Help needed with circuit trouble!!!

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  #1  
Old 12-30-04, 07:50 PM
jahla
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Exclamation Help needed with circuit trouble! What can the problem be!?

Hi,
I need some help.
I have an older home (1912), but have 100 amp service.
Over the holidays, the microwave kept tripping a breaker when a space heater was plugged in (obviously overloaded), but now, some of the lights and a receptacle on that circuit no longer work. However, the microwave still has power on the same circuit.
I have flipped the breaker to the off position for now.
Any suggestions on how to fix this problem? I have already replaced the breaker in question, which did not help.

Thanks very much for any advice.
 

Last edited by jahla; 12-30-04 at 08:08 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-30-04, 08:10 PM
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I would start by looking at the receptacle you used for the space heater. Those units can run hot and may well have damaged the receptacle. Look it over and inspect it for any visible damage such as melting or charring which would damage the receptacle and/or melt the wires off the terminals.

jm2c
 
  #3  
Old 12-30-04, 08:11 PM
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The hot or neutral wire came loose somewhere between the outlet the microwave is connected to and the outlet the space heater was connected to. It's probably the neutral wire and probably a failed backstab (wire poked into a hole) connection. Shut off the breaker, open up every box between the microwave and the space heater (including those two boxes), release the wires from the backstab holes and remake the connections to the adjacent screws.
 
  #4  
Old 12-30-04, 08:27 PM
jahla
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Thanks for the quick reply
I have inspected and replaced that receptacle that the space heater was plugged into however, it wasn't charred or back-stabbed connected.
John- when you say to open up everything on this circuit and inspect it do you mean all the lights too as well as receptacles? What about the lights that are still working on that circuit?
Thanks
 
  #5  
Old 12-30-04, 08:53 PM
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Do the receptacles first. Start with the receptacles between the microwave and the space heater inclusive, but do all the other receptacles on the circuit too. That's usually enough, but if not then do the switch boxes. If the problem still exists, do the light fixture boxes.
 
  #6  
Old 01-01-05, 05:00 PM
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Also make sure that there isn;t a GFCI tripped somewhere.
 
  #7  
Old 01-19-05, 03:37 PM
jahla
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hi
I have checked all the receptacle boxes, light switch boxes, light fixtures and junction boxes and have not been able to find the problem. Any othere suggestions?
oh and its not a tripped GFCI either.
I'm stumped
 
  #8  
Old 01-19-05, 04:19 PM
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I suggest you spend $8 at your home center on an outlet tester. This is a gizmo that plugs into a receptacle and has three lights on it. That will tell you whether you are looking for an open neutral or an open hot.

How do you know it's not a tripped GFCI? Are you assuming that this is true because you haven't found a GFCI that is tripped? It may be a bad assumption. GFCIs can hide really, really well.
 
  #9  
Old 01-19-05, 05:26 PM
jahla
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Theres no reading at all in those receptacles that don't work any more with an outlet tester or when I use my voltage tester around the outlets.
I've traced all the wiring back to the panel box.
Could frayed wiring in the wall be the cuprit?
 
  #10  
Old 01-19-05, 08:32 PM
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Although frayed wiring is a possibility, it's a really long shot. A tripped GFCI is still the most likely cause (despite your assertion that that isn't it). The second most likely cause is still a poorly connected wire in one of the boxes on the circuit. I know you said that you "checked" them, but I don't know exactly what "checked" means. Go back to every box on the circuit and remove all backstabbed connections and remake the connection to the adjacent screws.
 
  #11  
Old 01-19-05, 09:30 PM
jahla
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I assure you I took every one apart looked at them wrapped them in electrical tape when I was through and put them back again. I almost wish they were backstabbed but none of them were. I'd love to have this mystery solved!
 
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