Outlet Problems

Old 07-14-05, 12:33 PM
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Outlet Problems

Hi, I just have a question about outlet installation...

Yesterday I replaced a bunch of plugs in the basement room we are renovating. They're just normal plugs - 3 prong I guess..? All the old plugs worked before I started, but now after changing them all they don't work correctly. It appears that power is going there, just not fully - is this just a grounding problem? The bare copper wires in the boxes just look like they're tied in some kind of boy scout knot then onto the plug.

I didn't change anything, just took the old plug off put new plug on, it's pretty straightforward...or so I thought. I did another room in my house recently with no problems, does the fact that it's in the basement make a difference?

All the boxes are metal boxes, does this make a difference for what type of plug I should be getting? After putting all the new plugs on, I tried to replace one of the old plugs, but that didn't work either...

Anyway, that's just a bunch of stuff I tried - pretty much just randomly written...
Old 07-14-05, 12:59 PM
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power is going there, just not fully
What does this mean exactly? If you plug in a radio, does it come on or not? Are you using a digital multimeter? Do you own one of those $8 plug-in outlet testers?

is this just a grounding problem?
No. It's probably an open circuit problem, caused by a bad connection. Double-check all your connections.
Old 07-14-05, 01:45 PM
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If I plug in a radio/clock, nothing happens. I found a little night light and when I plug that in, it lights, but quite faint - not like it does in a working plug. I don't have one of the testers, I'll go grab one...

I have gone over the connections, but I guess a triple or quadruple or whatever number check I'm at now might be in order...
Old 07-14-05, 04:31 PM
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Alright, well I went and grabbed a receptacle tester and tested every one. It says they're all correct. The problem seems to be there isn't enough "juice" going to the receptacles?
Old 07-15-05, 08:49 AM
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Seems like it's gotta be a loose connection. Perhaps a loose screw terminal on a receptacle. You did connect the wires to the screws, right? Not the push in "backstab" holes. Maybe a wire broke off or nearly broke off; sometimes those are hard to spot without pulling the wiring out of the box. Perhaps a loose wirenut. If your wiring is older, instead of wirenuts you may have crimp-on barrel connectors or twist-n-solder connections. Perhaps one of those came loose.

Are any of the devices warm or hot? Do you hear or smell any sparking? If it's a loose connection, it will heat up when something is plugged in.

A good diagnostic technique is to try one receptacle at a time. Disconnect all of the receptacles, then start at the begining of the circuit. Connect just the supply wires to the one receptacle. Test it. If that works, breaker off and connect the feed to the second receptacle and the second receptacle. Continue until you find the problem.
Old 07-17-05, 07:00 AM
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It sounds to me like you wired the receptacles in series (or at least some of them). Check your connections.

At each receptacle, black to the gold screws and white to the silver screws.

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