Outlets and lights don't work but plug-in receptacle tester indicates all ok


I have two bedrooms and a shared bath that are on one circuit. Through some initial remodeling/updating, all of the outlets were replaced (3-prong), and all of the light switches. All is fine in bedroom 1 (outlets work, light works). Bedroom 2 nothing works, and bathroom lights don't work, BUT the GFCI in the bathroom does work. Breaker not tripped.

I checked all of the connections and all are tight (not stabbed, but wound around the screws). I purchased a plug-in receptacle tester, and every outlet shows up as wired correctly. I also tried a voltage tester (the pen that beeps and blinks red) and it shows that all are receiving voltage.

Does anyone have any ideas what the problem could be? Thanks so much for the help in...

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The last 30 years we've lived in this house, we've had a problem with 1 of the bedroom's electrical receptacles.

On the same wall, there are 2 receptacles about 10 feet apart on opposite sides of the wall. The top plug on each don't work, and the bottom plug do work. The switch in the room has never worked, and we assumed it was because it's connected to those 2 (top) plugs. Since the room adjacent to this one has the exact same setup, but actually do work.

I decide to tackle the problem finally and bought a Receptacle Tester. The reading had no lights turn on. Which indicated Open Hot on the tester. According to the manual this means that the hot contact is not connected.

Does anyone have an much more in-depth explanation about what Open Hot means?

Is this something I could easily fix myself? Is it possible that the switch itself is actually bad?

Offtopic question, There is button on my receptacle tester in the middle, and when i pressed the...

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Yes, the circuit used to work. I have replaced two outlets and two switches, but it worked after I did that, all of a sudden I plugged in a dehumidier and that's when they stopped working. But, like I said some of them work and some don't, old and new. For instance, the two new switches I replace in the kitchen don't work, but the new outlet I replace in the dining room does, and the other outlet in the dining room doesn't. Then from there it goes into a hall bath, and the light doesn't work, then it goes into a bedroom and the light doesn't work in there.

The voltohmeter I'm using tests for AC/DC voltage, ohms, and amps. I'm not sure of the exact name brand, I don't have it in front of me. When I test a switch, I'm using the red probe on the ground and the black probe on the black wire (or screw). I can turn off the breaker and retest the same way and it reads zero or +-.10 volts. On the outlets I'm inserting the red probe in the long slot and the black probe in the...

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My daughter plugged in her cellphone charger and 4 120v lights immediately went out.i checked receptacle for voltage and found none. I pulled out receptacle and found no problems. 1 receptacle on this circuit is switched but the aforementioned one is not.I checked and reset all gfcis.Not sure which breaker is for this circuit so I carefully reset all of them twice.Pulled off breaker box cover and checked all wires for tightness.Removed switch for lights and direct wired it and got no voltage or light. The house is 20 years old with Romeo wire. All of this is on 12g wire which surprised me.I have spent 4 afternoons on this pulling out almost all switches and receptacles on first floor and garage in the surrounding area and checked everything with a meter and I can't find the problem. It blows my mind that this even happened.what could possibly be the...

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In a switched outlet, the following is correct:

The yellow light that comes on for "open ground" indicates whether an appliance will have power in that outlet. As you might guess, it is connected between hot and neutral.

The other yellow light is connected between hot and ground. It'll light if ground is good, but it'll also light in a number of nasty failure situations - Check out this link.

The red light is hooked between neutral and ground. It should not light because there should be very low voltage (not zero) between neutral and ground.

For outlet 1, the "appliance power present" light is always on. That says the switch doesn't work. It doesn't turn off power when you turn it off. It does seem to interrupt ground -- what the heck??? Can the switch be switching the ground? That's a very, very weird situation and I suspect you have a problem that exceeds the ability of the outlet tester. It's possible someone didn't want that outlet to be switched,...

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Have you checked the actual voltage yet? Get a multimeter (buy a cheap one, if you need to; you should be able to find something for $10-$15) and check the voltage between all three prongs - between the two slots should read around 110-120VAC, between the hot (narrow slot) and ground should read about the same, and between the neutral (wider slot) and ground should read nothing. Anything different indicates a wiring fault, possibly something serious.

You could also try one of these outlet testers - any Home Depot or similar type of outlet should carry them:

(I recommend the multimeter though, it's more versatile and not much more expensive...)

Come to think of it, if the toaster plug has a ground prong, the glow light may be connected between the hot and chassis and be showing a working ground, even if the outlet has a bad neutral connection.

