help dad solve circuit problem please

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  #1  
Old 08-22-06, 02:18 AM
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help dad solve circuit problem please

in my room, there is an AC Outlet (120 Volts - allows two plugs) on the wall and when it was "working" it would act funny; when i plugged just one accessory into it, it would work fine. for example, when i plugged my fan into it, the fan would power on and work fine. however, when i tried to plug a second item into it (my cell phone charger for example), both the fan and the cell phone charger would not be working. sometimes, when i jiggled a plug, both outlets would begin to work, but most of the time both outlets would not work at the same time. i'm not sure what was causing them to be intermittent like that but i'm thinking it either has to do with overloading or shorting?? i noticed that when i kept trying to jiggle so much, that the circuit breaker outside the house would go off. when this happened, the outlet im talking about would be completely shut off and so would the lights in the hallway and the lights in one of the bathrooms. we would go outside to the breaker box and flip a certain switch back to ON and everything would be fine (except for the outlet in my room acting weird). well, the other day i was trying to get the outlets to work simutaneously again (by jiggling and unplugging and plugging back in), and this all happened again EXCEPT this time when i go out to the breaker box, there is nothing switched to OFF in the breaker box and the circuit i was talkng about earlier, would not be working (bathroom lights, hallway light, and the outlet receptacle in my room) again.. my dad has tried checking the circuit breaker to see if it was damaged or bad itself and he said it seems to be OK. he then thought it would be some wiring that was on the roof and he said they all checked out to be OK. he's baffled at what the probem is, and this is the first time i've seen him stumped like this to be honest. i thought it might be the AC outlet receptacle in my room itself. i took it out the wall and saw that it has only ONE hot wire and ONE ground and the universal ground conductor connected to it. im not sure if this is incorrect or not, but when i check other receptacles around the house i see that they have TWO hot wires, TWO grounds, and the single universal ground connector. could this mean that when i was trying to use the second plug on the receptacle, i was overloading the circuit?? i'm not real knowledgable in home electrical systems so any input will be GREATLY appreciated.. this problem has been on-going for about two weeks now and has been a pester being not able to use that bathroom and other lighting reasons. what is my dad overlooking??
 
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  #2  
Old 08-22-06, 02:36 AM
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Just curious where you are from. We say hot, neutral, and ground in the USA instead of hot ground and universal ground.

Many of the outlets in your house are being used to feed the circuit through the outlet. One each hot and neutral are comming from the direction of the panel, the others are feeding other things further away from the panel. The rec in your room is either at the end of a circuit, or the wires are pigtailed inside the box.

The rec in your bedroom is bad, and should have been replaced before you started all that giggling. This is a dangerous situation. You could get hurt, or cause a fire playing with it.

If you have overworked that breaker it could be bad now also. One other thing is that sometimes when a breaker trips you must turn it all the way off before turning it back on.

You should not have any wireing on your roof. I do not understand why your dad was looking there.

Bottom line is that at very least the rec needs replaced. You may also need to replace the breaker.
 
  #3  
Old 08-22-06, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by jwhite
Just curious where you are from. We say hot, neutral, and ground in the USA instead of hot ground and universal ground.

Many of the outlets in your house are being used to feed the circuit through the outlet. One each hot and neutral are comming from the direction of the panel, the others are feeding other things further away from the panel. The rec in your room is either at the end of a circuit, or the wires are pigtailed inside the box.

The rec in your bedroom is bad, and should have been replaced before you started all that giggling. This is a dangerous situation. You could get hurt, or cause a fire playing with it.

If you have overworked that breaker it could be bad now also. One other thing is that sometimes when a breaker trips you must turn it all the way off before turning it back on.

You should not have any wireing on your roof. I do not understand why your dad was looking there.

Bottom line is that at very least the rec needs replaced. You may also need to replace the breaker.
im from the USA LOL i wasn't sure what the other wire was called didn't know the wire that goes to the silver screw was called neutral; im use to toying with DC stuff positive and ground. but anyway, is there a way to check to c if the receptacle is bad? i have a multimeter and know how to check for continuity if that will help. my dad has checked the rec in my room and didn't see anything wrong with it. the wires on the roof my dad was referring to was probably wires going through the ceiling or something of that nature. he speaks to me in our native asian language and well, im not very fluent so i'm not quite sure what he was saying about that part. my dad has tried flipping all the switches in that breaker box to OFF and then back to ON with no luck. we can replace the rec and the circuit breaker but my dad has checked the circuit breaker and it is perfectly fine. for now, we have the rec disconnected and my dad has even tried a different cuircuit breaker with no luck. any other suggestions??
 
