's a hotel and I was checking the lights in the stairway. My foreman before me was troubleshooting it as we kept having a dead short. Well he figured it out and had me do up all the splices in the stairway from the 14th floor down. Now looking down I notice the 5th floor down was lit, but between the 6th thru 14th nothing was on. I took my tick tester and checked and oddly enough saw that I was getting power on the neutral as well as the hot. I went down to the 5th floor and traced it up to a splice I had just made up on the 6th floor. And somehow my tick tester was telling me I had power on the neutral, so I cut both the neutral and the hot and redid it. Still had trouble went back up to the splice on 14 and ended up walking up and down trying to figure out the problem. Ended up calling my foreman an hour later and telling him I need some help with this so he told me to come down. I seriously felt pissed at myself for not being able to figure it out, but for the life of me I seriously don't know what the heck is wrong.

I wasn't sure if it was my tick tester not working properly or am I just not thinking things through properly. At a few points I even checked the ground which was not attached to anything and that too was giving me a sound indicating power, heck I even tested a third wire which I know for certain was not hooked to anything and yet that too was giving me a signal. I honestly felt like ripping my hair out my head that I just couldn't figure the damn thing out ! And ideas ?
Use a meter. Stomp on that thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,775 Posts
Yeah, I love tic testers, but I would never dream of using one for troubleshooting. That is a guaranteed wild goose chase. Get voltage tester that gives you a number.
exactly the only thing i use mine for is pre-checking for voltage(even ghost voltage say check with a meter)
thought about using it to stir my coffee but dont like the taste of battery acid:laughing:
all kidding aside lights wired in series will give you fits! if one bulb is bad none of them will light up and you would need to test each one.
parallel lights will stay lit all except the bad one but they will be brighter.
a dead short will kill the entire circuit (tripping the breaker instantly)
it sounds like the OP may have a combo series-parrallel wired light set. this would pose some interesting troubleshooting issues
such as lights working in one place but not another.(but without being there to see it myself i couldn't tell you(the OP) whats going on)
 

·
antisocial group ******
Joined
·
773 Posts
Undead,

Stop being a dirty hippie and get a meter.

I like the fluke 179, but no matter what you get make sure it does not come from radio shack, OK?

Its time you moved on from a tick stick.;)
 

·
IEATSOCKS
Joined
·
391 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Well I do believe the problem at least for the most part has been solved, not sure if it's because of the cold or not but several of the pigtails have been shorting. I just put two up not that long ago under some temporary scaffolding and when I went to splice it in to an existing line the light came on and then quickly went off. Right away I tested the second and than the first light and yet again I had power on the neutral. Talked to the big boss and told him the problem and went ahead replacing the sockets as well as another two that were no good. Put in incadescent lights instead of cfl's and the lights held. :thumbsup:
 

·
IEATSOCKS
Joined
·
391 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Your foreman should of been held to task after you were at a crossroad,puzzled, You probably went up and down 20 storys 20 times.
na not twenty stories I only went up and down 14 flights and only did it twice. I called him after I was about to start throwing crap.

Yeah, I love tic testers, but I would never dream of using one for troubleshooting. That is a guaranteed wild goose chase. Get voltage tester that gives you a number.
Any recommendations ??

Could just be a bad bulb or socket and your wiring is fine
bad socket

exactly the only thing i use mine for is pre-checking for voltage(even ghost voltage say check with a meter)
thought about using it to stir my coffee but dont like the taste of battery acid:laughing:
all kidding aside lights wired in series will give you fits! if one bulb is bad none of them will light up and you would need to test each one.
parallel lights will stay lit all except the bad one but they will be brighter.
a dead short will kill the entire circuit (tripping the breaker instantly)
it sounds like the OP may have a combo series-parrallel wired light set. this would pose some interesting troubleshooting issues
such as lights working in one place but not another.(but without being there to see it myself i couldn't tell you(the OP) whats going on)
They are wired in series-parralell I've had to change the bulbs out before where some were dead and others light but rarely has there been a problem like that.

Undead,

Stop being a dirty hippie and get a meter.

I like the fluke 179, but no matter what you get make sure it does not come from radio shack, OK?

Its time you moved on from a tick stick.;)
I have a meter I just didn't take it with me at the time mainly because all I was told to do at the time was just splice everything back together again. My foreman saw me putting the sockets back and didn't say anything so me thinks he wasn't aware what the problem was either.
 

·
Donuts > Fried Eggs
Joined
·
17,054 Posts
...Any recommendations?
I'm sure there are a lot of good ones, I've always had good luck with Fluke, so while they're pricey, I like any of the "T" series.

But otherwise Ideal Vol-Con testers are dead simple, cheap, workhorse testers. The only one I can't recommend is their electronic "Elite" version because it's too easily fooled by ghost voltages, just like your tic tester.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,082 Posts
I have actually seen guys try to use a volt pen in a 480v control cabinet! Starts going off 2' from the wire. :laughing:

Had to do some work in a substation once and I had one in my pouch that went off constantly the entire time I was there.
 

·
Donuts > Fried Eggs
Joined
·
17,054 Posts
...Had to do some work in a substation once and I had one in my pouch that went off constantly the entire time I was there.
Yeah, we've got high voltage non-contact testers and it makes it real easy to do live-dead-lives with them: "Just start walking towards where the transmission lines come in, you'll know if that thing works."
 

·
Questioner of Authority
Joined
·
880 Posts
combo series-parrallel wired light set

is what I was talking about
Not that this makes a huge difference for everybody, but have you had any legit training? School?
Having a basic knowledge of theory is a HUGE help when you are troubleshooting something.
I'm not trying to call you out or call you stupid, I just get the impression that you don't really have a grasp on what you are trying to find.
 
1 - 20 of 37 Posts
Top