No Power - Breaker Not Tripped

Reply

  #1  
Old 08-29-13, 09:22 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3
No Power - Breaker Not Tripped

So I'm in a new to me home (build 1990) and troubleshooting an electrical problem.

The problem is in the 1/2 the Master, Master Closet, 1/2 the Guest Bedroom. I say half of each as the layout is basically M.Bedroom||M.Closet||G.Bedroom all sharing a wall (...and I assume circuit). The other two walls in each room and outlets work fine.

Anyhow, here's my issue. Installed a new fan (fan and light), everything was fine post-install. Fine for a couple weeks. Everytime I tuned off the fan, I used the handheld controller without issue.

One day I use the wall switch, and bam, power is out. I check all the wiring on the fan - seems fine - check the wiring at the switch - seems fine. Put everything back together, flip the breaker (I shut it off to work) and viola, power back. Not sure exactly what I did to "fix" it - but I assumed I did something right.

Fast forward another week. Wife was drying her hair with a hair dryer plugged into an outlet on the circuit which is now out, and boom, no power. Hrm. Go down to the fuse box, no tripped breaker, but I can see some browning on the breaker - decide to swap it. New breaker in, and shazaam, power back (this was the day before last).

Today, in the Guest Bedroom I plug in an alarm clock NOT ON THE SAME CIRCUIT, and the fan light goes out, but immediately comes back on. Strange. Think nothing of it. An hour later, my wife flips the light in the bedroom, and kabloom, no power. Breaker is not tripped, not browned and still has power (tested with pen tester).

Now the $20,000 question: where should I start? Why would three different outlets throw this circuit, but not the breaker? I know I should probably go back to the fan install, but, what am I looking for?

I do have a multi-meter and I do have a non-contact pen-style voltage tester.

Thanks.

PS There are a couple GCFI's in the bathroom (neither one on this circuit) but neither one of those does anything (other than what they're supposed to) when tripped/untripped.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 08-29-13, 09:37 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,041
Now the $20,000 question: where should I start?
Last working receptacle furthest from the breaker box. Imagine a line from the breaker box to the first non working receptacle and start with the closest working receptacle in the direction of the breaker box. Only a guess of course but you must start somewhere. Move any backstabs to the screws.

would three different outlets throw this circuit, but not the breaker?
A breaker only trips because of an overload or a short. You have neither. Most likely you have an open or loose connection.
 
  #3  
Old 08-29-13, 11:38 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3
Update: I went and unplugged the clock i plugged in earlier and power returned!

No idea as to WHY. But its late and Im happy its back on.

I will trouble shoot a bit more and report back.
 
  #4  
Old 08-30-13, 03:36 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 46,084
The clock could not have been causing the problem due to it's extremely light AC draw but maybe the movement of that receptacle could suggest a problem there.
 
  #5  
Old 08-30-13, 07:42 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3
Here's what my non-electrician brain can't figure out:

The outlet with the clock (which also had a lamp plugged in) is NOT on the same circuit as the lights / outlet that were going out. So why in the world would it - could it - cause an issue?

With breaker off 1/2 M.Bed, M.Closet & 1/2 G.Bed were completely dead, but the lamp plugged into the other receptacle on the outlet would stay on.

I agree I will go to that outlet to start troubleshooting. I just don't understand how it could affect the next circuit over.
 
  #6  
Old 08-30-13, 07:49 AM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
The outlet with the clock (which also had a lamp plugged in) is NOT on the same circuit as the lights / outlet that were going out. So why in the world would it - could it - cause an issue?
I would check the neutral connections and splices in that receptacle box carefully. If those two circuits are wired as a multiwire branch circuit, sharing one neutral, and if that box is where the single neutral is split to go with each circuit, then you could be losing the neutral for one of them there.
 
  #7  
Old 08-30-13, 07:51 AM
pugsl's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 7,909
Might be a split outlet, One circuit to lamp (usually switched) Other side to rest of circuit.
 
  #8  
Old 08-30-13, 08:45 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,382
I would check the neutral connections and splices in that receptacle box carefully. If those two circuits are wired as a multiwire branch circuit, sharing one neutral, and if that box is where the single neutral is split to go with each circuit, then you could be losing the neutral for one of them there.
This is where I would also start. I suspect that this is where the two circuits split and that the neutral was not solidly spliced. I am thinking you may find that the neutral connection is feeding through the receptacle rather than being spliced.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes