Ask Experts Questions for FREE Help !
    patcadillac's Avatar
    patcadillac Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Dec 8, 2010, 06:45 PM
    No power to 7 outlets, breaker stays on, & tester reads open neutral
    This is an 1968 house with AL wiring. All of the outlets are new and AL compatible with anti-oxidizer paste. Starting with the first box, I pig tailed each neutral (white) wire together to see if I had a bad outlet. I went from box to box and when I came to the last box, the tester still read open neutral! This run has no switches or lights, only outlets. I also made sure that no bare ground wire was in contact with a neutral connection. All connections are tight. How can I be sure if I don't have a bad outlet, and if that's even the problem? Just replaced the breaker as well. So I am at a complete loss! Thanks in advance.
    EPMiller's Avatar
    EPMiller Posts: 624, Reputation: 37
    Senior Member

    Dec 8, 2010, 07:21 PM

    If your problem showed up in the outlet box closest (electrically) to the panel, then your problem is most likely in the main panel. Or maybe there is a junction somewhere on the neutral in that home run that is bad. A bad neutral will show 120v to ground anywhere "downstream" (farther away from the panel) of the break. I have found more open neutrals right at the neutral bar in the panel than any other single location (like back of an outlet or wire nut). Even if the conductor is in the hole in the bar, if it isn't tight it can cause the problem. Too many conductors under one screw will easily do it.

    <rant> The ones that make me mad are when both the neutral and ground conductor are under the same screw. You loose both at the same time that way with no safety left. If only those perpetrators would be the ones that get the zap! NEVER put neutrals and grounds under the same screw. </rant>
    Missouri Bound's Avatar
    Missouri Bound Posts: 1,533, Reputation: 94
    Ultra Member

    Dec 8, 2010, 09:34 PM

    You mentioned "tester" Exactly what type of tester are you using? Did you do some re-wiring which made this happen?
    How does a 42 year old house have new receptales? By pigtailing the wires you effectively bypass any bad receptacle. I'd suspect a break in the wire between the panel and the first connection, whether it be the first outlet or a junction box. But start at the panel, with due caution of course. One more thing... are you sure the breaker is good? IF you aren't using a multimeter you probably aren't getting the whole story.
    Stratmando's Avatar
    Stratmando Posts: 11,188, Reputation: 508
    Uber Member

    Dec 9, 2010, 06:58 AM

    If the neutral had been in contact with ground, although incorrect, Your tester would not show a problem as both are at the same potential.
    I would check the neutral at the panel as mentioned. You can tell which neutral by turning off breakers/pull fuses to find which is that circuit, then follow that hot, and see which neutral goes with it. Check the connection.
    I would check the outlet closest to the Panel, if a wire is nicked while stripping it can break while twisting together and go unnoticed.
    You could separate the grounds, then with a tester, check for power between the hot and ground, which ever has power, is the first one.
    Over the years of heat/cold, the aluminum can get brittle.
    Good luck
    patcadillac's Avatar
    patcadillac Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Dec 9, 2010, 10:26 AM
    Thanks for your answers!
    patcadillac's Avatar
    patcadillac Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Dec 9, 2010, 10:27 AM
    Comment on patcadillac's post
    Think I'm going to have to call an electrician.

Not your question? Ask your question View similar questions


Question Tools Search this Question
Search this Question:

Advanced Search

Add your answer here.

Check out some similar questions!

Do I have an open neutral or a bad breaker? [ 2 Answers ]

Trying to give you as much info as possible for troubleshooting purposes. Here's what happened, what I've tried, and where I'm at: So for Halloween I put on a nice little light show for the trick or treaters. I had a few too many lights hooked up because after about 10 minutes, breaker 7B...

Open neutral in wall outlets [ 1 Answers ]

The other day I plugged my cell phone charger into my bathroom outlet, it was charging all night and when I woke up that moring my phone was ringing while still plugged in and the wall outlet was making a noise like something was sparking in the outlet. So I got a wall outlet tester that test for...

Breaker shows power but no power to outlets [ 1 Answers ]

I have a breaker that is showing power coming out but all outets and equipment on this circuit are dead how do I find the problem?

Open Neutral Condition on two outlets [ 2 Answers ]

I recently changed some outlets in the upstairs bedroom. On this circuit there are a number of lights throughout the house, outlets in the bedroom, and two outlets on the main floor. The issue is now with the two outlets on the main floor - niether work. And both are giving me an open...

Electrical wall outlets showing open neutral [ 1 Answers ]

Same as Mike 306. I have three outlets that show open neutral. There are no other reset buttons other than the breaker. Which was not tripped. I pulled the outlet that my wife and girls was using prier to the outlet going out. I could not see a problem. So I replaced the breaker and it still showed...

View more questions Search