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#44056 - 10/26/04 08:33 PM troubleshooting a short
zero76 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/26/04
Posts: 26
Loc: olympia
Hi, i'm new here and want to say what a great site.

I'm looking for ideas to solve for a short in a run of mc cable. It's between the hot, neutral, and sheath on a 50' run that goes up and down and around a stairwell to an outside light and there's no way to fish a new wire. It's finished drywall and i suspect the culprit is a drywall screw. I isolated both ends from the boxes and fittings and energized the sheath and hot wire then attempted to find the offending screw with my 'hot stick' [non-contact tester]. the tester, which is not overly sensitive at other times, glows along the entire run one foot to either side.
Any ideas short of buying some expensive new tool? Thanks in advance, zero

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#44057 - 10/26/04 08:40 PM Re: troubleshooting a short
John Steinke Offline
Member

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 509
Loc: Reno,Nv., USA
You're sol. (simply out of luck). Either abandon, and run on the surface, or start tearing up the wall. Use nail plates the next time.

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#44058 - 10/26/04 09:02 PM Re: troubleshooting a short
zero76 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/26/04
Posts: 26
Loc: olympia
John, thanks for the reply. I've always applied nailplates liberally as well as using antishort bushings. Either i missed a nailplate and that's the one that bit me or it could be a mfg. defect.

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#44059 - 10/26/04 10:29 PM Re: troubleshooting a short
electricman786 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/17/04
Posts: 37
Loc: sacramento
I use Greenlee circuit tracer 2011 to find shorts. It can pin point short after a little hassle.

[This message has been edited by electricman786 (edited 10-27-2004).]

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#44060 - 10/27/04 12:18 AM Re: troubleshooting a short
e57 Offline
Member

Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 2837
Loc: S.F.,CA USA
"energized the sheath and hot wire then attempted to find the offending screw with my 'hot stick'" not the safest idea!"glows along the entire run one foot to either side." 'cause you might be heating up the whole wall!


Do the same with a telephone inductive toner.

Or. rent a Time Domain Reflectometer. Tells you the distance in feet to the short in +/- 2-5%. Or, ohm it to the thousands or mili' and do the math for ohms per foot. Then do the same with a toner. Pull out offending screw, make someone else pay for your time and replacement!

Might be cheaper to re-run if not found easy.... Its a bummer though!

No worries, we've all been there. I work with some framers who shoot 16's for shear-wall, because they're too lazy to change the nails in the gun. Or say, "Oh we had to move your wire" and use a claw hammer to do it. Plumbers who solder against cables and conduit. etc etc
_________________________
Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

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#44061 - 10/27/04 01:53 AM Re: troubleshooting a short
marcspages Offline
Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 49
Loc: London, UK
Finding a permanent short in a cable is as easy as pie. I'll write up something tonight ("pictures paint a thousand words" and all that). Stay tuned.

Marc.

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#44062 - 10/27/04 10:48 AM Re: troubleshooting a short
marcspages Offline
Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 49
Loc: London, UK
Done!
http://www.marcspages.co.uk/tech/?5107

God bless,
M.

(p.s. try not shoot me down in flames this time!)

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#44063 - 11/17/04 08:01 AM Re: troubleshooting a short
marcspages Offline
Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 49
Loc: London, UK
Leaving for Scotland in a matter of hours (teaching on lightning, bonding, & earthing, if you must know) - wife informs all appliances in kitchen are 'dead' - reset breaker thinking it was freak with everything wanting power at same time - short time later same scenario - have intermittent short on plug circuit - same circuit feeds boiler - d*mn!

Pull cover off consumer unit - find leakage on plug curcuit - no time to trace cables, must find short quickly so as to remove faulty piece - clock is ticking & plane is calling.

The above link is updated to show how I found faulty piece with enough time to make my plane and have lunch with the oh so much better looking half.

M.

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#44064 - 11/17/04 08:00 PM Re: troubleshooting a short
twh Offline
Member

Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 898
Loc: Regina, Sask.
 Quote:
p.s. try not shoot me down in flames this time!
No one here would do that!

I like the idea (not of shooting you down), but it seems desperate to remove the battery and head light from my truck. Will keep it in mind, though. Nice Tip.

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#44065 - 11/18/04 02:57 AM Re: troubleshooting a short
marcspages Offline
Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 49
Loc: London, UK
TWH,

Although hauling the battery and headlamp out of the truck may appear a desperate measure, it is a far safer means than slapping a hefty 1.2V rechargeable cell across the faulty cable (as I did in my case, using only a lengthy piece of wire as a resistor to replace the lamp) because should a dead short be right there at the test points, the battery could explode - then I would need to change my username to "UnwantedHelp".

This way, I can be pretty certain the current is reasonably limited to about 5-10A (depending on the size of the headlamp. However, a 'lantern' battery and suitable lamp is just as workable - you don't have to strip the truck (hmm, I can suddenly see a number of folk modifying their lantern style torches with wires strapped across the switch for the test probes!).

M.

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