Help with dead circuit

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  #1  
Old 02-21-16, 04:26 PM
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Help with dead circuit

Yesterday lights went off in two upstairs rooms. First thought was the breaker; not tripped. Both lights are plugged into outlets and controlled by a wall switch.

I've recently replaced most of the outlets in this circuit, its been at least a month since I changed any, and I always test them after I turn the breaker back on having replaced them.

I've checked every single one of the outlets so see if any back stabs popped out and all seem fine.

There is no GFCI and as far as I can tell all 11 outlets and 6 switches (3 to plugs, 3 to fixtures) are out, so it doesn't appear that any one outlet upstream is causing the rest down steam to fail.

There was no heavy load on this circuit when it went out. One of the lights plugged into a switch burnt out the other day, but worked again after replacing the bulb, and I replaced that outlet yesterday after the circuit went dead.

I get a voltage wirelessly detected on most of the circuit even when the breaker is off. I bought a circuit tester and all the dead outlets read "open hot."

I also swapped out the 15A breaker with another I know is working to see if it was the breaker and that didn't help either.

I even replaced the hardwired smoke alarm near what I believe is the end of this circuit and nothing.

I am at a total loss.

I live in Washington state, house is about 25 years old, and I have absolutely no clue what could be causing this.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 02-21-16, 04:40 PM
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Not the pro here but one of the first things they will say is get rid of back stabs. Nothing but trouble. Try to find out where the last plug or switch has power, Problem is either there or next load down stream.
 
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Old 02-21-16, 04:58 PM
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As far as I can tell, nothing on the entire circuit has power. That's why I thought it was maybe the breaker itself. Almost starting to wonder if it's the actual panel.

But that does bring up one question; if in fact it is a loose hot back stab, everything in the circuit before that loose one should have power, correct?

If that's the case, then it definitely seems to be the whole circuit.
 
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Old 02-21-16, 05:31 PM
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With an analog multimeter you can check the voltage at the breaker (red lead to breaker screw and black lead to grounding buss) If you have voltage there it is beyond your panel and probably at the first receptacle or light fixture, affecting everything downstream. I know you said you checked for GFCI's, but there is one hidden somewhere. Garage, crawlspace, basement, back or front yard.

Let us know what you find with the multimeter.
 
  #5  
Old 02-21-16, 05:37 PM
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you won't believe this... I found the problem. nothing wrong with my circuit, panel, breaker, receptacles, switches or fixtures.

I didn't think it was relevant initially, but I have a generator hardwired in to the box. I was looking at those wires to see if any had come loose and lo and behold, my generator selector switches had one rocker switch set to off. I must have bumped it yesterday and not noticed.

All I can do is laugh and thank God I didn't get to the point of paying an electrician $150 to come flip a switch.

thanks for the input guys.
 
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Old 02-21-16, 05:40 PM
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To things you need to get rid of before we proceed. All back stabs, they are just too unreliable. Just being in the hole doesn't mean they are contacting adequately. Second is the non contact tester. it is not reliable for testing. Move all wires to the screws and redo all wire nuts at the receptacles and switches. If you still have problems post back.
 
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Old 02-22-16, 01:09 AM
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Thanks for the update. I have been to many houses that all I had to do is flip a breaker.
 
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