Electrical Problem

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  #1  
Old 10-27-07, 08:58 AM
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Electrical Problem

Yesterday i was in my office i put my lamp on and then put a piece of paper in shredder then all of a sudden lamp and shredder went dead. Plugged shredder in other outlet still works. There is no tripped breakers but there is a hole circuit out about 10 outlets and lights in my boiler room are out. How should i go about diagnosing what happened. I believe i should start taking apart outlets to check for bad connections or maybe a bad breaker. I have no idea which breaker is hooked up to this circuit is there anyway to figure it out?

I don't believe there is really any splice boxes because the ciruit is for basement and outlets on main floor
 
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  #2  
Old 10-27-07, 09:09 AM
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Sometimes breakers trip but don't move. Check them all. But that is likely not the problem.

I'd check the receptacles on the circuit for bad backstab connections. This can be in a working or noon-working device.
 
  #3  
Old 10-27-07, 09:29 AM
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The first test is testing for voltage at the circuit-breaker terminals in the panel, prior to seraching for a defective connection beyond the panel.

What have you for performing this test ( if anything )?
 
  #4  
Old 10-27-07, 09:43 AM
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Any fuses anywhere in your electrical system?

steve
 
  #5  
Old 10-27-07, 09:46 AM
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Lecture time: You should know what circuit breaker controls this circuit. You should know what is on this circuit. Everything that is on this circuit. You should have figured this out shortly after moving in. Everybody needs to know this.

If it's not a breaker that is tripped, then it is a circuit that has opened. You will have to check EVERY junction box on the circuit. Start with the ones that are out. If that doesn't fix it then move to the locations that work. Since you don;t know what is on the circuit, you will have to check every box in your house. Now you know why you should have mapped out your circuits. The other reason is that the information could ave your life.

As you are checking move every back stabbed connection to the screw terminals and remake every wire nutted connection with new wires nuts. Shut off your main breaker before doing anything (or shut off every breaker in your panel).
 
  #6  
Old 10-27-07, 10:17 AM
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I have everything i would need to diagnose this problem fluke meters solonoid electrical tester.I have electrical experience so i know what i am doing. I tried resetting all the breakers in the house but that didn't help. I should have made a list of what controls what but never got around to it. The house is very large and has a very large panel box. Thats probably why i kept putting it off lol

To me it seems like the whole circuit is out i don't believe anything else is working on the circuit. There are about 8 outlets and a set of light downstairs out in my boiler room.

I had something happen like this at my brothers house a while ago i lost a neutral so i was able to find out what circuit breaker it was by testing for power between the hot and ground. and then starrt turning circuit breakers off assuming or hoping it is a lost neutral i can do the same thing here correct?

If i am able to locate what circuit it is how do i check for power from the circuit breaker i am assuming hot lead from tester to screw on circuit breaker and other lead to neutral bar am i correct?

Any other ideas?
 
  #7  
Old 10-27-07, 11:51 AM
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Don't use the Fluke. Use the solenoid tester.
 
  #8  
Old 10-27-07, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft View Post
Lecture time: You should know what circuit breaker controls this circuit. You should know what is on this circuit. Everything that is on this circuit. You should have figured this out shortly after moving in. Everybody needs to know this.

If it's not a breaker that is tripped, then it is a circuit that has opened. You will have to check EVERY junction box on the circuit. Start with the ones that are out. If that doesn't fix it then move to the locations that work. Since you don;t know what is on the circuit, you will have to check every box in your house. Now you know why you should have mapped out your circuits. The other reason is that the information could ave your life.

As you are checking move every back stabbed connection to the screw terminals and remake every wire nutted connection with new wires nuts. Shut off your main breaker before doing anything (or shut off every breaker in your panel).
Great idea, but I've never seen anyone do it. If the installing electrician didn't do it, then it's not done, or just a couple things are labeled, from my experience.
 
  #9  
Old 10-27-07, 05:01 PM
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Keyword here is "BASEMENT"

possibly a tripped GFI ?????----


Without taking anything away from the severe nature of the topic......

Dont ever mention that you dont know what breaker is which in front of "RACRAFT" .../......
Get it mapped out....ASAP...... It is a critical "TO-DO" item when moving in .
 
  #10  
Old 10-30-07, 10:06 AM
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Great idea, but I've never seen anyone do it.
Now you have! Hopefully none of us who have been hanging around here for a while have neglected the job. I know mine's labeled. Welcome to the forum.

Doug M.
 
  #11  
Old 10-30-07, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by dougm View Post
Now you have! Hopefully none of us who have been hanging around here for a while have neglected the job. I know mine's labeled. Welcome to the forum.

