wiring

I was rewiring an overhead light receptacle in my unfinished basement to be an outlet so I could plug a flourescent light into it. I didn't turn off the juice while I was doing it and the hot lead touched a nearby metal heating duct for a few seconds, taking the circuit out. The circuit has mostly basment lights on it, although there are a few lights on the first floor.
The circuit breaker didn't trip. I reset it anyway - no power. I replaced it - no power. There was a GFI on the circuit which I couldn't be sure was working properly, so I replaced it - still no power.
There was no smell of burning nor any visible evidence of burning or scorching on the visible part of the circuit in the basement.
It was then that I noticed that a light in the garage, which is in the beginning part of the circuit, worked with the breaker on.
Is there anything I can do or test for, or should I just call an electrician?
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In article

leads (probably a wire nut) that arced and is now an open. Odds are it's either in the box behind the light that _is_ working, or in the box behind the next device in the circuit that _isn't_ working.
I'd suggest killing the breaker this time to work on it.
--
Mark

The truth as I perceive it to be.
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says...

Between the last point you have voltage,and the first point you don't is an open connection. It's good you replaced the breaker; it should have opened.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

current. It apparently wasn't.
--
Mark

The truth as I perceive it to be.
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snipped-for-privacy@whiskey-creek.net says...

1. The flaky connection didn't allow enough juice to flow to trip a good breaker.
2. The flaky connection, though bad, wasn't all that bad, and the breaker should have tripped but didn't.
I'd replace the breaker on general principles. A few bucks at the borg, in exchange for piece of mind.
Of course, my next concern would be: what else was messed up by the electricians...
Marc
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I hope I'm not violating protocol by expressing my thanks for your responses to my wiring problem.
I finally noticed scorch marks on the light switch that controlled the garage light (even though it worked). Opening the box (with the breaker off this time!) I saw that the hot wires were connected at the switch and had melted the back of it. I replaced the switch and the entire circuit worked.
Thanks a lot. Your comments gave me an idea of the direction in which to head.
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