  #4  
Old 08-22-06, 04:22 AM
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You have an intermittent connection at a receptacle, most likely the one in the bedroom where the problems are. Check that receptacle and, if necessary, all others on the circuit. Remake any back stabbed connections so that they use the screw terminals. Remake or at least verify all wire nut connections.
 
  #5  
Old 08-22-06, 08:22 AM
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Best if you refer to the conductors by color-- "there is a receptacle connected to 2 Black wires, 2 White wires, and a bare Ground wire."

Exactly what wires connect to the "problem" receptacle?
 
  #6  
Old 08-22-06, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by PATTBAA
Best if you refer to the conductors by color-- "there is a receptacle connected to 2 Black wires, 2 White wires, and a bare Ground wire."

Exactly what wires connect to the "problem" receptacle?
the wires that connect to the "problem" receptacle are:

1 black wire
1 white wire
and a bare ground wire

even if this rec is the problem and needs to be replaced, we still have the problem of the rest of the circuit not being on. any ideas on troubleshooting or narrowing the problem down??
 
  #7  
Old 08-22-06, 12:35 PM
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Try turning the circuit breaker completely OFF and then on. Some breakers appear to be on when they are tripped.

If that is not the issue, then look for an OPEN somewhere on the circuit. Check everything on the circuit, working or not. Look for the problem as a wire that is loose or completely disconnected.
 
  #8  
Old 08-22-06, 12:54 PM
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Noob. How is your dad checking the breaker and rec. I wonder because you said the rec was working on and off when you wiggled it, but your dad said it looked fine. These things cannot always be checked by looking at them. Some kind of electrical tester should be involved.

Tell us specificly what was tested. Where the test leads were placed, and what readings you got.

Also look in the rec box in the bed room where the wiggling was done. Are there more wires tucked up in back there with wire nuts on them?
 
  #9  
Old 08-22-06, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jwhite
Noob. How is your dad checking the breaker and rec. I wonder because you said the rec was working on and off when you wiggled it, but your dad said it looked fine. These things cannot always be checked by looking at them. Some kind of electrical tester should be involved.

Tell us specificly what was tested. Where the test leads were placed, and what readings you got.

Also look in the rec box in the bed room where the wiggling was done. Are there more wires tucked up in back there with wire nuts on them?
i didn't watch my dad check the rec and breaker box but he's been a mechanic all his life and use to fix TVs for a living so a multimeter is one of his main tools.. i believe he went at them with a multimeter. i will confirm this in an hour or so im going to go to work and c him there. yea, you have a good point, i wiggled and it would come on n off yet my dad says it checks out ok which doesn't really make sense.. with that i have come to two hypothesis'/conclusions: 1) could it be that since theres only one hot and one neutral hooked up to the rec it was overloading when two accessories were present (thus, it would turn off maybe when i wiggled one plug out of socket)? or 2) the rec is shorting INSIDE itself somewhere and i was causing a short to happen intermittently by wiggling??

anyway i took out the rec like u said and found no more wires tucked or anythig of the sort. here's a pic of it:



thanks for the help so far guys i really appreciate it

PS - do you guys see the pictures? i only see the links to it. if not, please copy n paste the URLs
 
  #10  
Old 08-22-06, 04:01 PM
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The pictues do not work but I did go look at them.

One of your suggestions is probably correct. If it were a short you should have heard it when it popped, if the music was not turned up too loud.
 
  #11  
Old 08-22-06, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jwhite
The pictues do not work but I did go look at them.

One of your suggestions is probably correct. If it were a short you should have heard it when it popped, if the music was not turned up too loud.
yea now that u mention it im almost certain it was a short. i could hear a spark sometimes when wiggling. foolishly, i didn't stop wiggling even though i heard it. so can someone answer this question to clear the second hypothesis up:

the receptacle has outlets for TWO plugs. If i want to be able to use both plug outlets AT THE SAME TIME, do i absolutely need to have TWO hot wires TWO neutral wires and a ground? or will ONE hot wire,ONE neutral wire, and the ground be sufficient enough in supplying two plugs????

PS - why aren't VB codes and IMG codes working for me???? and i don't see quotes either i just see the quote brackets..
 
