ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals
ECN Shout Chat
ShoutChat Box
Recent Posts
New tool
by gfretwell - 10/21/20 07:40 PM
Where is Everyone?
by Bill Addiss - 10/17/20 07:04 PM
Beyond Belief
by gfretwell - 09/27/20 12:03 AM
Questioning the electrical norms
by LongRunner - 09/23/20 06:38 AM
New in the Gallery:
Facebook follies, bad wiring
FPE in Germany pt.2
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 13 guests, and 22 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate Thread
Polarization help #4930 10/23/01 08:25 PM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 4
dzmacdvm Offline OP
Junior Member
I recently installed a new circuit. The wiring runs to a 2 gang box with 2 switches where the hot wire is shared via pigtail. One of the switches runs to 3 consecutive fixtures (recessed lights) and the run ends in a receptacle (outlet). When I connect the black wire to the brass screws and the white lead to the silver screws and the ground to the ground screw and test this outlet, the polarization detector indicates that the hot and neutral wires are opposite. The light indicator shows correct polarization when/if I connect the black lead to the silver side and vice versa which I know should be wrong. Is the problem at the level of the switch where the hotwire is shared? Or how else could these 2 be opposite? Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Polarization help #4931 10/23/01 09:43 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 218
spkjpr Offline
What does the second switch control? I also seem to remember an articlle about neon tpolarity testers being fooled if the circuit has any other neutral connections. Will try to find the article, believe it came from ECM Magazine.

Re: Polarization help #4932 10/23/01 10:32 PM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 4
dzmacdvm Offline OP
Junior Member
The second switch also controls recessed lights but on a dimmer. Put on 2 switches because didn't want all on dimmer and dimmer switch cant handle the load of all of them. So youre saying that though I have it wired correctly, the detector might not be accurate in this instance? The tester I'm using is a 3 prong with 3 light indicator, not very sophisticated.

Re: Polarization help #4933 10/23/01 10:37 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,056
Redsy Offline
Where did you pick up power for this new circuit?

Re: Polarization help #4934 10/23/01 11:39 PM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 4
dzmacdvm Offline OP
Junior Member
Added a 15Amp breaker at panel specifically for this lighting project.

Re: Polarization help #4935 10/23/01 11:57 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 141
amp-man Offline

I suspect that you've flipped the hot & neutral at one of the light fixtures.

In telco parlance, a "crossed pair".

Remove the lamps in the three fixtures and get yourself a good grounding conductor reference (like the ground pin of an extention cord plugged into an outlet that tests out good; or the metal housing of the can light, if that's what you're dealing with). With the circuit off, starting at the fixture first in line from the switch, check continuity between known ground and the lampholder shell. The fixture where you lose continuity is the mis-wired one. The shell should be connected to the grounded conductor...with H and N flipped, the shell would be hot & the button neutral. The dumb lamp doesn't know any better, it'll still work...

You could test the circuit hot using a test light or voltmeter, but it's safer testing it cold, using a continuity buzzer.

Work safe,


Re: Polarization help #4936 10/24/01 12:58 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 4
dzmacdvm Offline OP
Junior Member
Thanks Cliff, will give it a test. I appreciate your time.


2020 National Electrical Code
2020 National Electrical
Code (NEC)

* * * * * * *

2020 Master Electrician Exam Preparation Combos
2020 NEC Electrician
Exam Prep Combos:
Master / Journeyman


Member Spotlight
Posts: 46
Joined: May 2007
Show All Member Profiles 
Top Posters(30 Days)
BigB 3
Popular Topics(Views)
270,722 Are you busy
204,962 Re: Forum
193,067 Need opinion
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.3