I got a call from one of the guys working on a job we are wrapping up that a few outlets don’t work…. So I go through the motions of trouble shooting it, and it’s weird! Using a tracer I start mapping it out. (As it was roughed before I started at the company, in white 12/3 gives you a guess) The run comes from a split circuit of Homeworks dimmed outlets, and general receptacles out of our gutter in the electrical room. Then up behind an elevator, under a black granite stone floor, through a laundry room, and into a ceiling the cost $20K in finish alone, then around a wet bar with cabinetry that was $30K installed by guys who fly in from time to time for it. I jokingly asked the GC’s Super how much it would cost to re-run it, he made like I said something else….. We knew it was quite possibly not our fault. As these outlets had worked about two weeks earlier, then all the cabinetry came in. the laundry room and the wet bar. There had also been work on the floor, in the Mech. room, and just about everywhere else along the run, who knows what could have happened.
I have an inexpensive ($500) numerical TDR unit, nothing fancy, but does the job most of the time. Like anything else it is an interpretive tool…. I have had it for about 2 years, and it has been well worth the price. http://www.psiber.com/cabletool.html
Anyway, it says while measuring one of the hots to ground “Open” 102’, from the first outlet in the run going back to the panels, “Short” 3’. ??????
The two unaffected conductors, (The other hot and the neutral) measure “Open” 107’!
I do this several times and get roughly the same numbers +/- 1’. So I tone it out again with several tracers and I think I got it pretty nailed down to this one section of wall. So I’m telling the GC’s Super about it, and some guy coughs up from across the room, “Hey remember we moved that receptacle….” GC- “Oh yeah, we moved that receptacle over, the owner wanted it shifted over a few feet…” So I asked if they spliced in the wall or anything dumb, they said no, that they had just enough wire to get it there…. So after some discussion, we agreed that we had to find it, and correct it, the wall had to be opened to repair it. And I said, “you can start right here.” And I put some blue tape on the wall, and walked away.
Fifteen minutes later one of the GC’s guys comes and gets me, saying he thinks he found it. We go up and he says, “Well there’s your problem!” The dopes who moved the outlet didn’t even un-splice the box, just unstapled the wire an notched over to where they moved it to. Then used some scrap strapping to “Protect” it, screwed it right to the wire. That hole is where I stuck my tape….. Right where I thought it would be!
It got junctioned in another box several feet away. And fortunately did not have to go past any of the high priced stuff….