Bad Receptacle or Something Worse?


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Old 11-24-14, 10:06 PM
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Bad Receptacle or Something Worse?

I suddenly started experiencing some issues with a set of outlets not working, they would go off and come on randomly for a few hours, then they went out completely. There are a total, I believe, of 4 receptacles, 1 switch and 1 light (the light and one receptacle are on a switch by the door). The problem seems to start at the door around the switch, because the light and receptacle controlled by the switch and the receptacle by the switch are not working.

Using my digital voltmeter set to 200A, I was pulling 120v from both (black and white) wires to the (uninsulated) ground the black wire to the white wire get 0v, this was with the switch was in the off position, when I put the switch in the on position the white wires stated 120v and the black dropped to 80v; still 0 between black to white. I replaced the switch, same result. I get the same results on the non-working receptacle connected to the switch. The non-working receptacle not on the switch pulls 120v from all wires to ground regardless of switch position, but gets 0v from black to white wires.

It's probably worth noting that the ground wires were disconnected from both the switch and the switch controlled receptacle; but the problem just started and they appeared to have been disconnected for quite a while. The house is about 40 years old, and there are no GFI/GCFI that I'm aware of on this breaker. What would cause the problem and how do I fix it?

Thanks,
Justin
 
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Old 11-24-14, 10:38 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Your meter should be set to the next voltage step over 120VAC..... NOT on any amp setting.
You may have meant 200vac not A.

You should measure 120vac from black to ground.
You should measure 120vac from black to white.
You should measure 0v from white to ground.

It would appear that you may have an open neutral/white wire. The problem is at the first dead device or at the last working device. You may need to determine everything on the affected circuit.... check at the last working device closet to the dead area. Look for loose wiring pushed into the back of devices.

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Old 11-25-14, 06:06 AM
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Yes, it is on 200V the lighting isn't so great when some of them are out

So the first receptacle on the circuit has the correct measures 120 from black to ground, 120 from black to white and 0 from white to ground. The next closest receptacle in the bathroom has 120 from white to ground and 120 black to ground and 0 black to white. Wires at that receptacle are tight. But the white wires look corroded so I will cut the wire back to where the copper isn't green and replace the receptacle?
 
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Old 11-25-14, 06:20 AM
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Are the wires under the screws or back stabbed?
If there back stabbed change them to under the screws.
No way should there be green corrosion anywhere on the wires unless you have a bad moisture issue inside the walls or the house has been flooded.
I'd be cutting the wire back and restriping to get a clean connection not just wiping it off.
 
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Old 11-25-14, 06:20 AM
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and replace the receptacle?
Regular receptacles have no magic parts inside to go bad. If they aren't burnt or no longer holding the plugs firmly or so corroded they can't be cleaned up no reason to replace.
 
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Old 11-25-14, 06:46 AM
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They are stabbed through the back, the insulation has gone from white to almost black (they show up brown in the picture), and the bit of wire I can see has turned green. I just assumed it would be safer to replace the receptacle since they're fairly inexpensive. I was going to cut the wires back to where the copper is clean again to make sure the connections are good on the new receptacle. Picture of receptacle attached.Name:  recptacle.jpg
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Old 11-25-14, 06:58 AM
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Here we always recommend do not use the back stabs because they are less reliable. Just cleaning up the wires and moving to the screws may be enough. How brittle is the insulation on the wires?
 
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Old 11-25-14, 07:13 AM
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Flakes off pretty easily.
 
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Old 11-25-14, 07:14 AM
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Looks like someone may have painted around the outlet covers instead of removing them, or caulked around them so your peeling off the paint when removing the cover.
Use a utility knife to cut the paint line before removing so you do not keep peeling off the paint.
 
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Old 11-25-14, 08:32 AM
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Flakes off pretty easily.
You may need to slip heat shrink tubing over them. If you can get it use white heat shrink tubing on the neutrals. Other wise you will need to band them with whiye tape after covering them.
 
 

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