Ok Outlets but no power

Reply

  #1  
Old 04-19-04, 09:13 PM
needtools
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Question Ok Outlets but no power

Lost bank of outlets in kitchen for reason unknown. Checked and reconnected every outlet to power. All show proper ground using three light tester. All show voltage on meter. And all of them will not work as a power source - example: plug my electric drill into any outlet - will not operate. Am stumped.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 04-19-04, 10:31 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Exactly what does your plug-in outlet tester read.
 
  #3  
Old 04-20-04, 04:08 AM
needtools
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
3 prong/3 indicator lights tester (Micronta) shows "correct" configuration. Tester will test for open ground, open neutral, open hot, hot/grd reverse, hot neutral reverse, and correct setting. Could a bayonet connection give me a false reading?
 
  #4  
Old 04-20-04, 04:20 AM
WFO
WFO is offline
Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: usa
Posts: 247
You could still have a bad connection. A high resistance connection can still show a voltage at very low current, which is all the tester is drawing. Basically the same principle of a bad battery in your car that reads great until you pull cranking amps through it. Try putting your tester in the top plug, the drill in the bottom, and see if the tester still reads good when you pull the trigger. If it drops off, start looking for loose connections.
 
  #5  
Old 04-20-04, 06:31 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
It is unusual for a tester to show a correct configuration and yet for the outlet to not be able to power an appliance. Here are possible explanations:
  • You misread the tester. Sometimes the light from one bulb bleeds over making it look like the next bulb on the tester is lit.
  • The high-resistance explanation that WFO offered. Try the test he suggested.
  • An intermittent connection. Try wiggling the plug (and thus wiggling the receptacle) on your electric drill while holding the trigger.
  • A bad drill or a bad plug on the drill. Try other appliances too, especially low-power appliances like a clock.
  • The receptacle is half switched (or on two different circuits), and you are using the tester on the one half while plugging your drill into the other half. Make sure you test both halves and try your drill in both halves.
Eventually, you'll need to shut off the breaker, pull out the receptacle, and check the connections. As we advise here every day, move the backstab connections to the adjacent screws.
 
  #6  
Old 04-20-04, 06:38 AM
needtools
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Stripped all connections back to primary feed at first outlet in series. Changed connections from bayonet to screw-in. Still have same problem - drill turned on while meter in other outlet; the meter needle drops. Meter shows black to white is hot. Also black to ground is hot. White, neutral, to ground is dead. Now what? Do I change out the breaker? Do I search down every possible splice between outlet and breaker? Do I listen to my wife and call our electrician?
 
  #7  
Old 04-20-04, 06:41 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Whoa! What do you mean, the meter needle? What kind of test instrument are you using exactly, and what is it set on (if it has anything settable)? And what exactly does "dead" mean?

Did you try something other than the drill?
 
  #8  
Old 04-20-04, 07:07 AM
needtools
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
"Meter" is a Micronta AC/DC voltage tester set at 250v AC. Used neon nightlight (very low wattage) and 60w light to test outlet after I isolated it as the only outlet receiving power. Nightlight worked, but 60w did not.
 
  #9  
Old 04-20-04, 07:11 AM
needtools
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Forgot to explain "dead" - used term to mean no registration of any voltage or movement of meter needle. Therefore, neutral had not been crossed with hot wire somewhere between breaker box and outlet.
 
  #10  
Old 04-20-04, 07:49 AM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Kansas City, KS
Posts: 588
Also Check that the neutral wire for this circuit in the panel is tightly screwed in.

Actually, you can test this without opening the panel. plug in your drill in the top outlet, and your voltmeter in the bottom one: Nuetral to Ground. Then pull the trigger on the drill. If the voltage on the neutral goes way up you have a loose neutral wire somewhere.
 
  #11  
Old 04-20-04, 03:08 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,599
Did you make any changes to this circuit before the problem started? It sounds like you could have something wired in series. With no load the voltage is correct. As soon as you try to pull current thought the circuit the voltage is dropped across the other load.
 
  #12  
Old 04-20-04, 06:14 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Okay, we've exhausted the easy stuff. Assuming that this isn't the result of some project you've been concealing from us, it's time to dig in and find the bad connection somewhere on this circuit. It's not hard--just time consuming because there are probably a lot of places you'll need to look.
 
  #13  
Old 04-20-04, 07:59 PM
needtools
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Talking Got Power!

After exhausting all of the recommendations, I decided I had two approaches left. The first was listen to my wife and call my electrician. The second was go through the circuit as though I was installing a new one. In the process of considering the second option (had to try to save some ego), I remembered a similar situation that I experienced at least ten years ago. Then, as now, everything appeared perfect with the exception that I did not have power. The resolution at that time was replace the breaker with a new one. So, I worked backwards through the circuit to the breaker box making sure every connection was perfect. At each step I tested the circuit with negative results. Finally, I replaced the circuit breaker. Eureka!!!! The problem disappeared when I snapped in the new breaker. So I guess the moral of the story is to not trust the breakers even though they appear and test perfect. After all, they are made on an assembly line - mostly by machines.
 
  #14  
Old 04-21-04, 04:43 AM
WFO
WFO is offline
Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: usa
Posts: 247
Way to go!
 
  #15  
Old 04-27-04, 10:21 AM
melman
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Indeed... I really enjoy reading through the thought process and asking myself how I'd analyze/debug the situation. Good job.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'