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I'm trying to figure out what is wrong with the wiring going to my replacement garage outdoor fixture. I'm replacing an old burned out fixture and i just moved in so I don't know if it was bad to begin with. My issue is that the fixture only works when neutral is connected to ground which I know is wrong. I have 120v to the hot wire. What do I need to check to see how to fix it?

Thanks Ken

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    Sounds like you have an open neutral. How old is the construction? There was an era of switched neutral , maybe you haven't found the switch? – Tyson Jan 3 '17 at 2:11
  • What type of wire is the circuit run using? – ThreePhaseEel Jan 3 '17 at 2:29
  • It was built in 1999 and is using 12/3 however...the switch controlling the light has 12/4 going to it like it was planned as a 3 way and when it gets to the fixture it is back to 12/3 so I'm not sure whats going on. – Ken Gaal Jan 3 '17 at 2:40
  • That's way too new for my comment above. – Tyson Jan 3 '17 at 2:45
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    How is the switch wired? What voltage do you get at the light between wires? Should be 120V hot-neutral, 120V hot-ground, and 0V neutral-ground -- if it isn't, do this test at the switch as well. Also if I'm understanding, you have just a single 12/4 at the switch, but a 12/3 at the light -- so there must be a junction somewhere in between. You need to find that and verify the wiring there too. Right now sounds to me like it's miswired at the switch or (currently unknown) junction box. – gregmac Jan 3 '17 at 4:52
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it turned out to be a loose neutral in a junction box. the second problem was they ran 12/4 from the switch box to the junction box and used the red wire as the second hot wire I'm guessing to save money and be cheap and this was done during construction so that made isolating and troubleshooting it more difficult.

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It sounds like an open neutral. There is no return path for the circuit until you connect the neutral to the ground wire and the current returns on the ground wire. It could be a disconnected wire in the service panel, a disconnected wire in a junction box between the light fixture and the service panel, a broken wire in the wall somewhere, etc.

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