Dead receptacles.


  #1  
Old 01-09-15, 08:08 AM
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Dead receptacles.

Morning and maybe late but still - Happy NY.

Most of my kitchen wall outlets went dead this morning. We cook and use all of them. Likely not even enough of them for our needs.
The way it all started, I tried to plug a new gismo into available outlet, that we normally do not use. Somehow, plug didn't want to go into the upper outlet, but went into bottom one and the thing worked. Now that got me curious, why it wouldn't plug into the upper one (it's standard single I believe, with 2 outlets). So I tried a few times more, until something like a crack sounded, land line phone beeped, and then about 5 outlets out of 6 went dead.
I have 2 outlets, behind the kitchen cook-top, with those blue and red breakers.
Our kitchen is pretty much a larger horse shoe shape countertop. Coocktop on one end, sink on the opposite. Wall opposite to coocktop has a bunch of those outlets and the sink side has one more.
Now, one outlet on the cooktop right hand side works. The rest of them is dead. Resetting 2 outlets with breakers on the cooktop LEFT hand side produces no effect on the dead ones. And those are the most used ones.
Of course, all this happened Friday am right before I have to go to work. So now I have 3 outlet extension cord left behind in the kitchen, to have coffe maker and cattle and phone charger connected.
Here's where I need help.
Is it safe to assume that the stubborn outlet simply broke and is permanently tripping one of the breakers?
How do I figure all this out? Before you help, please, consider 2 things: 1. that I am 89 yo senile grandma that knows nothing of beautiful terminology and tools and 2. that wiring in this house was done by the guy who built it, so I can easily have 3 black wires to the same outlet, or black and 2 greens. He appeared to have used whatever was at hand to do wiring.
All SWITCHES appear to be working fine. Why he has 2 outlets with breakers side by side, one controlling circuit all the way across the kitchen, that I do not know.
I'd rather not call electrician on this. Shame to do so.
Thank you.
 
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Old 01-09-15, 08:12 AM
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Have you reset all of the GFCIs?
 
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Old 01-09-15, 08:31 AM
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I have 2 outlets, behind the kitchen cook-top, with those blue and red breakers.
Not breakers, GFCIs.
it's standard single I believe, with 2 outlets)
Duplex receptacle.
Is it safe to assume that the stubborn outlet simply broke and is permanently tripping one of the breakers?
Breakers are in the breaker box. It may though be causing a ground fault which is tripping a GFCI. First step is to open the suspect receptacle. If it has to black wires and two white wires remove the receptacle wire nut white to white and black to black. Turn on the breaker and find all tripped GFCIs and reset them. Does everything now work?

When removing wires from a GFCI always mark which set is line and which is load.
 
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Old 01-09-15, 08:37 AM
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The outlet you were having difficulty plugging into probably broke, especially if it felt loose to you and wanted to move when inserting a plug.
I encourage fixing things yourself, that's what we're here for.
The outlet will probably need changed, do you feel comfortable doing this?

You will need to remove outlet, remove wires and replace wires to new receptacle. We can guide you through this.
You need the ability to work with stiff wires, tighten the screws securely, and stuff the outlet back in the box securely and safely.
If this is something you want to do, post back.
 
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Old 01-09-15, 09:02 AM
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Somehow, plug didn't want to go into the upper outlet, but went into bottom one and the thing worked. Now that got me curious, why it wouldn't plug into the upper one (it's standard single I believe, with 2 outlets). So I tried a few times more, until something like a crack sounded, land line phone beeped, and then about 5 outlets out of 6 went dead.
It's entirely possible that a ground prong had been broken off of another small appliance plug and the prong prevented you from plugging in your gismo. Sounds like this is the receptacle where you'll find the problem.

1. that I am 89 yo senile grandma that knows nothing of beautiful terminology and tools
Igor, I have read many of your posts, mostly in the automotive threads, and had no idea you were an 89 year old female still working a regular job. Regardless, you must be quite agile and seem to be pretty knowledgeable and also pretty good at working on your autos both on and off your auto lift.
 
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Old 01-09-15, 10:29 AM
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Yeah, but I'm at 89 yo grandma level electrically. Who was NOT an electrician when she was younger.

