Breaker fine but no power


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Old 12-31-13, 10:23 AM
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Breaker fine but no power

So here is what happened:

I plugged in a usb external hardrive into a media player (hooked up to tv) and right when I plugged it in, half my house went dark. (House is small, 3 bed 1 bath)

(Unfortunately I don't have a full map of the wiring. I'm kicking myself now for procrastinating on this. Just moved in a few months ago)

No breakers were thrown. I reset all of them because I know that they may still be tripped even though not thrown. This worked. The half of the house that was off, turned back on for about a minute. Then turned off.
Reset the breakers again but this time the half of the house did not turn back on.
I unplugged everything from all the outlets and tried resetting again, but nothing.
I tested all the breakers with a multimieter, and they all had ~120v
I do have two AFCI breakers. One controls part of the house that is fine, but the other one does nothing, so I'm assuming it is part of the house that is bad.

************Something potentially important****************************
I took apart the receptacle where I plugged in the hard drive (in hopes of finding a bad backstab). They were backstabbed, so i unplugged the 4 wires (part of a chain). One set of wires had no power ( I believe it is the sending/away pair; power to things later in the circuit). The other set of wires gave me a reading of ~10v. I went outside turned off the AFCI that apparently did nothing and that pair of wires gave me a reading of 0 as expected. Turned the AFCI back on and my reading was back to ~10v.
******************************************************************
I tried resetting all GFCI outlets in my house. The one in the bathroom, that has no power: I pushed the test button and it gave me the 'pop' sound. I then tried to use the reset button, but it doesn't reset the test button. The reset button goes in with no trouble, but the test button doesn't 'pop' back into normal.

I'm continuing my hunt for bad backstabbed or a bad splice, but in this small house, I feel like I've checked all possibilities. ERRRR!!


Any ideas on how to fix or troubleshoot my problem???
 
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Old 12-31-13, 10:49 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

The reset button goes in with no trouble, but the test button doesn't 'pop' back into normal.
That is not uncommon as most GFI receptacles require power on the line side before they will set.

You took apart the receptacle where you were originally working and it was backstabbed. That tells you that they may be all like that and you will need to check them also.
 
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Old 12-31-13, 11:07 AM
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You took apart the receptacle where you were originally working and it was backstabbed. That tells you that they may be all like that and you will need to check them also
Yes agreed. So far no other backstabbed receptacles. I don't have that many which is a plus in this instance.

I'm almost positive that this is the first receptacle/stop in the circuit.
 
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Old 12-31-13, 12:30 PM
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Fixed it!!!

So while trying to trace back the circuit to the panel I did find one junction before that weird receptacle giving me ~10v. When i played with the wires just moving them around it triggered the 1st recptacle to give me ~70v.

I turned off power then looked at that junction closer. Turns out the people before us thought duct tape would make do instead of electrical tape for a connection between splices!!! They also had a white wire connected to the other two black wires and the a black wire that may have gotten disconnected when the duct tape melted.

So i fixed all the connections with proper connectors and its all fixed. Now I will map out the circuits.

Thanks!
 
 

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