Stupid Mistake, and Safety Reminder

Thread Starter


Joined May 16, 2005
This afternoon I was crawling around in an attic working on some lighting. I pulled a piece of romex from a box where I had placed it a month ago & checked it with a DMM - just to be thorough (or so I thought...) I read zero volts.

A moment or two later, there was a brilliant blue flash and an angry buzzing for what seemed like several seconds. (Was probably several milliseconds, but seemed longer.) It was at this point I began to suspect something might be amiss. Once the green blob obscuring my vision receded enough, I climbed down from the attic to commence troubleshooting & investigation.

I found a kitchen light on the other end of the romex. The hot of my future-use leg had been hooked up - but not the neutral. This is why I read no voltage between hot and neutral in the attic. It was as though had I put one lead on hot and held th other "thirty foot lead" in the air. I should have checked hot to ground as well!

Always check voltage to ground before assuming a circuit is safe!


Joined Apr 2, 2007
..and i have a charred SMPS because of a stupid mistake,
i guess u can never be too careful when it comes to electricity.