  #12  
Old 08-22-06, 06:45 PM
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the reason some of the outlets have 2 of each wire, is because the power comes to the outlet from somewhere on one set of wires, then continues on somewhere else on the other set of wires. your outlet is the end of that particular run.
you said that the lights in a bathroom are out - is there an outlet in the bathroom too? is it out? outlets in the bathroom should be either on a gfi breaker, or have one built into them. if the outlet in the bathroom is out too, and it has a gfi breaker in it, then resetting the breaker should restore power to the circuit. i've not seen them wired that way before, but it's possible. hope this helps some.
 
  #13  
Old 08-22-06, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by microguru
the reason some of the outlets have 2 of each wire, is because the power comes to the outlet from somewhere on one set of wires, then continues on somewhere else on the other set of wires. your outlet is the end of that particular run.
you said that the lights in a bathroom are out - is there an outlet in the bathroom too? is it out? outlets in the bathroom should be either on a gfi breaker, or have one built into them. if the outlet in the bathroom is out too, and it has a gfi breaker in it, then resetting the breaker should restore power to the circuit. i've not seen them wired that way before, but it's possible. hope this helps some.
yes there is also an outlet in the bathroom and it is also out. it is a GFI breaker i believe (it has two buttons - reset and test).. we have tried pressing the RESET on it with no luck. however, for what it's worth, there have been times when pressing the RESET button in that bathroom did the trick.. this time is not one of them. but i dont think those times were caused by the outlet in my room, either. could've been, but not sure. also, my dad checked that breaker and said it checked out to be OK.
 
  #14  
Old 08-23-06, 08:44 AM
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The device into which a cord-plug is inserted is a "receptacle". If the device can accept two cord-plugs, it's a "duplex" receptacle.

An "outlet-box" is where devices-- switches & receptacles-- connect to the conductors of the cables routed inside the walls,for outlet-box- to - outlet-box inter-connections.

You MAY have a 2-device outlet-box with TWO duplex receptacles connected.

Please verify-- thanks!!!
 
  #15  
Old 08-23-06, 09:09 AM
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Noob, I suspect you have worn out the breaker. It is time to call in a pro. I think this thread has already coverd all we can tell over the internt.
 
  #16  
Old 08-23-06, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by PATTBAA
The device into which a cord-plug is inserted is a "receptacle". If the device can accept two cord-plugs, it's a "duplex" receptacle.

An "outlet-box" is where devices-- switches & receptacles-- connect to the conductors of the cables routed inside the walls,for outlet-box- to - outlet-box inter-connections.

You MAY have a 2-device outlet-box with TWO duplex receptacles connected.

Please verify-- thanks!!!
PATTBAA if you read all of the above posts and look at the pictues posted you will no longer be unsure as to what the OP is discribing.
 
  #17  
Old 08-23-06, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jwhite
Noob, I suspect you have worn out the breaker. It is time to call in a pro. I think this thread has already coverd all we can tell over the internt.
yea my dad is pretty busy and is going to take another shot at it sometime when he has time, so i'll let you guys know when i get some more info on our situation.. he's not going to hire a pro because i dont think there's ever been a problem around the house that he couldn't fix so i know he's not going to want to hire one. i'm certain he'll pin the problem down in a matter of time, i was hoping someone here might know exactly what it might be to speed up the process some so i could shoot him some ideas and i will. so yea thanks for all you guys' help and i'll be back with an update in a matter of time. thanks again!
 
  #18  
Old 08-23-06, 01:40 PM
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We have already told you WHAT the problem is, you just need to find WHERE it is, and then repair it.
 
  #19  
Old 08-23-06, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft
We have already told you WHAT the problem is, you just need to find WHERE it is, and then repair it.
...and hopefully before the house catches on fire.


Receptacles cost about $1.50. To eliminate that possibility, replace all the receptacles on that run (and make sure power is off--kill the main breaker if necessary and do it during the day). While doing this, you will insure good connections at all receptacles. Inspect the wire ends and insulation on the wires inside the boxes. Make sure all terminal screws are very tight around the wires which are to be wrapped clockwise around the screw. Also, circuit breakers cost about $3.50, but be sure you know what you are doing before replacing these. It would be a good idea to pick up a DIY household wiring book. They have many illustrations, plus safety and the basics are explained, including terminology.

BTW, when your breaker trips, the GFI receptacle will need to be reset also. Nothing beyond the GFI on that run will work until you reset it too.

Don't forget--AC power can kill you.
 
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