Outlets not working

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  #1  
Old 06-03-03, 12:23 PM
nsammons
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Outlets not working

I live in a town home built in the 70's. My husband recently replaced one of our receptacles in our dining room, now, none of the receptacles in that room work. I have done some research and found that those receptacles are on the same breaker as one half of my kitchen. The receptacles in my kitchen work fine, but the three in my dining room do not work. I have pulled them all out and they are all wired properly. We have aluminum wiring, there are no GFI's any where in my house, that I know of. I searched high and low and have not found any. I have reset the breaker and that has not worked, I also bought a neon circuit tester, and it does show that there is power there but it doesnt light up as bright as the outlets that work. I am pretty handy when it comes to fixing things in my house, but electrical things scare me. I was going to go and by one of the more advanced receptacle testers, but before I spent a lot of money doing that, I was hoping to come across some advice.
Im sure all of these receptacles are connected to one another, but I just cant seem to find any difference in them, except that two of them have two(each) black wires and white wires, and the third one only has one of each. I am assuming that is the end of the line one. If you have any advice for me I would greatly appreciate it, if not, I guess I will have to bite the bullet and hire an electrician.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-03-03, 01:21 PM
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Crawl under the house and follow the wiring through the circuit (if the wiring was run under the house). There could possibly be a bad splice in a junction box under the house or perhaps a receptacle between the last working device and non-working device that you hadn't noticed before.
 
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Old 06-03-03, 03:13 PM
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I think it might be fair to assume that the problem lies in the box that your husband touched. It might be wise to start by double-checking that work.

First, can you tell us why he replaced the receptacle.

Then, to give us the best chance of spotting the error, please tell us precisely what he did. Try to give us a complete inventory of the cables and wires in the box, exactly how they were connected before, and exactly how they are connected now.

Also, please tell us whether you are still in possession of the old receptacle that your husband removed.
 
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Old 06-05-03, 10:37 AM
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Receptacles are daisy-chained, two wires coming in, two going out to the next recep. All receps "downstream" of the offending recep will go dead, all "upstream" receps will be live. I tend to think your husband used the quickie "stab" connections in the back of the recep he changed, and this is an unreliable connection. I'm guessing that if he re-connects this recep using the side screws this problem might be resolved. I hate the stab connectors to begin with, but I would never use them for aluminum in any case.

If this doesn't work test the voltage of both sets of black & white wires at the recep that was changed. One pair should be live and one should be dead when all are disconnected from the recep. If both pairs are dead the last live recep in that circuit is where you have an interruption in your circuit. In my experience with '70s aluminum wired electrical systems the contractors generally used the stab connectors and eventually the connection will fail, causing the exact problem you have.

One handy little trick is tp plug a radio into one of the dead receps with the breaker on, then grab an extension cord and go around to the other receps on that circuit plugging the male end into each recep and wiggling it hard. Often times the radio will misteriously come on, and you know the connection problem is in the recep you were wiggling.

Hope that helps.

Juice
 
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Old 06-05-03, 10:44 AM
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On a related note, did your husband use a receptacle rated for use with aluminum wire? In fact, if the receptacles are original, they should all be changed to co/alr receptacles that are rated for use with aluminum wire.
 
  #6  
Old 06-05-03, 11:03 AM
nsammons
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Smile

Thank you so much for the replies. I have looked at the wiring and it is attached to the screws on the sides. I am going to follow the other advice and try it out. I hope it works, this has been very frustrating. I will be in let you all know what happends. Thank you again for all the help.
 
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