Changed receptacles, all on one breaker won't work

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  #1  
Old 06-23-05, 08:52 PM
VictoriaJane
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Unhappy Changed receptacles, all on one breaker won't work

I've been remodling my kitchen and part of the remodling included changing out the receptacles with new ones. I was doing fine...black to black, white to white, ground to green, etc. When I was done, I flipped the breakers back on and all work except for some that are on one breaker. This includes four receptacles and one light switch. I checked all receptacles for loose wiring, wrong wiring, touching wiring, and that's when I discovered one of the receptacles has black powdery stuff in it. That told me there was a short of course. I removed the wiring from the receptacle, replaced it, made sure all was ok, however none of the receptacles will work still. I switched off and back on the breakers, I even pushed the little white button near the top breaker (GFCI maybe?) and still nothing. I used one of those electric tester thingys you plug into the sockets and I get nothing, no lights come on, which unless I'm wrong, means an open hot?

I have no idea where to go from here, and I'd really like to do this myself. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

VictoriaJane
 
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  #2  
Old 06-23-05, 09:44 PM
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Back to basics. Check everything again. I would pull out all the receptacles and try turn the breaker back on with everything hanging out just in case you are accidentally shorting something out when repacking the boxes. If you have a multimeter and are experienced working inside panels, you can test the breaker screw for voltage. Perhaps it's not even resetting.

You didn't mention any red wires. Do you have any red wires?

Do you have any switches with white wires connected to them?
 
  #3  
Old 06-23-05, 10:25 PM
VictoriaJane
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There aren't any red wires. Some of the receptacles have two black and two white, others have one black and one white. I don't know why and I don't know what the difference is. Basically, I know nothing about electrical stuff other than I know I have to shut off the breakers before touching any wires!

There is four switches total. A double switch which controls the two kitchen lights on one wall (working), one on another wall for the back porch light (not working), and one on another wall for the garbage disposal (working). The non-working porch light switch and one non-working receptacle are on one wall. A non-working receptacle is on the same wall as the working double switch. The working garbage disposal switch and a non-working receptacle is on another wall with other receptacles that DO work. Then there is another non-working receptacle all by itself on the fourth wall. And to top it off, the bathroom receptacles tie in with the non-working breaker/receptacles(?) because they don't work now either.

What exactly are the wires not suppose to touch when repacking? Does it mean there is an open hot when nothing lights up on the multimeter? What about any extra wiring that's in the box? It doesn't connect to a receptacle, but is it not suppose to touch anything?

Thanks!
 
  #4  
Old 06-23-05, 10:29 PM
VictoriaJane
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"I would pull out all the receptacles and try turn the breaker back on with everything hanging out just in case you are accidentally shorting something out when repacking the boxes"

Not sure what you mean when you say "everything hanging out" when turning the breaker back on?

And by the way, I have absolutely no experience working inside panels, outside panels or anywhere near them? As a matter of fact, what's the panel?
 
  #5  
Old 06-24-05, 07:11 AM
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By "everything hanging out" I mean that the receptacles and switches are attached to the wires, but not to the boxes. So the receptacles and switches would be suspended by their wires several inches in front of their box. This allows you to clearly see (and test) everything, and to make sure that there are no accidental shorts.

The panel is the metal box housing your circuit breakers.
 
  #6  
Old 06-24-05, 09:05 AM
VictoriaJane
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I figured that's what you meant by "hanging out" but I wanted to make sure. I work for a home builder, we subcontract our trades. I just spoke to one of our electricians who told me to do what you suggested as well. He also recommended what you did and that was to test the breakers at the panel. He said I should do that first, just in case it's the breaker, to save myself the trouble of having to pull out everything.

What is the difference between the receptacles with two black and two white wires as opposed to the receptacles with only one black and one white?

Oh I will definently keep you posted. As a matter of fact I'll probably be here asking questions through the whole process!
 
  #7  
Old 06-24-05, 09:23 AM
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A single black and white wire indicates an end of line receptacle. The line (or at least one branch of it) terminates at the receptacle.

Two black and two white wires indicates that the line does not terminate at the receptacle. Depending on how it is wired, the power continues to another receptacle or in some cases a switch loop exists.

Since you talk about a switch being involved, you may have a problem because of the switch. Were you careful to replace the receptacles and the switch exactly as they were previously installed, and also to make sure that any tabs were broken on the new receptacles if they were broken on the old receptacle?
 
  #8  
Old 06-24-05, 09:30 AM
VictoriaJane
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The one non-working switch was the first thing I changed. I did it a couple days prior to changing out the receptacles. It was working fine. It stopped working when I changed out the now non-working receptacles. I'm assuming it has something to do with the one receptacle that has the black powdery stuff near it indicating I shorted something. I've since changed that receptacle, made sure none of the wiring is touching anything yet all the receptacles on that line still won't work.
 
