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Socket Problem

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum' started by Stevo90, Dec 5, 2011.

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  1. Stevo90
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    Stevo90 Guest

    Hi guys

    Hope you's may be able to be help me here as i am puzzled.

    I have 2 sockets downstairs and two upstairs not working now, they used to work perfectly and suddenly there seems to be no power going to them. I also think one of the sockets upstairs has borrowed a neutral from the one directly below downstairs. I have put my test lamps across live + neutral which shows no voltage present but tells me theres a potential for it to be live ........ any ideas ?


    Cheers
     
  2. Hawk81
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    Hawk81 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    Have you checked all fuses/mcbs are ok/on?
     
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  3. stuart569
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    stuart569 Regular EF Member

    A socket with a borrowed neutral?That's a new one for me.Is it a ring circuit?You need to isolate all the socket circuits and then start buzzing out and finding out exactly the way this has been wired.Remember and check each socket is dead before starting!Are you a spark?
     
  4. Specialist
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    Specialist Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    South Wales
    Please explain: "Tells me there's a potential for it to be live" ??
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  5. Richard Burns
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    Richard Burns Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Business Name:
    Richard Burns
    If hawk81's suggestion is not supported then it sounds like a radial circuit with a broken conductor somewhere. Possibly one of the conductors has broken off at the socket before or at the first downstairs socket that is not working. Switch off the power and undo the socket face plate for the first non working circuit and the one before that in the circuit and check that the cables have not broken off or become detached from the terminals.
     
  6. stuart569
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    stuart569 Regular EF Member

    To be fair if you have to ask how to find this fault you do not have enough experience/knowledge to be undertaking this work.Is it your own home?If so then if you feel up to it go ahead but if not I would get your journeyman in for a look.He/she would most likely find the fault in no time
     
  7. Murdoch
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    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    Without wishing to teach you to suck eggs what test kit and skills do you have?
     
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  8. trev
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    trev Regular EF Member

    1 Have you checked all fuses have not blown or MCBs tripped?
    2 What test lamps are you using and how does it indicate a "potential to be live" The handle on our living room door has the potential to be live but it's unlikely it ever will be (unless the kids decide to collect on the insurance:) )
    3 What makes you think there's a borrowed neutral? In 28 years since my apprenticeship I've not come across a borrowed neutral on a socket circuit
    4 Are you knowledgeable enough to be poking around a socket circuit? Remember, the electric chair operated on 10 amps
     
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  9. Stevo90
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    Stevo90 Guest

    Right guys am an apprenice,
    All mcbs are switched on
    2. Test equipment i am using : Di-log6780 test lamps.
    3. The reason i think theres a borrowed neutral is that there was a missing neutral indicating on my martindale from the skt upstairs, i went to change the skt downstairs and noticed a neutral had fell out its connection and once connected skts started working upstairs.
    4.All connections are secure in each skt's terminal.

    I thought that the conductor may have snapped in the circuit in the wall somewhere but i thought this may be unlikely at first.....
     
  10. stuart569
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    stuart569 Regular EF Member

    That just means that all or some of the sockets upstairs are on same circuit as the socket you replaced the neutral in downstairs.You should test that circuit correctly to make sure there are no other faults!!
     
  11. Specialist
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    Specialist Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    South Wales
    OK so if the sockets started working upstairs then what does'nt work ? As for the conductor snapping in the wall, unless the wall has been drilled or disturbed / damaged then that wont happen. Still dont understand the POTENTIAL TO BE LIVE bit.
    If your an apprentice Electrician then it may be a good idea to get the Sparkie your working with to go through testing the circuit with you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  12. Stevo90
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    Stevo90 Guest

    All 4 are not working anymore, they all suddenly just stopped working. The voltage indicator on my test lamps is lit up... thought that may mean there is a voltage present or something along they lines.
     
