tester shows power, nothing works when plugged in

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  #1  
Old 10-22-05, 12:45 PM
fernglen
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tester shows power, nothing works when plugged in

Okay, I'll start with the ugly truth-- my cat peed in an outlet and fritzed it out, along with two other outlets. Replacing the GFCI outlet didn't work. The test button on each one does nothing. The pronged power tester now shows that three outlets on the same circuit have power, but nothing works when plugged into any of the three outlets. The outlets are the last three in the line (I think). Last one in the line is the fridge outlet, the other two are kitchen counter outlets with GFCI's on both. Any help with troubleshooting would be much appreciated.
Gayle
 

Last edited by fernglen; 10-22-05 at 12:51 PM. Reason: added info
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  #2  
Old 10-22-05, 01:08 PM
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What kind of a tester is this? And how are you testing?


Have you tried resetting the circuit breaker?
 
  #3  
Old 10-22-05, 01:10 PM
fernglen
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It's a simple two-pronged tester, one side red, one black. Touch it to two wires and the light goes on, or not. Yes, have reset the breaker (turned off to work on it, then back on)
 
  #4  
Old 10-22-05, 01:20 PM
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What wires did you touch it to?
 
  #5  
Old 10-22-05, 02:16 PM
fernglen
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Put the tester in the outlet itself.
 
  #6  
Old 10-22-05, 04:12 PM
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Is this a plug in tester, that three fixed prongs on it and three little lights on it? If so, what color are the lights and what does that indicate?
 
  #7  
Old 10-22-05, 04:39 PM
fernglen
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It's not a plug-in one. It just has two wires, a red one and a black one, with short metal rods at the end. The hand-held part where the wires come out has a light on it that lights up when power is detected and doesn't when there isn't power. Sorry if I'm not being clear. I don't know what it's called.
 
  #8  
Old 10-22-05, 04:45 PM
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And which slots/holes in the receptacle did you plug this into? Does it glow as brightly as it does when you plug it into a different recetpacle that is on a different circuit?

When you replaced the GFCI, did you wire the new one properly?
 
  #9  
Old 10-22-05, 04:52 PM
fernglen
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Red wire in left oulet hole, black wire in right, but it works either way. NO, actually, the light isn't as bright in the funky outlets as in another one that I know works fine. I have found a three pronged tester and the left green light glows when I plug it in, saying open neutral.
 
  #10  
Old 10-22-05, 04:55 PM
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The fact that the light only glows a little also tells you that you have an open neutral.

Now your job is to find the open neutral. One of your receptacles has a neutral wire that is not connected. Check all of them. It might be one that works or one that doesn't.

While checking, move any back stabbed connections to screw terminals.
 
  #11  
Old 10-22-05, 04:58 PM
fernglen
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Okay, so is the white wire or the black wire the neutral one? What is "backstabbed"? So, you're saying any outlet in the house may be causing the problem? Or just on that same circuit? Thank you so much for your help!
 
  #12  
Old 10-22-05, 05:02 PM
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The white wire is the neutral.

Any receptacle (or light) on the same circuit could be where the problem is.

The problem will be either at the last working receptacle or the first not working one.

Did you wire the new GFCI receptacles properly? Forgive me for asking, but if you don;t know which wire is the neutral, then how did you know which wires to connect to which terminals on the new GFCI?
 
  #13  
Old 10-22-05, 05:10 PM
fernglen
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A friend installed the GFCI for me and all three outlets were working until a few days ago, when a cat peed in one of them. It was sizzling in there. So, a new GFCI was put in (I think it was wired properly) and nothing worked. So, maybe he did screw up and I have to track that down now. Thanks!
 
  #14  
Old 10-22-05, 05:16 PM
fernglen
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Well, when the new GFCI didn't work, I removed the GFCI and twisted the white wire to white wire and the black wire to black wire and just disconnected it and the power now shows open neutral.
 
  #15  
Old 10-22-05, 05:18 PM
WFO
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How's the cat?
 
  #16  
Old 10-22-05, 05:20 PM
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"backstabbed" is a hole in the back of the receptacle that you insert the wire into.
a small flat spring holds the wire in place making the connection. (no screw pressure) they don't work very well.
 
  #17  
Old 10-22-05, 05:20 PM
fernglen
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Still searching for more outlets to hit. Unfortunately, he seems to have had no ill effects. But thanks for asking.
 
  #18  
Old 10-22-05, 05:37 PM
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A GFI has a line side (marked on the GFI) that the power feeds into the GFI.
Then the load side of the GFI feeds power to the other receptacle.

Do the things in post # 10/12.
 
  #19  
Old 10-22-05, 06:07 PM
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redo connections anyway...

I have had this problem b4, even if the connections look good. Take them off and reattach to screw to ensure that you gave it a good connection. No guess work that way.
 
  #20  
Old 10-22-05, 07:02 PM
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Have you remade the connections at every single electrical box on the circuit? If not, get started.
 
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