None of the outlets or lights in my bedroom work. My non-contact tester shows the outlets are hot. My three lamp tester shows no juice reaching the outlets ( no lights light up when it's plugged in). Nothing will turn on when I plug it in either. What could cause this? I've tested both testers on known power sources and they appear to be fine.

  • Your light tester probably requires something close to 120v. You may have a low voltage condition for one reason or another. Do you have any actual voltage readings?
    – isherwood
    Jan 4, 2017 at 19:32
  • I had problems with non-contact testers, but I only paid like $15 for it. Same deal, I was doing some new runs and got false reads on it when I know the line was dead because I connected myself and hadn't plugged it into panel yet.
    – ecco88
    Jan 4, 2017 at 19:34
  • It doesn't show "no juice", it shows not enough for it to operate. Since these are cheapie "pass-fail" testers, with no real insight into their internal workings, this sort of reading is "par for the course": it's telling you "fail", which you already knew. Jan 4, 2017 at 19:59
  • Have you checked the breakers and checked for any GFCI outlets in line with your bedroom wiring? Is this a new problem? Details, please. Jan 4, 2017 at 20:44
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    I believe this could also be caused by a common or neutral wire that has a break in it. The non-contact tester would show the voltage on the hot, but you wouldn't have a complete circuit to measure with a lamp or contact tester.
    – JPhi1618
    Jan 4, 2017 at 21:32

1 Answer 1


Non contact testers work by identifying an electrical field. The wiring normally is run in close proximity and the live wires induce a voltage that can be detected by the non contact tester but there is no potential or current available so the lighted tester will not light. This is normal and quite common I have more expensive Fluke testers and very cheap ones and they all work the same. You can duplicate this with 2 extension cords plug 1 in and put another one not plugged in next to the first. The larger the load on the plugged in cord the larger the field will be on the cord that is not plugged in but many times no load is needed to induce the field in just a few feet. (this is how transformers work but they have many wraps of wire to develop the potential).
Have you checked your circuit breakers? if the handle is partially tripped it needs to be moved to the off position then back to the on position to reset it. it is also possible that the circuit is protected by A GFCI device that has tripped other than a failed electrical connection.

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