Lost power in half of the house


  #1  
Old 11-20-14, 03:15 PM
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Lost power in half of the house

Hi everyone,
I have a situation where I came home and wife reported that she was watching TV and then all of a sudden half of the house on first floor lost power. We did not have any lights on since it was day, no others gadgets connected besides the LCD.
So I checked the breaker and it was tripped, half way. I unplugged everything, turned light switches off and tried turning on the breaker. It tripped again.
So, I opened all the outlets, separated all wires from the receptacles and tried turning on the breaker, it worked. Then I tested for voltage on each and every outlet to find out where the starting point is. And I found one in the dining room where the outlet had 6 wires. 3 black, 3 white. Found one black as hot. The other 2 must be travellers to other outlets. All other outlets do not have any power.
The previous way the wires were connected were 2 in the backstabs, 1 on the screw for both black and white wires.
My dining, living and part of the kitchen do not have power.
what is the purpose of the white wires? Does it matter which goes to which screw or backstabs?
And any step by step guidance on how should I fix this?
I can call an electrician but I am a DIYer.
 
  #2  
Old 11-20-14, 03:21 PM
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The whites are the return path for the current to get back to the panel.

Pigtails are the way to splice that many wires to a device. The backstage are problematic.
 
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Old 11-20-14, 03:21 PM
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The screws on your receptacle are on a hunk of metal. It does not matter which screw the wires go on, the metal just connects them all together.
You would be best to joint all those wires and run a pigtail off to the receptacle.
 
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Old 11-21-14, 06:32 AM
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White wire goes to the silver screw, black goes to gold, yes it makes a difference if there backwards.
 
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Old 11-21-14, 07:02 AM
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1/2 of the house or just one circuit?
Geo
 
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Old 11-21-14, 07:44 AM
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One circuit breaker only.
I will try the pigtail today and see if it works.
I am sure there is a short somewhere because when the power went out, only the LCD was on.
 
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Old 11-21-14, 04:17 PM
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I am sure there is a short somewhere because when the power went out, only the LCD was on
If it was a dead short the circuit breaker would not stay on; would trip the moment you tried to reset it. So was there a delay in when you reset the breaker as to when it tripped back off?

Also, have you been using any space heaters on a particular receptacle. Sometimes they will over heat the receptacle; most times it is obvious as in scorch marks on the face of the receptacle but sometimes just enough inside to cause the receptacle to short out back at the breaker.
 
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Old 11-21-14, 09:38 PM
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So was there a delay in when you reset the breaker as to when it tripped back off?

No delay. As soon as I try to turn it on, it trips...
And as I said earlier, I did not have any appliances or lights on during this time. Besides the LCD.
Today I got the power extension to see whether the LCD is working OK, and it is.

Am going to try pigtail tomorrow.

Thanks everyone.
 
  #9  
Old 11-22-14, 03:38 PM
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OK.
So making a pigtail and connecting the wires to the screws instead of backstab resolved the problem. I have lights working.

Thanks guys. Appreciate it.
 
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Old 11-22-14, 03:43 PM
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Good job. Thanks for letting us know the outcome.
 
 

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