They say one pic is worth 100 words.
All green are working receptacles. Receptacles are standard 15A duplex.
2 red dots next to cook top are duplex with breakers. black ones are ones that do not work.
Marked one that caused all this trouble.
I'll pull it out tonight. No, dehydrator plug did not have ground 3rd prong. It's the narrower prong that refused to go into receptacle. We did have tile laid on that wall few months ago and don't think ever used that receptacle.

 
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Old 01-09-15, 11:07 AM
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Receptacle

Be sure to turn off the appropriate breaker in your service panel before you remove the receptacle. Good luck with your project.
 
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Old 01-09-15, 11:20 AM
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When you got your tile backsplash, wiring was probably disturbed, causing one or more wires to come loose. I work on kitchens and see it all the time.
The guys here always advise against backstabbed wires, and this is why. I can't tell you how many receptacles I've pulled away from the wall and the wires just fall out.
I don't know if this outlet is backstabbed, but if it is, you most likely found your problem.
 
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Old 01-09-15, 01:01 PM
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Aha, so the breaker in the kitchen itself may not be the final culprit? I didn't have a chance of getting to the main panel, that do I admit.
I am pretty sure, it's that particular stubborn receptacle that acted up and I "pushed too hard" and it didn't like it.
 
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Old 01-09-15, 01:19 PM
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Aha, so the breaker in the kitchen itself may not be the final culprit?
I believe you mean a GFCI. GFCIs are often incorporated into a receptacle and trip from a ground fault* not a short**. Breakers are never part of a 120 volt receptacle but instead are found in breaker panels and trip because of a short unless they contain a GFCI also. In that case they trip because of either a short or a ground fault.

*Ground fault is when the amps om one leg doesn't match the amps on the other leg.

**Short is when the two legs of a circuit touch each other (e.g. black wire touching white wire).
 
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Old 01-10-15, 06:40 AM
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Fixed it.

Was loose ground wire, one of 2, on the receptacle right hand side as installed. Somehow, it blocked the other receptacles on the same circuit.
Apparently was loose for quite a while and arced, as receptacle was somewhat burnt in that area.

Thanks all for input.
 
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Old 01-10-15, 07:49 AM
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Glad you got it. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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Old 01-10-15, 09:06 AM
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Was loose ground wire, one of 2, on the receptacle right hand side as installed. Somehow, it blocked the other receptacles on the same circuit.
Apparently was loose for quite a while and arced, as receptacle was somewhat burnt in that area.
That sounds like a loose neutral wire, not a ground wire. There should only be one ground attached to the receptacle and a ground wire won't burn a receptacle. Regardless, glad you got it fixed.
 
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Old 01-10-15, 09:17 AM
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Yeah,
The neutrals would be on right side if receptacle was installed "upside down", which I'm seeing more and more.
 
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Old 01-10-15, 09:19 AM
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The neutrals would be on right side if receptacle was installed "upside down", which I'm seeing more and more.
There is no upside down on a duplex or GFCI receptacle. They can be installed either ground hole up or down, either way is correct.
 
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Old 01-10-15, 09:23 AM
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Ohhh.. Those are 2 copper thick wires, not sure about proper gauge, with no insulation. For some reason I do not fathom, attachment screws are practically 1/8 apart and wires are almost touching each other. And why same receptacle has to have 2 of those I do not know.
I though bare wires are ground. Told you, 89 yo grandma.

Just out of curiosity, for my ignorance. How does alternating current do negative lead? Isn't + and - for DC only? And AC has no + or -?
 
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Old 01-10-15, 09:25 AM
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I understand, I was just saying I'm seeing a lot more of the ground up lately. Any preference for you Joe? Does the ground up tend to hold a 3-prong plug better? (less pull out)
 
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Old 01-10-15, 09:30 AM
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There is no upside down on a duplex or GFCI receptacle. They can be installed either ground hole up or down, either way is correct

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...#ixzz3ORMw1rzN


Nope. Those are connected to 2 flat head screws in my receptacle. Very close apart. No "hole".
 
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Old 01-10-15, 09:35 AM
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Any preference for you Joe?
I prefer ground hole down in residential and really have no preference in commercial, industrial or institutional. Matching what is already there is what I would do. If it was a new commercial space and I had to make the decision, I'd probably go with ground hole up. Yes, it's all preference and either is right.
 
 

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