Receptacle has power, but nothing operates

Old 08-27-05, 12:42 PM
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Exclamation Receptacle has power, but nothing operates

I have a crazy electrical issue for anyone to solve. First of all, my microwave and refrigerator have their own outlets (about 3 feet apart) and are on the same breaker. Here's the riddle...I went to heat something up in the microwave the other day and it started to heat but after 3 seconds the power drained, and both appliances cut off. I checked the breaker box (all breakers have been replaced not too long ago) and nothing was tripped. I checked both outlets for power with a multimeter, and all seemed well. I then checked them with one of those plug testers with the 1 red light and 2 yellow lights. The plug said I had an open neutral on both outlets. I checked them again later on and the plug said everything was normal.

Does anyone have an answer? I need to get my microwave back in the cabinet recess and off my chair.

P.S.-I plugged both appliances into other receptacles and they work fine.
Old 08-27-05, 01:26 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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I suspect one of the receptacles has a loose connection, either from a backstab failure or a loose wirenut or something like that. Remove both and inspect all connections in the boxes (with the breaker off) first, then let us know what you find.
Old 08-27-05, 01:46 PM
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You didn't test for "power". You tested for "voltage". You have voltage but no power. This is possible when you have an open circuit, which is exactly what you have and exactly what your tester told you. You have an open neutral, seemingly intermittent in your case. Most of the time this is caused by a failed backstab of a white wire. It might be at the receptacles in which the microwave or refrigerator are connected to, or, and this is important, it might be at any other outlet on that circuit, even ones that are working perfectly fine.

So shut off the breaker, and open up every box on the circuit. Don't settle for just visually inspecting the connections. That's not reliable. Move any backstab connections (wires poked into holes) to the adjacent screw, and pull on wires in wire nuts. Pay particular attention to white wires, since that is where your problem is.

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