The wall outlets that sometime work.

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  #1  
Old 05-25-05, 02:57 PM
bpukas21
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The wall outlets that sometime work.

In my kitchen I have a wall outlet that will work for approximately 10-30 seconds when something is plugged in to it. Then if I do absolutely nothing in two or three days the outlet will work again for another 10-30 seconds. There are three other wall outlets nearby that also do not work. Yesterday I changed all four outlets and put in new ones as well as replacing a GFIC on the same wall, which has always worked, just for good measure. When I turned on the circuit breaker and tried one of the other outlets I had just replaced the same thing happened, power for 10-30 seconds then no power. Can anyone help me with these mystery outlets?
Thanks,
Barry
 
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  #2  
Old 05-25-05, 03:02 PM
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I recommend you spend $8 at your home center for an outlet tester. It's a gizmo that plugs into a receptacle and has three lights on it. It will tell you whether it's the hot wire or the neutral wire that opens up.

My guess is that it's a failing backstab connection. The neutral (white wire) fails a lot more often than the hot. The failing connection need not be at a receptacle that is having trouble--it could be at a receptacle that is working perfectly.

Anyway, get the tester. It'll help narrow things down.
 
  #3  
Old 05-25-05, 07:08 PM
bpukas21
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Wall outlet that sometimes works.

John,
Thanks for your advice I will definately pick up a tester. I'll let you know how I make out.
Regards.
Barry
 
  #4  
Old 05-26-05, 10:08 AM
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Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
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I also suspect back-stab connections, and suspect that they are in a receptacle that is electrically "upstream" from the failing receptacles. (That is to say, a receptacle that works which is between the ones that don't work and the electrical panel.) There is a trick I use to find the culprit. First, turn off the breaker that controls the circuit your mystery receptacles are on. Go back and note ALL the receptacles that went off with that breaker. Go turn the breaker back on. Now, take a radio that is turned on and tuned into a station and go plug it into one of the dead receptacles. Here's the trick: Take any three-prong extension cord and go to each receptacle on that circuit that was NOT giving you problems, plug in the extension cord, and taking it by the plug, wiggle it very firmly. This will often jar the loose wires in the back stab connection, and if the one you're wiggling is the one that has the loose connection, wiggling it will make all the dead receptacles go on. Continue on to do this at each receptacle on that circuit until the radio goes on. If none of them cause the radio to go on, at least this exercize didn't cost you anything. But I have had a lot of success with this method. If you find the culprit, move the wires to the screw terminals. If it has no screw terminals, replace that receptacle with one that does. Always use the screws, never use the back-stab connections.

Hope that helps.

Juice
 
  #5  
Old 05-26-05, 10:57 AM
bpukas21
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Plugs that sometime work.

Thanks for the advice Juice,I'll give it a try. Have a great day.
Regards,
Barry
 
  #6  
Old 05-26-05, 11:00 AM
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Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
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Glad to help. You have a great day too, and good luck with your electrical problem.

Juice
 
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