Sparking Receptacle

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Old 05-19-06, 06:17 AM
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Sparking Receptacle

I have a rental home and was told by the tenant that there were sparks coming out of the bottom plug only on one of the receptacles, no problem with the top plug though. I checked out the receptacle, which was only a couple of weeks old, and everything appeared to be perfect...nice tight loops going to the screws, firm connections, no excess wire sticking out, wires in proper locations, steady voltage to both plugs, etc. Is it possible the receptacle itself is just bad, or is there something else I should consider?
 
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Old 05-19-06, 07:07 AM
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> there were sparks coming out of the bottom receptacle ...
> Is it possible the receptacle itself is just bad?

Yes. If it wasn't bad before, it is now.
There is a small chance that the problem was the plug or that the plug was not completely inserted.

Use a spec grade receptacle for the replacement and advise tenants that they may not paint on or near the receptacles.
 
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Old 05-19-06, 08:00 AM
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Every electrical connection will spark when it live and is either made or broken. The size of the spark depends on many factors, one of which is the amount of current.

If the tenant is unplugging items when they are turned on or plugging them in when turned on, he or she should expect a spark.
 

Last edited by racraft; 05-19-06 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 05-19-06, 02:28 PM
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With good new receptacles, as well as older receptacles that are in fine shape, I almost always see a spark when I plug in switching power supplies such as laptop power bricks. At first I thought that this was an indication of a broken power supply, but I see this so frequently on so many different supplies that I now assume that this is considered acceptable by the listing agencies.

-Jon
 
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Old 05-19-06, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by winnie
I almost always see a spark when I plug in switching power supplies such as laptop power bricks.
Sure, but do you see an arc only if you plug into the bottom receptacle of a duplex, but not if you plug into the top one?


> I see this so frequently on so many different supplies that I now
> assume that this is considered acceptable by the listing agencies.

As Bob said, it is normal. You can get a much bigger arc by unplugging a transformer, motor, or other inductive load.

A sustained arc ("sparking") suggests that the metal is vaporizing. That is a problem. A single flash at the moment of contact normally is no problem unless you do it repeatedly.
 
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