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A little back-ground -

I'm in India living in an old old old house; some of the wiring dates to the 1920s. Apparently back in those days the power-house supplied residences as 1 - phase Light, 1-phase power; that is to say heavy-draw appliances (anything provided with a 3-pin plug) were on a circuit other than light/fan/appliance (anything with a 2-pin plug) with it's own meter. After electricity generation, transmission & distribution was nationalized, a decision was implemented to coalesce light/power meters into a single one. Apparently this change did not require any major change in residential wiring. All this pre-dates my birth, and adolescence i.e. I do not know what changes were made, if any.

The problem -

A couple of rooms are dead. I checked the boards with a simple tester (one equipped with an element that glows when in contact with the live line). The tester glows at both 2-pin sockets in either case. I've spoken with an electrician. His recommendation, perhaps well-intended, is to rip out all the wiring and replace it. Circumstances preclude this option. What I can do is go at it one room at a time but it must necessarily be on my own wing, and at my own pace.

My questions -

  • Is this type of problem (both points in a socket live as against 1 live + 1 neutral) called 'broken neutral'?
  • How does one localise the fault? The wires run concealed through wooden channels covered by more wood. The channels are isolated from the wall itself by porcelain stand-offs.
    • Is there something like a flow-chart for electrical fault-finding I may use to locate the problem? I promise to be careful (+:
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