HOT & GROUND REVERSED QUESTION

Receptacle tester shows hot & ground reversed. No wiring changes have been made since home new 25 years ago. Plugged in iron and power went out but didn't flip breaker. All outlets in room also out. Later all worked, plugged in iron and all went out, and breaker still not flipped. Iron works fine elsewhere. Replaced breaker and outlet. Still nothing. Outlet tester shows hot & ground reversed for all outlets on circuit. Pigtail tester shows neutral and hot both hot for all outlets on circuit. There is also a light switch and ceiling fan on circuit. Suggestions appreciated. Thanks.
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Still sounds as though you might have a bad outlet etc somewhere. Had water in an outlet that did that to me once and the breaker never tripped then went back to working. Later that day I had 24 volts to ground thru my water fauet in the kitchen and the same to my ground rod outside which was causing it to bleed back thru my water pipes. Also sometimes a breaker does not appear to trip but actually does and you may have reset it when or if you flipped the breakers as most people do when a problem comes up. Its time to replace that one. Since you already did I'd check everything on the circuit for a problem. does it show that at the breaker? No? disconnect the outlets one at a time till it clears up or remove the outlet tying the wires together as you go till it clears up. Never work again if you can figure out how to color it(the current) black and white so it can be seen)

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Thankis to all. Problem solved. Loose neutral in smoke detector. Ceiling plan vibration over the years probably was the cause. bob kater wrote:

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No outlet should have been on the smoke detector circuit to begin with.
--
Steve Barker



"JK" < snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net> wrote in message
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You have an open neutral (white) somewhere in that circuit. Those plug in testers will not give correct results with an open neutral especially when stuff is still plugged into the circuit. The 'pigtail' tester also fools you because with the neutral broken you get a hot reading as the voltage makes a circuit from the hot wire through different loads -such as light bulbs- into the 'floating' neutral wires. If you unplugged everything and turned off all lights on the circuit you would probably get accurate indications on the testers. Kevin
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You need to find all the outlets and lights on that circuit, those still working and those no longer working, then find the open neutral, loose connection on white wire at the last live device or the first dead device on the circuit.

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I assume you use those 3-neon lights receptacle tester like this:
http://www.eclipsetools.com/ProductPics/Latest%20.jpegs/400-029.JPG
If it says hot ground reversed, it probably is.
By "pigtail tester", do you mean something like this: http://www.mrtool.com/browse.cfm/4,469.html And where do put the test leads?
It is not likely that neutral and hot are both hot. If they are, then plugging in any device would not work.
What I don't quite understand is how the power went out and then come back later. If you didn't do anything to make the power come back, then there is either a hidden breaker (not likely), or there is a bad connection somewhere.
The simplest explanation is someone miswired hot and neutral at the first outlet or upstream of it, and there is also a bad connection. So check all the junction boxes (fan, light switch, the most upstream outlet) to try to locate the reversed hot-neutral. Hopefully that is also where the bad connection is.
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Forgot to add, assuming that when you did this test you unplug every other devices and turned off everything on this circuit. Otherwise, it may mean an open neutral.
It's easy to tell whether you have open neutral or hot-neutral reversed. Plug in a low power device like a night light at the same time you have the outlet tester plugged in. If the night light lights up, it's not open neutral.
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