Circuit Went Dead

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  #1  
Old 12-12-05, 10:27 AM
DIY Warrior
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Circuit Went Dead

My circuit of 110V outlets in my garage went dead. I'm not sure what breaker the circuit is attached to but I reset all breakers and the circuit still does not work. Could the breaker have gone out? And if so, how would I determine what breaker controls the circuit? Some of the circuits are marked on the breaker box and some are not.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-12-05, 11:49 AM
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Well, your first mistake is that you don't know what breaker controls the circuit. Everybody should know this for each and every circuit in their house. The information is invaluable at a time like this. But more importantly, it could save your life some day. Consider this a lesson learned, and after you solve the problem may your circuits like you should have done just after you moved in.

You most likely have an open circuit. It could be at one of the receptacles on the circuit that is not working, or it could be at one of the receptacles on the circuit that is working.

Start with those that aren't working. You will have to cut your main breaker in the house since you don't know which circuit breaker to kill. Check all the wiring at the receptacles. Move any back stabbed connections to the screw terminals. If this doesn't fix the problem, you have to check other working receptacles that are likely to be on the same circuit.


Another possibility is that you have a tripped GFCI. How old is the house and do you have any GFCI receptacles? if so, have you checked to see if they are tripped?
 
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Old 12-12-05, 11:52 AM
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Did you confirm that no breakers had tripped by turning the breakers OFF, then ON? Many brands of breakers have an ON position, a TRIPPED position, and a OFF position. When they trip, you have to turn them to the OFF position, then to the ON position.

If that is not the issue, you most likely have tripped the GFCI protection that is required for garages. Look for a receptical that has a TEST and a RESET button. It may be in the garage, outside, or, if your house is 20+ years old, it may be in the bathroom.

Press the reset button on this receptical when you find it.


Now, I STRONGLY urge you, once you have this issue fixed, to make a drawing of your house layout, mark EVERY receptical, switch, light, appliance, and any other electrical items you have on this drawing. Then go to the panel box and switch off one breaker at a time. Then see what electrical items are dead. Mark the breaker number on your drawing. Switch that breaker on and repeat the process with every breaker until you know what breaker controls EVERY item in the house. This information will make it a lot easier to diagnose an electrical problem next time.
 
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Old 12-12-05, 01:10 PM
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I'm betting on the tripped GFCI. Far and away the most likely cause.
 
  #5  
Old 12-12-05, 04:42 PM
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More information

Thanks to each of you. I will now tell you what I have found since your replies. I checked all the outlets on the circuit and they are all dead. I also checked and found that all of the wires on the outlets are attached to the screws, not stabbed into the back.

I did find two breakers in the box that were GFIs. The first one was not hooked up to anything. The second is hooked up. I turned it off and on a few times to make sure it was set to on and not in the tripped mode (nothing). I also found, however, that the test button does not work. I then swapped the first GFI breaker that was not being used with the second one. The test button does not work on it either. Is it just a coincidence that both test buttons don' work? When I turn the second GFI breaker off, I cannot find anything that goes off with it. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 12-12-05, 06:12 PM
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Do you have any GFCI receptacles in your house? Check the bathrooms, garage, basement, kitchen, and porches, and then check everywhere else.
 
  #7  
Old 12-13-05, 01:47 PM
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DIY Warrior reported via private message:
I found three other GFCIs in the house. One in each of the three bathrooms. They were all in working order.
At this point, I recommend you spend $8 on an outlet tester at your local home center. It will help identify whether you have an open hot or an open neutral. If you already have some other kind of circuit tester (e.g., a neon circuit tester, or a multimeter), you can use this instead. Tell us what you have and we can tell you how to use it.

I also recommend that you turn off every breaker in your panel, and then turn them back on again. Yes, you'll have to reset a bunch of clocks, but it might solve the problem. You might want to take advantage of this activity to record what breaker controls what outlets while you're at it.

You might want to reread all the other suggestions in this thread too, and try all of the ones you haven't already tried.

And depending on in what year your house was built (please tell us), you may have more than the three GFCIs you've found so far.
 
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