If possible, check all three voltages again when a device is plugged in and turned on, and see if it drops...

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First, your illustrations are Mad Awesome. You could illustrate electrical books. Literally. You might even talk to Mike Holt or others doing electrical docs.

You still have some knowledge gaps, so I'd school up some more. For a guy as smart as you, knowledge is cheap.

If you are good at visual, stay with that. Buy a variety-pack of electrical tape colors, and a couple feet of 12/3 cable because it's a cheap way to get a variety of wire colors for pigtails. 12 gauge is the universal donor size, it is acceptable on any common 120v circuit up to 20 amp breaker. 14ga is only allowed on 15A breakers/with 14ga wire.

First, permanently wrap (tag) the white wire of cable C with red tape. From your comments elsewhere that there is only one cable going to the switch, that is a switch loop. Also open up the switch box and wrap the other end of that same white wire.

Next, permanently wrap (tag) the black wire of cable A with red tape. Since the switch is...

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Testing the ground here would be a good way to rule it out. Put one end of a voltage tester to the hot (black), and the other one to the ground, the same pigtail that connects to the ground on the receptacle. You should read the voltage of the hot (between 110 and 120 volts depending on your area).

Alternately, a continuity tester between ground and neutral in residential settings can tell you if the ground is actually connected to anything, but it's best to test under the small load that the tester creates as sometimes loose connections only show under load. That's why I like the solenoid type voltage testers - in addition to the great tactile feedback, they also create enough of a load to cause many problems to show.

As BMitch said, you probably just got hold of a bad...

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So, you have two-prong outlet receptacles and want three-prong outlets. I will try to address common questions regarding two-prong outlets, and what can be done about it. If you have specific questions not covered(or needs clarifying) regarding the subject of two-prong outlets, please read this entire post before posting a new thread. This thread will be monitored indefinitely. Please understand that this post is very limited and the unique situations homes have are limitless.As an electrician, I will always advise you get a professional look at your wiring and discuss your options. You may accidentally make your situation worse. PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Code followed: NFPA 70 NEC 2011 and 23rd (2015) edition of the CEC (CSA C22.1)

Updated 03/08/17 Added CEC

Part 1: Common Questions

Are my existing two-prong outlets dangerous?

Assuming the wiring and outlet itself are okay, most likely not. There are a couple of issues that surround two prong...

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A receptacle tester for North American wiring

A receptacle tester or outlet tester is a device used to verify that an AC wall outlet is wired properly. The tester itself is small device containing a power plug and several indicator lights. Although a multimeter could be used to perform a series of tests which would give the same results, an outlet tester can perform the entire array of tests by simply plugging the device into the outlet once and observing the state of the lights. The tester performs several tests at once but the tests themselves essentially fall into two categories: tests which determine that the outlet has power connected, and tests which determine that the outlet is properly wired for safe operation.

Tests performed[edit]


The most basic job of the outlet tester is to verify that the outlet can provide power to a device plugged into it. In order for an AC outlet to be functional it must have, at a minimum, a live...

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What Causes a Receptacle to Fail?

The most common ways a receptacle fails is a tripped circuit breaker or tripped GFCI. If a standard receptacle is connected to the load of a GFCI and the GFCI trips, power will be shut off to the standard receptacle. Standard receptacles in kitchens, bathrooms, and outside, are likely to be connected to the load of a GFCI.

Less common ways a receptacle fails is loose wire(s) to the receptacle terminals, or the receptacle fails internally (power is present at the receptacle terminals but not at the plug end).

Outlet vs Receptacle

Electrical outlet is a very common name for a receptacle. Many home improvement stores use the term “electrical outlet” when referring to a receptacle. Outlets are the points at which the electrical system are accessed (receptacle outlet or lighting outlet). A lighting outlet is an electrical box where a light fixture is mounted and gets power. A receptacle outlet is an electrical box where a...

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Since the car is a 2001 and I am assuming you got it new it should still have a warranty. Take it to the dealership and let them deal with it. But, if you can't I would do as the first poster suggested and replace the relay, bulb, and check the fuse you just replaced to make sure it isn't blown. If this doesn't fix your problem, you have a short in the wiring somewhere. Try one of those books you can get at your auto parts store for each specific car. It will have wiring diagrams and such to help you out. I had an issue with my Civic, each time I blew the horn my brake lights blew out. Turns out the wires were smashed where they go up into the spoiler on the back and were grounding out. They wire cars funny now, and the strangest things can happen. :) I hope you get it fixed, stuff like that can be such a...

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