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Dead outlets on same breaker. Breaker on, outlets not. No GFCI.

Dead outlets on same breaker. Breaker on, outlets not. No GFCI.

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  #1  
Old 10-29-10, 08:21 PM
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Dead outlets on same breaker. Breaker on, outlets not. No GFCI.

I have 5 outlets that all are on the same breaker. The breaker has a 120V off of it, but the outlets are all dead. It sounds like an open circuit, but when I back power one of the outlets (male-to-male cord) the breaker shuts off. So there must be some continuity in the connections.

I can't find the junction box and the closest outlet to the breaker share the same wall (kitchen vs garage).

At this point, I'm ready to string a new line, but I'm worried there's a short somewhere in the connection that would still be supplied by stringing new wire.

Any good ways to trace a wire through a wall to find the break?
 
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  #2  
Old 10-29-10, 08:26 PM
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The electrician I called wants to start knocking holes in the walls. Hoping for something more elegant.
 
  #3  
Old 10-29-10, 08:58 PM
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I'll take a good educated guess that you got an open neutral
you may have continuity on the hot side and hence when you back fed the circuit from a different leg from another circuit you got leg A and B meeting, and thus the circuit breaker tripped.

the lose neutral can be at the panel at the busbar, or in the 1st receptacle in the run

an inexpensive 3 led plug in tester will tell you if you got an open neutral

do you have copper or aluminum wiring? I have seen plenty of broken neutrals in panels and receptacles ( especially when they are wire through the receptacle as opposed to pigtailed to ), more so when they are back stabbed connections.
 
  #4  
Old 10-29-10, 09:43 PM
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What exactly do you mean by backpowering one of the outlets? Applying power to your suspect receptacle from another receptaclel? Not a good thing to do, as you are probably creating a dead short across your 240, I'd bet. Always potential danger in such activities. See if you can determine were the closest outlet box is in that string/branch. Maybe you haven't located the first one in line on that branch circuit?
 
  #5  
Old 10-29-10, 10:03 PM
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And as we always council, Move any back-stabs to the screws and replace all wire nuts. Don't forget any switches or lights on the same breaker.
 
  #6  
Old 10-29-10, 10:05 PM
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I would strongly suggest a safer method of troubleshooting instead of trying to use a suicide cord.

This is an accident waiting to happen.

In a properly wired circuit all the access you need to the wiring should be in accessible junction boxes.

I would start with the first non-working or last working receptacle and look for a loose connection.
 
  #7  
Old 10-29-10, 10:41 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. No backstabs in any outlet. All pigtailed and secured. Checked them. I figured that the suicide cord was the fastest way to test that the visible outlets were intact.

breaker (off) -- outlets x 5 -- suicide (back fed power).

All outlets work.

The electrician said that there may be an outlet/junction box behind our built-in oven. It's about 250 lbs to move... Not the most accessible place, but I guess it still meets code
 
  #8  
Old 10-30-10, 01:54 AM
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Bad T-Tap connectors

Found the problem. It was a T-tap connector at the start of the circuit that melted. Pigtailed the wires together and it's now golden!
 
  #9  
Old 10-30-10, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by house_md View Post
Found the problem. It was a T-tap connector at the start of the circuit that melted. Pigtailed the wires together and it's now golden!
Glad you got it. Have to say I never saw a T-tap used on 120v wiring. Pros is that even code permitted? Was this in a Jbox
 
  #10  
Old 10-30-10, 10:07 AM
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I am wondering if this is one of the Tyco type connections used in a manufactured or modular type home.

Similar to these.

208294-2 Product Details - Tyco Electronics
 
  #11  
Old 10-30-10, 02:22 PM
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It was actually a "tap splice connector" not a t-tap connector, which I've used in automotive applications. It looks like this:

Gardner Bender 20-1210 Tap Splice Connector Yellow 12 To 10 Gauge #6752505 at HardwareAndTools.com

According to the manufacturers web site, these are rated to 600V and 221 deg F.

The tap splice was behind a switch.

Wiring:

Breaker --> Light switch --> garbage disposal.

The tap splice was on the live wire, before the switch, which then supplied all my outlets.

Oh well... live and learn. Thanks again!
 
  #12  
Old 10-30-10, 04:14 PM
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I would certainly replace that connector with wire nuts. I am not sure it is for use with solid conductors.
 
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