Weird circuit breaker?

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  #1  
Old 02-20-14, 11:12 AM
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Weird circuit breaker?

Yesterday evening while I was relaxing at home from a long day at work I saw that the kitchen light kinda dimmed and then went off. My stepson told me that he lost power in his room and so did my son. I'm not sure if both their rooms were completely out of power but I'm almost certain that in my sons room one outlet went out. I went to the basement and also noticed that the light in the panel room is also out so I looked for the tripped breaker and turned it all the way off then all the way on. This gave me power for a second or two then I heard a noise coming from the breaker I just reset. The breaker wasn't tripped at all but I still didn't have power in the panel room and I have partial power in the boys rooms. In my sons room that outlet that didn't have power now has power if the breaker is on.

I tried to reset the breaker but that didn't do anything and I did check all my breakers and even shut them off one by one and turned them on but still I didn't have full power in kids room or in basement panel room. My stepson had a small electrical heater that he never shuts off regardless of how many times I tell him to keep that thing controlled and not have it on high all the time or turn it off when the room gets hot. If that messed up my wiring you best believe he has to pay for an electrician (he's 19) or I'm going to strangle him with the heater cord.

On another note can breakers give partial power? I'm hoping that the fix is an easy and inexpensive one since I have to put out a lot of money (I don't have) on a plumber thanks to my stepdaughter flushing tampons down the toilet. Wtf is wrong with teenagers and listening????
 
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Old 02-20-14, 11:24 AM
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Here's just a few things it could be.
Bad breaker.
Back stabbed outlets instead of the wire wrapped around the screws.
Loose wire any place from the breakers to any outlet in the chain.
Loose neutral.
Space heaters have been one of the biggest causes of firing fires in older homes.
 
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Old 02-20-14, 02:05 PM
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I would start with the receptacle he has the heater in. Kill the power and pull the receptacle to check for stab back connections. If so, remove the wires to the screws. I feel you will find a burned receptacle, so let us know what your findings are. Having a burned receptacle can affect downline receptacles although the breaker is on.
 
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Old 02-20-14, 07:07 PM
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What brand panel do you have?
 
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Old 02-20-14, 08:13 PM
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The panel brand is GE and today I had a very knowledgeable friend come to my home and look at it and found that all breakers are putting out power so they are all good. We have still to find out why there's a loss of power outlets since this house has a lot of wires that's are hard to trace. We did trace the breaker that tripped into a live outlet in my stepsons room then from there we are summing that from there it's fed to the outlet in which the heater was plugged in which still has no power coming out of it.

I'm hard at explaining so I hope I'm being specific. So now he's coming with some camera to poke a small hole in wall to trace the live outlet wires and see if they go to the outlet with no power since he thinks the wiring is messed up somewhere between those points. I'll keep you guys updated
 
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Old 02-20-14, 08:57 PM
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We did trace the breaker that tripped into a live outlet in my stepsons room
Often the problem is at the last working receptacle. Did you open the receptacle and check the connections? Did you move any back stabbed connections to the screws?
he's coming with some camera to poke a small hole in wall to trace the live outlet wires and see if they go to the outlet with no power since he thinks the wiring is messed up somewhere between those points.
When you hear hoof beats first expect horses not zebras. Less then 1% chance of a bad wire in the wall. Next thing to do is open all the working non working receptacles on the circuit and check the connections, move any backstabs to the screws, and remove any wire nuts and check inside them for corrosion. Any lights and switches must also be checked. Have you read: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ther-info.html

No camera or holes in the wall or needed to see if a cable runs from receptacle A to receptacle B. Just a multimeter and a few simple tests.
  • Disconnect all wires at both boxes.
  • At the working box using the multimeter set to volts determine which cable is power in and cap those wires.
  • Connect a long wire to one of the remaining three wires in the box that had the power and using the multimeter at the other box test for continuity to wires of the same color. If box A is connected to box at least one wire of one color should show continuity because it is unlikely all the wires would fail.
There are more tests depending on initial results.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 02-20-14 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 02-21-14, 09:53 AM
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Hope this little diagram can explain more in picture than in my words. The outlets all have their connections looped around the screws. I've never dealt with this stuff so I apologize for not understanding or not fully answering all your questions.
 