  #9  
Old 06-24-05, 09:31 AM
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There are dozens of ways a receptacle can be wired, so there are always exceptions, but in general:

A receptacle with two black and two white wire attached to it is ususally in the "middle of the run" (i.e., other receptacles or switches or fixtures are downstream). A receptacle with one black wire and one white wire is "end of the run" (i.e., nothing downstream). Receptacles that are controlled by switches, or receptacles that are split-wired (i.e., each half on a different circuit) can be different.
 
  #10  
Old 06-24-05, 09:37 AM
VictoriaJane
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Ok let me ask you this...On one side of the receptacle there is two gold screws for the black wires, and two silver screws on the other side for the white wires. On the back of the receptacle there is two holes per screw, making it a total of eight holes. Does it matter what hole I use as long as black is to gold and white is to silver?
 
  #11  
Old 06-24-05, 09:56 AM
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Unless the tab has been broken out connecting the two screws on each side, the two screws are electrically identical. The holes are electrical identical to the screw they are closest to. But if the holes are they type where you just stick in the wire and don't have to also tighten the screw to get it to hold (called "backstabs"), then these connections often fail and are discouraged.

Don't confuse the round holes with the rectangular slots. The slots are not designed for wires.
 
  #12  
Old 06-24-05, 11:01 AM
VictoriaJane
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Aha! Ok, well all but one of the receptacles are Leviton Duplex Back and Side Wired receptacles. The one that isn't is a Leviton Quickwire receptacle. It doesn't have the screws to tighten the wires in place, they just stick in the holes and I guess you have to assume they're ok. It also happens to be a receptacle that has one black and one white wire.

Also, I just realized the one receptacle that has the black powdery smoke has one black and one white wire as well. I thought there was only one receptacle like that, but I was wrong.
 
  #13  
Old 06-25-05, 08:40 PM
VictoriaJane
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Well I changed out the receptacle that was a "Quickwire" to a "Backwire" and still nothing. I now have a voltage meter in hand and am thinking about checking the breakers. I've been told exactly what to do, however I don't know enough about electricity thus don't have confidence in myself. This makes me very nervous.
 
  #14  
Old 06-26-05, 10:42 PM
VictoriaJane
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Thanks for all the suggestions, however I think the best thing for me is to swallow my pride and get one of the electricians from work to come over and figure it out for me.
 
  #15  
Old 06-26-05, 10:52 PM
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Shoot...dont give up yet....are you interested in continuing? They worked before so it has to be something that happened when you were replacing the receptacles. You mentioned pushing a white button on a circuit breaker in an earlier post can you explain that further? Was it the breaker for the bad circuit? That circuit is deenergized because you pushed the "test button" of a gfci breaker, if you didnt reset it properly then that circuit is still dead. It seems strange that you have the bathroom connected to a circuit in the kitchen.
 

Last edited by Roger; 06-26-05 at 11:03 PM.
  #16  
Old 07-16-05, 12:43 AM
VictoriaJane
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Ok, well here's an update just in case anyone can use the information. I didn't give up as suggested. I had planned on taking July 1st through July 7th off from work anyway, so I had seven days to work exclusively on my remodling and the first on the list was getting all receptacles working in my kitchen. Before I left on my "vacation", I told one of our electricians that I would be calling him if I couldn't get it done by Saturday. Because I was too nervous to check the live breakers with a voltage meter, I decided I'd check all the receptacles again. What I didn't know before was that there are the load holes and the line holes on the back of the receptacle. I know white to white and black to black because it says so right on the back. However I wasn't aware that there is also white/black load side and white/black line side. Where a receptacle would work with the line wires being in either the line or load side, it wouldn't jump the other receptacles if the load wires were in the line side. I inserted a set of white/black wires in two holes and tested it. If I got a reading, then I knew they were the line wires. If I didn't get a reading, then I knew they were the load wires. Only ONE of the receptacles was wrong, however it was that one receptacle that prevented all the others from working. Conclusion: Everything works!

Roger: Thanks for the encouragement to not give up. And, I don't understand why the back porch light is in line with the bathroom plug receptacle either. it's so odd.
 
  #17  
Old 07-16-05, 01:02 AM
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Hello, Isee you got things going.

Just to add if you look at the receptacle there are brass colored screws on one side and silver colored on the other. The white (load side) wires go on the silver and the black line side go on the brass ones. This is true except for a few exceptions and knowing the expections is a big part of getting around in residential wiring.
 
  #18  
Old 07-18-05, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by VictoriaJane
And, I don't understand why the back porch light is in line with the bathroom plug receptacle either. it's so odd.
Wiring in areas that can get wet: kitchens, baths, outdoors, etc must have GFCI protection which prevents electrocution in the event of wet wiring. Home builders often saved money by putting kitchen, bathroom, basement, garage, and outdoor wiring on the same GFCI protector. That is why your outdoor light is on the same circuit as the bathroom.
 
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