Outlet Issue

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  #1  
Old 07-17-07, 07:46 AM
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Outlet Issue

Yesterday all the outlets in the two back bedrooms of our home went out. All the overhead lighting in both rooms still works. We assumed it was a breaker problem. We found three breakers in our box that didn't seem to turn anything off or on in any other rooms. So I replaced all three of those breakers. Nothing happened. Any advice on whether there's another problem that it could be or what might be happening here? I did get the same style breakers to replace what was in the box, although one that was in the box is from a different manufacturer than the other two and doesn't say what amperage it is. I figured since all the ones that did have an amperage on them said 20 that this one would be as well, but I don't know if that could be a problem. Thanks in advance for any help.
 
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Old 07-17-07, 07:53 AM
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Before Bob says it, you should have labelled your panel directory so that you would have known which breaker to look for when you had a problem.

First thing is to double check ALL the breakers to see if they are tripped. Some tripped positions are not that different than the on position are are easily overlooked.

I need to get a plug-in tester with 3 neon lights to start troubleshooting your problem.

How old is your house?
 
  #3  
Old 07-17-07, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
Before Bob says it, you should have labelled your panel directory so that you would have known which breaker to look for when you had a problem.

First thing is to double check ALL the breakers to see if they are tripped. Some tripped positions are not that different than the on position are are easily overlooked.

I need to get a plug-in tester with 3 neon lights to start troubleshooting your problem.

How old is your house?
Built in 1967. It does have the "old" style breaker box, with the main power being shut off by pulling out the big block with the two big fuses.
 
  #4  
Old 07-17-07, 08:24 AM
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You most likely wasted your time replacing the breakers. There is likely nothing wrong with the original ones. By doing so you may very well have created a fire hazard. I recommend that you re-install the original breakers. Replacing breakers requires that you do with the proper replacement.

Your problem likely is an open circuit. That means that a wire has become disconnected (completely or intermittently) somewhere on the circuit. To fix this type of problem you need to find the loose or disconnected wire. You will need to check everything on the circuit in question, including locations where there is no problem. Certainly start with the locations where you have no power. One common cause of this is a failed back stab connection.

With the power off, open each junction box, one at a time. Move any back stabbed connections to the screw terminals and remake any wire nutted connections with new wire nuts. Then turn the power back on and test to see if the problem is corrected.

Since you have no idea what circuit breaker controls these receptacles, you will need to turn off the main breaker for the entire house each time. Further, if you don't find the problem at a non-working receptacle you will need to check other junction boxes in the house.

Now you know one reason you should have completely and thoroughly identified what is on each and every circuit in your house after you moved in. Your work is much, much harder since you didn't do this.

The other reason to identify what is on each and every circuit is that the information could save your life. After you find and fix this problem, take a few hours and do what you should have done previously, identify what circuit breaker controls each and every recepacle, light and appliance in your house.
 
  #5  
Old 07-20-07, 12:42 PM
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I didn't call a Electrician

Boy this must be a very common issue. I had same problem earlyer and "Bob" and others helped me with our problem.
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=312055
I'm in a process of getting some referance and fix this problem myself.
BTW this may be a stuppid question but what is a "back stubbed connection"?
 
  #6  
Old 07-20-07, 12:48 PM
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Cheaper receptacles (and switches) have back stab connectors. These are small holes in the back of the receptacle where a 14 gage wire can be pushed in (or stabbed in). A small spring holds the wire against a metal plate. You insert a small straight screwdriver into a rectangular hole next to the connector to release the spring and remove the wire.

These back stab connections fail because the spring weakens over time. This is hastened over time by the heat that is generated by larger amounts of current.

Some people like the back stabs because they are faster and easier than bending the wire and tightening a screw. This is probably true for the average homeowner.

A better choice than the back stab is the screw terminal. An even better choice is a back wire receptacle where the wire is inserted behind a small plate, and the screw tightens the wire between the plate and a fixed piece of copper.
 
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Old 07-20-07, 01:30 PM
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Smile

Thank You Very Much!
 
  #8  
Old 07-20-07, 08:14 PM
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"Boy this must be a very common issue. I had same problem earlyer and "Bob" and others helped me with our problem."


In order to give J Toyota an idea of just how common this type of connection failure is, the electrical inspector in my area is giving any and all
contractors who use this method a very hard time during inspection. At this time he is stopping just short of failing the work for this but only because the power company ( which is responsible for all electrical inspections for us) nor the Canadian Electrical code has any specific rules outlawing this type of installation.

I personally hope they mandate against the "backstab" and force all contractors to splice, wirenut and pigtail all recptacles. This is only my opinion and I'm sure some of the regulars on here will disagree, but its the only way I will install any recptacles.
 
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