circuit problem - unusual


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Old 11-08-08, 03:58 PM
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circuit problem - unusual

I have one circuit in our house that has gone out and back on two or three times without tripping. Perhaps a bad breaker? It's off and for a short time will come on again a couple times so far today. The breaker has not tripped.

Please offer suggestions for trouble shooting,

Thanks in advance,
Lance
 
  #2  
Old 11-08-08, 04:11 PM
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Would be interesting if you could establish a pattern for this. It could be a weak connection somewhere the breaks when it gets hot and remakes when it cools back down.

Dou you lose 100% of the circuit, i.e., exactly the same things you lose when you turn off the breaker? You might just have a bad connection to the breaker, or a bad connection between the breaker and the bus (possibly a pitted bus).
 
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Old 11-09-08, 08:36 AM
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It could be anything involving connections. The wire goes from the breaker to the first outlet, then on to the next outlet, then on to the next outlet. etc.

Sometimes there are junction boxes in the attic or basement along the way.

Sometimes "wire nutted" connections come loose.

Sometimes aluminum wire was used and these become oxidized.

Sometimes they install the wires into the "back hole" of each outlet and these connections can fail.

What I would suggest is when the power is working, find *every* outlet on that circuit by plugging things in and turning the breaker off/on.

Then when the power goes out, see which outlets are still working and which are not. If two outlets are still working, then problem might be with one of those outlets and the wires going on to the next outlet or an outlet right next to one of these.

If none of the outlets work, then check first outlet on either end.

If you are not comfortable doing electrical work, at least determine which outlets are working/not working, then call an electrician.

And same thing when checking the breaker for this circuit and the connections in the breaker panel.
 
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Old 11-09-08, 08:46 AM
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could his outlet just be too "stretched out"? Like when a receptacle gets old and worn it just doesn't hold a plug or cord in it anymore. Since its just held in there by tension, perhaps the metal holding it is too worn to hold.
 
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Old 11-09-08, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by TheCaptain View Post
could his outlet just be too "stretched out"? Like when a receptacle gets old and worn it just doesn't hold a plug or cord in it anymore. Since its just held in there by tension, perhaps the metal holding it is too worn to hold.
Yes that is another possibility. I like to replace these outlets with new. Makes daily life a lot less trouble free when things work properly!

Also if it is just one outlet having problems and say a lamp plugged in, there could be a problem with the lamp. The way to check this is to plug in a different lamp and see if the problem still occurs.

Actually what is this circuit anyway? Outlets? Lights? Both? Or something else?
 
  #6  
Old 11-21-08, 03:44 PM
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Circuit is all lights. Checked the first and last outlets and they are good. All the lights on the circuit go. The light fixtures and the oultets all show juice with a tester but the bulbs don't work except when the circuit comes on inexplicabbly. I changed the breaker too. I don't know what to check.
 
  #7  
Old 11-21-08, 06:01 PM
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I would think you have a bad neutral either at the panel or one of the first connections in the circuit.

B
 
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Old 11-22-08, 06:36 AM
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I don't mean to sound ignorant but, what the hell is a neutral?
 
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Old 11-22-08, 06:48 AM
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nevermind, I finally found a very good illustration/expanation at the following link
HOUSE :: ELECTRICITY :: DISTRIBUTION PANEL :: DISTRIBUTION PANEL image - Visual Dictionary Online

I'm still unsure how to proceed though. Any help would be most appreciated.
 
  #10  
Old 11-22-08, 09:08 AM
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First I learned all about electricity.

Then I learned how wiring should be done properly.

Then I understood how everything SHOULD work, and should be wired, what the voltages should be, etc.

THEN I could troubleshoot problems like this by testing what is not working (as it should be working), then find the problem.

So if you don't understand how these things work, how they should work, then I would suggest calling an electrician.
 
  #11  
Old 11-22-08, 03:14 PM
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Seems like a most prudent quote/advise.

Thanks all,

Lance
 
 

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