replaced outlets, still dead....why ?

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Old 11-11-07, 03:41 PM
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replaced outlets, still dead....why ?

This old house (60 years in age) continues to confound in the electrical department. I've got not one, but two separate outlets that have "died"....and in their death, they did not trip a circuit breaker. I tried replacing the outlets themselves....to no avail. There is a possibility that these outlets are controlled by a switch....but of course, we're not sure about this.
My question is: Could the switches have gone bad ? What are the chances ?
How to diagnose / fix this problem ?
We had a new 200 amp service installed about 4 years ago....but these problems have occurred just recently.
One dead outlet is downstairs, one is upstairs...unlikely to be on the same circuit.
This is very strange, no ?
 
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Old 11-11-07, 03:56 PM
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This is not strange at all. The most likely explanation is that a wire has become disconnected at some other location on the circuit. It would be the location on the circuit just before the location where you have a problem.

Test the wires to these locations for power. Test between the hot and neutral and between the hot and ground. If there is no ground then test between the hot and a known good ground. This will help you figure out if the neutral is bad or the hot wire. Then check the other locations on the circuit for a disconnected wire.
 
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Old 11-11-07, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft View Post
This is not strange at all. The most likely explanation is that a wire has become disconnected at some other location on the circuit. It would be the location on the circuit just before the location where you have a problem.
Test the wires to these locations for power. Test between the hot and neutral and between the hot and ground. If there is no ground then test between the hot and a known good ground. This will help you figure out if the neutral is bad or the hot wire. Then check the other locations on the circuit for a disconnected wire.
Thanks much...and this all makes sense....but WHEW, you've just given me the awful job of tip-toeing on the joists in the attic, crawling on my knees (ouch !), and trying to track down the feeders for the outlets. There is no other way, is there ?
 
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Old 11-11-07, 04:57 PM
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Receptacles are usually wired sequentially around the room. Try checking the receptacles on either side of the non working ones.
If the receptacles are wired using the back stab push in connections move the wires to the screws. Back stabs are very common cause of this problem.
 
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Old 11-11-07, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by joed View Post
Receptacles are usually wired sequentially around the room. Try checking the receptacles on either side of the non working ones.
If the receptacles are wired using the back stab push in connections move the wires to the screws. Back stabs are very common cause of this problem.
Nope. No backstabs on these old receptacles....and anyway, I replaced each bad outlet with new screw connection types.
Unfortunately, neither bad outlet has any "related" or near-by outlets....that's the strange thing. One's in a hallway, the other in a foyer.
 
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Old 11-11-07, 07:38 PM
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"Nearby" also includes the room on the opposite side of the wall.

If there are two cables in the box, then they are daisy-chained. If there is only one cable, then they may be octopus-wired from the ceiling.
 
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Old 11-11-07, 10:18 PM
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In old houses as John said they could be from the ceiling. More then once in old houses I have found the problem of a dead receptacle to be in a ceiling light fixture box sometimes a couple of rooms distance.
 
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Old 11-12-07, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
"Nearby" also includes the room on the opposite side of the wall.

If there are two cables in the box, then they are daisy-chained. If there is only one cable, then they may be octopus-wired from the ceiling.
Yepper.....both have 2 pairs...so daisy chain likely.
Thanks John.
 
 

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