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Old 02-21-14, 10:04 AM
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Often the problem is at the last working receptacle. Did you open the receptacle and check the connections? yes they where taken out from wall and tested for power however the furthest point is the one plugged into the microwave which has a single receptacle cord like that microwave plugs into.


Did you move any back stabbed connections to the screws? all outlets have screws on side and no the wires weren't removed nor checked for corrosion
 

Last edited by ray2047; 02-21-14 at 10:18 AM. Reason: Remove refer from quote.
  #9  
Old 02-21-14, 10:29 AM
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I agree, there should be no need to open the walls until a loose connection at a device or splice has been eliminated. Follow the steps in the sticky and report back.
 
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Old 02-21-14, 10:31 AM
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Based on the diagram I would suspect the problem is in the light fixture box. Have you pulled the light yet and redone the connections. You need to remove any wire nuts and inspect inside for broken springs and corrosion... or just replace any wire nuts with new wire nuts. The extreme heat at lights reeks havoc on the wires inside. I have seen cases where heaters burned through the wires at the light.

all outlets have screws on side and no the wires weren't removed nor checked for corrosion
When I wrote that I was referring to wire nuts not wires but it is good to remove and check the wires also.
 
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Old 02-21-14, 08:38 PM
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Well im very lost here..... I replaced the outlet B with a new one and i still didn't get no power from it. These are pictures of the freaking mess i have in the light fixture in the basement. I did look at the wire nuts and they both have their springs and are free of corrosion. I decided to take a break since my brain is killing me right now from all the wire tracing and just buy looking at the mess downstairs. If It was up to me I would rip out everything and start from scratch and definitely make all these runs a lot neater.

The only thing I would try is to replace the outlet A (the only one that works out of breaker) and see if that does anything to bring power to outlet B.
 
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Old 02-21-14, 09:29 PM
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I replaced the outlet B with a new one and i still didn't get no power from it.
To be expected. I don't think anyone here suggested you replace the receptacle. Unless they are GFCI they really don't normally go bad. In any event if you check the wires with a multimeter and have no power to the box that isn't going to change when you change the receptacle. You will still have no power.

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  #13  
Old 02-22-14, 05:53 AM
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Replacing a dead receptacle may not help. Check the wiring and receptacle condition at the last "working" receptacle on this circuit. It's not getting past it.
 
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Old 02-22-14, 06:01 AM
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Larry wrote:
Check the wiring and receptacle condition at the last "working" receptacle on this circuit.
In this case it may be an outlet but not a receptacle. The connection at the light is suspect though it looks good on first glance. It must be re done and then if that doesn't fix it we need to move on to other connections. No hunting zebras yet punching holes in the wall or replacing receptacles. Every connection fed by that breaker must be found, connections checked manually not just visually and power verified with a multimeter, preferably analog.
 
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Old 02-22-14, 06:15 PM
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update!!!!

Ray i did cleaned and rewired those end and also put in new wingnuts but that didnt do anything. My buddy came thru to take a second look and this time he brought that camera to pin point where behind the wall those cables from box A meet with box B. At this point they where just hard to trace without poking holes in the wall and stking the camera in there so he decided to go to home depot to get some new toys to facilitate the mission. I really cant tell you what he bought but whatever he bought it made things easier for him to pin point my electrical problem. It turned out that the cables that come out from box A to box B were indeed toasted. We went back to home depot and got a roll of electrical cable 50FT to run from the breaker to that light fixture then we went upstairs into my stepsons bedroom and cut a little bit off the bad cables from box A to box B then used wire nuts at both ends and pushed them way back in the box.

I hope im explaining this good....
so now i have 2 cables coming out of the breaker, the 1st one still goes to outlet A but then it stops there and the 2nd one goes into that light fixture wich still feeds those other outlets and now it back feeds into box B. Everything is working now like it was before and when my chicken **** stepson comes back home (went to spend the weekend at his friends to not hear my mouth) he will have to deal with me and my mouth or im going to hang him in the shed with that space heater cord.
 
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Old 02-22-14, 09:04 PM
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Glad you got it. So you really did have zebras. I hope you learned your lesson and won't try to run the heater on that circuit again. Get you friend to run a dedicated circuit for the heater..
 
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