  13. trev
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    trev Regular EF Member

    Best advice Stevo, turn off the circuit, prove it's dead then go through the procedure for testing as if it were a new circuit you had ran in. That should tell you which sockets are on the circuit in question and where the problem is
     
  14. Specialist
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    Specialist Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    South Wales
    When you say the voltage indicator on the test lamps, do you mean the small LED to the right with a lightning flash at the side of it ? If so it's showing that you have a Live but also telling you that you've got a dropped Neutral you can prove this by Testing Live / Earth for 240v.
    Be warned: Some of these Di-Logs will trip the RCD doing this.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  15. Stevo90
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    Stevo90 Guest

    Yep its on the right hand side with the lightning flash.... even when i test live/earth still dont 230v, still just comes up with the lightning flash LED lit...... Its starting to really bug me now, it dont have a clue whats going on .
     
  16. stuart569
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    stuart569 Regular EF Member

    Just stop before you hurt youreself.Is that the only bit of test kit you have?A plug in neon socket tester?It just won't do!
     
  17. trev
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    trev Regular EF Member

    Christ I thought he was talking about an MFT not a toy!
     
  18. Specialist
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    Specialist Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    South Wales
    When you go live to Earth, what does it show ? Have you got a Non contact tester ? it would prove that you've got a live. Next thing i'd be doing was opening up the fronts on the sockets that dont work & checking them all first, you also need to check the socket you found with the Neutral out.

    Remember: Power off & use your tester to prove safe isolation first, you'd be better off leaving it till tomorrow when you've got daylight & your minds fresh. Think about whats going on with the wiring & you may realise you've missed something, we've all done it.
     
  19. Specialist
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    Specialist Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    South Wales
    No mate: Double pole tester, they're not too bad but I prefer the 1 with a Digital display or my Martindale.
     
  20. Stevo90
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    Stevo90 Guest

    When i go live to earth it doesnt show that i have a voltage present but i have got the LED on the lightning lit. Probs going to leave it till tomorrow and i will check the continuity between all the sockets just to make sure the cable is ok between them all .
     
  21. Specialist
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    Specialist Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    South Wales
    Hi Stevo: When the LED with the Flash shows, it means that the tester is working in Single pole mode or like an old fashioned Neon if you like. Unfortunately in this mode they will read from about 95 volts so don't actually prove you have a good Live. Just a thought but have you had any work done just before the sockets went down ?
     
  22. Stevo90
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    Stevo90 Guest

    I have done work myself by putting my tv up on my wall in my room where the sockets went down, that was over 3 months ago now though and everything was fine ....
     
  23. trev
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    trev Regular EF Member

    Were you able to prove it was fine by following the correct test procedure?
     
  24. Specialist
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    Specialist Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    South Wales
    Ok if you put the TV up in the bedroom then that should'nt have made any difference as the Ring cable don't normally come down from the attic, if it was in a downstairs room where the cables run down the wall then just give it a quick check.
     
  25. Stevo90
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    Stevo90 Guest

    Yes i proved it was fine by following the correct test procedure. Its an upstairs room where the cables would be running from through the floorboards i assume so im 99% sure there will be nothing wrong with the install. I have asked my journeyman about this and hes finding it hard to come up with suggestions...... dont worry though i am determined and when i have some spare time i will find the problem :)
     
  26. trev
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    trev Regular EF Member

    Right so if you proved it once you can do it again Stevo. Like I said earlier go through the procedure and you should find out which sockets are fed from where and where your problem is. Assuming theres more than 1 RFC, leave 1 circuit on and go around checking for a voltage. The dead ones are either on another circuit (which can be proven) or the ones with the problem.
    Once you've identified what is fed from where you can start looking for the fault, do your r1, rn, r2 tests to prove it's a continuous RFC, From what you have written so far I'd bet on one of your cables being broken/disconnected.
    Obviously, at 8pm on a cold Monday night you'll have better things to do than this so go at it tomorrow with fresh eyes and a clear head
     
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