outlet-half of it gives power


Old 04-29-07, 09:56 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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outlet-half of it gives power

I have a couple of receptacles that work, or don't work like this- if I plug something into the bottom outlet it works. Plug it into the top, it does'nt work. I don't know if they've always been like this because I seldom used them. Other receptacles seem to work fine. Probably a small problem and I don't have to use these receptacles but I don't like funny electric problems. Also, I wonder if it is safe to use just the working half or should I avoid the receptacle altogether? I plug my dogs heated bed into that and I don't want him going up in smoke! Thanks!
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Old 04-29-07, 09:58 AM
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Look for a switch nearby. Most likely one that you've always wondered what it did.
Old 04-29-07, 02:00 PM
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Location: Central New York State
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I agree, look for a switch. If that doesn't work then examine the wiring to the receptacles and report back what you find IN DETAIL.
Old 04-29-07, 04:36 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Sometimes people run two circuits to one outlet making actually two dedicated circuits if this was done they would have had to cut the buss bar between the two plugs, if thats what has happened you may simply have a breaker trioped or turned off.
Never the less it would be worth a closer look you really need to pull the plug out or have it pulled out and see if this is the case. If it isn't the case change the plug anyway.
It should be fairly easy to tell but you really need to make sure you have no voltage to circuit while you are working on it.
You will need a volt meter to know for sure. If you only have one circuit there change the plug. You should have three wires probably one black one white and one green or bare. If you have more than this you probably have more than one circuit if thats the case look for an additional breaker.
Old 04-29-07, 04:50 PM
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Location: NE Wis / Paris France{ In France for now }
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This what i will do first

Look for the switch what it never been " used " useally pretty close to the switched repectaile[s]

once you find the switch and if do not work then come back and post it what you find.

the typical way for swtiched repectailes will have 3 wires [ i will ingore the ground wire for a sec ] on silver or white colour screw you will see one or two white wires that fine on that side.

But get on other side of repectaile you will see yellowish or brass colour screw becarefull there [ make sure you turn the breaker off or remove the fuse first before do this ] and look at the brass screw[s] you should see black and red if red then you know it is switched but make a note on there is very small jumper band it called tab.

If the tab is removed then you have switched repectale you may have to look at other repectailes too if you have loose wire[s],

I know it will take time but it can be found one way or other so be paitent with it and you will see a wirenut with pigtail [ a short wire from wirenut to the repectaile ] sometime they can get loosen over the time as well.

but before you start make sure you write it down on peice of paper how it hook up so you dont get all mixed up later on the time with switched repectale circuits

Merci , Marc

PS please let us know what is your plan
Old 04-30-07, 08:31 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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Okay...coming back red-faced... every time I mentioned receptacle I should have said wall OUTLET. There is no switch nearby that powers the outlets.
Still, there is a lot of useful info here you've all given for me to check out. I'll
look at these things and get back to you. I appreciate your leads- this should be interesting.
Old 04-30-07, 08:50 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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Receptacle is the proper term.

Outlet is a more general term that can can mean a receptacle, or several other things.

If you don;t have a mystery switch, consider that there may have been one. Is there a now a ceiling light or fan? It's possible that someone changed the function of the switch and didn't bother to fix the receptacles.

Consider also that someone replaced the receptacles and didn't know what they were doing.

Either way, a simple look at the receptacles will point you in the right direction.
Old 05-16-07, 08:00 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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Thumbs up electrical outlet

Thanks Bob. I think you make a good point about the change in function. Just before I bought my house, the previous owners converted the garage into a family room and perhaps no-one followed through on this part of the connection. We are in working order now. Thanks to everyone.
Old 05-16-07, 05:04 PM
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What did you find? How did you solve the problem?
Old 05-20-07, 05:42 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Indiana
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Don't you just hate that......interesting problem plus alot of good advise = problem solved. but never find out what the problem was.
Old 05-21-07, 08:58 AM
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Location: United States
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Kind of like reading a mystery novel and finding the last few pages ripped out. Or watching a movie you recorded and finding out that the tape ended a few minutes before the movie did.

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