Outlet Not Working

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  #1  
Old 05-29-10, 12:17 PM
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Outlet Not Working

Hello,

Here is the background of my problem:

I have an outlet on the exterior of my house that is not working. I tested the outlet with a voltage meter and it is not getting power. I disconnected the outlet and tested the raw wire and it isn't getting any power.

I traced this wire to another outlet on the inside of my house. On this outlet, the top plug has power but the bottom does not. I took the outlet out and this is what I saw:

You can see that there are 3 sets of wires coming into this box: 2 from the top that have black/white/red/ground, and one from the bottom that is just black/white/ground. The wire on the bottom is the one that goes to my dead outlet outside.

The back of my outlet on the inside (the one that is working on top but not on bottom) looks like this:

You can see that the top half (the one that is working) has a white/black wire going to it and the bottom half, which is not working, just has the red wire going to it.

Anyways, my question is: How do I fix the wiring so that both the top/bottom half of the inside outlet works and how do I get the power to go out to my outdoor outlet via that wire on the bottom? All three sets of wires are spliced together (see image below) so I'm guessing the reason power isn't going to the outside has to do with the way everything is plugged into my inside outlet.

Image of splices:

Thanks for taking the time to look at this for me! I am a competent but amateur do-it-yourselfer and I've never come across anything like this.

Reed
 
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  #2  
Old 05-29-10, 12:43 PM
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Just guessing until the Pro's show up...but I wonder if the bottom half is controlled by a switch?

Are the tabs on the sides of the outlet intact or is one broken off?

Is this a new house for you...or a new problem in an old house?
 
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Old 05-29-10, 01:45 PM
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An exterior receptacle in a newer house would be GFCI protected. If that is the correct source it doesn't appear to be but it's best to start by checking all GFCI. Bathrooms basements, garage, kitchens, attic and the one you didn't know about because it is hidden behind something.

Next obvious cause is the backstab connections at the receptacle. They are a known cause of failure. Move all wires to the screws.

Next remove the wire nuts at the second receptacle and make sure there is no corrosion in the wire nut and all wires are actually touching.

As Gunguy suggested check for a broken tab on the brass side. That would indicate half the inside receptacle is switched.
 
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Old 05-29-10, 03:32 PM
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Are the tabs on the interior outlet intact.? If they are broke, then that outlet is 'split' - the top having constant power and the bottom controlled by a switch in the house. My presumption is that the exterior lamp is tied into the bottom outlet and hense is controlled by the interior switch.
.
Have you tried different switches in your house to see if the bottom outlet (inside) works...and/or the exterior lamp does as well. ??
 
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Old 05-29-10, 03:47 PM
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Looks as if the left (hot) tab has been broken off, so switch controlled and GFCI protected. You will need to check GFCI's in the garage, basement, etc to see if one is tripped that covers that receptacle.
 
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Old 05-29-10, 07:49 PM
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Thank you all for your replies! I love this forum.

Per Ray2047's suggestion, I checked all of the other GFCI outlets and one in the garage wasn't working either. I flipped the GFCI breaker off and back on and they all worked... What a simple solution.

Thanks!
 
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Old 05-29-10, 08:06 PM
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Glad you got it. Thanks for letting us know. I would suggest you replace the cover gasket on the outside receptacle.
 
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