Doug M.
Guess I better get hot, before Racraft comes around for an inspection
 
  #12  
Old 11-02-07, 11:34 PM
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Today i got to work on the problem a little i was able to find out what circuit breaker controls the circuit and it is the whole circuit is out. I have one of those plug in testers with the 3 lights and at first in one of the outlets it was telling me hot/ground reverse so i took apart every outlet on the circuit and started checking connections and now on the outlets i am getting an open neutral. maybe i don't know why it changed. On one outlet it is split one outlet is one a different circuit and works fine but the other one is on the dead circuit and for some reason i am getting nothing on this one it is not coming up even open neutral. I believe all the connections are tight none of the wires are shorted and everything is connected and tight all wirenuts are good in all outlet boxes. Took panel cover off and i used my solonoid tester on the circuit breaker and neutral and it is working in the panel.

Problem is not circuit breaker. Could it be a bad outlet should i try and change the outlets 1 by 1 and see if it helps? All wires in outlets are under screws none are backstabbed

I can't find any junction boxes at all for this circuit all outlets for this circuit are on main floor and it controls my basement boiler room lights. Is there a chance that I lost the neutral within the wire itself? Anyone have any ideas for me Thank You
 
  #13  
Old 11-03-07, 10:26 AM
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Hot ground reverse is the indication for an open neutral. If it is on every receptacle then the problem could be neutral wire connection in the panel. At least you know the breaker is good.
Do both halves of the split receptacle get their power from the same cable? Is there a red and black connected to the receptacle? If so make sure the tab on the silver side is still in place. This could be a multi wire branch circuit.
 
  #14  
Old 11-03-07, 10:57 AM
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Both of the outlets on the split recepticle are on seperate circuits. But for some reason i am not getting anything not even an open neutral on the outlet which is connected to the circuit i am having a problem with. I don't know what that means. I took panel cover off and the neutral looks like it is on the neutral bar good.

I took apart every recepticle on the circuit i know of and made sure all connections are tight under screws and all wires which have wirenuts and everything is good. I can't find any junction boxes anywhere other then maybe 1 which is in my boiler room connected to the lights which are dead.

If the whole circuit is dead does it mean there is a problem with the neutral wire from the panel to the first location it goes or could the problem be anywhere on the circuit?
 
  #15  
Old 11-03-07, 12:01 PM
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Could problem be a bad recepticle or odds are it can't be?

Any Ideas
 
  #16  
Old 11-03-07, 12:52 PM
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Receptacle

Is there a GFCI receptacle in this branch circuit? If so, make sure it is reset. If that does not help, try replacing the GFCI receptacle. Good luck.
 
  #17  
Old 11-03-07, 12:53 PM
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There is no GFCI on this circuit anywhere
 
  #18  
Old 11-03-07, 01:53 PM
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The hot ground reverse was an open neutral. Now you have an open hot. You just haven't found the bad junction box yet. It could be any junction box on the circuit including light fixtures and switches.
i stall don't understand what you have in that split receptacle. Is it two complet circuits with separate hots AND neutrals?
 
  #19  
Old 11-03-07, 02:10 PM
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On all recepticles on the circuit i have an open neutral except on one it is a split recepticle one plug is on a different circuit and the other one is one the circuit i am having the problem with for some reason i am not getting anything when i plug my tester into this plug. it has two hots and two neutrals. I have checked every outlet and i still can't find any junction boxes anywhere for this circuit. Whole complete circuit has open neutral so am i correct to think that problem is either in panel or between the panel and the first location it goes?
 
  #20  
Old 11-03-07, 06:10 PM
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Still looking for bad wire but still no luck. I rechecked all receptacles. No loose wires anywhere. I am still looking for a junction box but no luck. I am hoping that there is no hidden junction boxes i am missing.

Anyone have any ideas.

Could it be a bad receptacle? SHould i try and change the receptacles they look fine?

Since the whole circuit is out does this mean the problem is between the circuit breaker and the first location the wire goes?

Could the neutral wire of broke internally within the wire itself?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated
 
  #21  
Old 11-03-07, 06:11 PM
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The problem is in the last working junction box or the first not working junction box. If you can trace the cable routing this should help you narrow it down.
 
  #22  
Old 11-03-07, 06:18 PM
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If the problem is in the last working junction box which would be the panel i assume does this mean the problem is between the panel and the first location the wire goes too?

So i am assuming i should trace the wire from the panel to the first location the wire goes.

I will try that and tell you guys what happens thanks again
 
  #23  
Old 11-03-07, 07:11 PM
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as to the bad neutral wire somewhere in the run but not at a junction:

yes, it is possible but so very unlikely. I have only seen it a few times.

You need to get rid of the 3 prong tester for this problem.

Open the closest recep to the panel. Check for hot to ground and hot to neutral. If you have a continuity tester, turn off the circuit to this recep and any other breakers that are sharing the neutral (if there are any) and check for continuity from neutral to ground.

If you have continuity from neut to ground, both the neut and ground should be good back to the panel. Now, if you have no hot, then, obviously, you have an open hot wire somewhere between where you are and the panel. If you have no continuity neut to ground, then one or the other is bad. Try to find another close ground source and check the neut to ground that way. No continuity means bad neut to where you are.

Start looking for more junction boxes. If things don't work at the first recep out, then there is more than likely another j-box you are missing. Like others have said, it may be a light mount or a switch box.
 
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