My wife bought some new wall sconces for the house and asked me to install them. I'm not an electrician (obviously) but this seemed like something I could handle. So I switched them out, following proper safety precautions, wiring the new ones analogously to the old ones, and they illuminated. Cool!
While we were at it, she says, lets put the old sconces in the hallway in these mysterious electrical boxes behind the hanging picture frames that are apparently wired but we've never used for anything. Sure, why not? Eight hours later I've partially reverse engineered the electrical schematics for the upstairs of my house, the new sconces aren't working, the original sconces aren't working, and a significant sub-circuit in my home no isn't getting any power. Let that be a lesson to you. If it's not broken, don't fix it.
So it turns out I've got an electrical box in my old (i.e. "has character") home and there are two cables coming into it (well probably one coming in and one coming out to be precise). The cables each contain two-conductors (I presumed a live and a neutral). For the purposes of discussion, let the conductors in the first cable be A and B, and let the conductors in the second cable be C and D. I believe, before I took things apart, that conductors A and C were wire-nutted together and conductors B and D were wire-nutted together in the junction box.
I couldn't be sure which of these wires were lives and which ones were neutrals, so I got out the multi-meter and took some measurements. I wasn't 100% sure what to expect. I mean sticking the two probes of the multimeter into a known working two prong (most of the house isn't grounded) electrical socket, something I advise against doing on a regular basis, I measured 120VAC (which is what I would have expected, being in the USA and all).
What I actually measured makes no sense to me - but what do I know... My question is, what are the implications of the following measurements taken in the electrical box?
- Between A and B: ~18VAC
- Between A and C: ~65VAC
- Between A and D: ~65VAC
- Between B and C: ~ 0VAC
- Between B and D: ~65VAC
- Between C and D: ~ 0VAC
I didn't measure these before I started this wiring odyssey unfortunately... but I can't make heads or tails out of these measurements - I don't see 120VAC between any two of them... what does that mean?