How to debug a non-working outlet

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  #1  
Old 02-28-16, 06:17 PM
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How to debug a non-working outlet

Hi,

I added a new outlet in the corner of my room (extended it off an outlet a few feet over), and apparently I screwed things up. It looks like the new outlet, plus 3-4 existing ones are not working any more

I pulled out the new outlet and the one I ran the wires from and everything looks fine, I even retwisted the white wires as they looked a little loose.

I tested things with the multimeter and when I touch the white and black screws, I get a reading of 0 (where I'd expect 120), but when I touch hot and ground I get 120.

I'm scratching my head a bit as I'm not sure what else to check, or where I made my mistake.

Any pointers is greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 02-28-16, 06:44 PM
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Pull the receptacle from which you gained your power. You have a loose neutral wire. You can post pictures of both receptacles pulled from their boxes so we can see what you did.
 
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Old 02-28-16, 07:06 PM
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If the outlet you tapped into is a back stab connection type replace the outlet with a screw clamp type. I assume the tapped into outlet is an inline oulet feeding other outlets because you say other outlets are now dead.
 
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Old 02-28-16, 07:10 PM
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I thought the nuetrals were all connected and tightened, but I'll double check.

These outlets used to be "back stabbed", but I use the screw now (I removed the pieces that were stuck in the back). I'm assuming I can resuse those outlets, or do I need new ones?

Thanks!
 
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Old 02-28-16, 07:16 PM
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If you have more then two wires for hot and neutral use pigtails. Of course pigtails are good practice even if only two hot and neutral. If any wires in any receptacles are back stabbed now is a good time to move them to the screws.
 
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Old 02-28-16, 07:21 PM
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Ok, went and took another look. The nuetrals all look like they are connected after I took the wire nut off of them, but still no luck.

There arent the best pictures, but hopefully they help:

Existing Outlet (3 different runs coming into it): https://www.dropbox.com/s/xhjb7s2vfq...14.42.jpg?dl=0

Name:  new.jpg
Views: 72
Size:  39.4 KB

New Outlet: https://www.dropbox.com/s/i5iz9pm6rd...15.25.jpg?dl=0
 

Last edited by PJmax; 02-28-16 at 07:43 PM. Reason: added pic from link
  #7  
Old 02-28-16, 07:41 PM
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I just think you have a bad connection in the wirenut on the neutral. That's a really sloppy twist of the ends.
 
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Old 02-28-16, 07:45 PM
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So we can see four white wires and four black wires. That is a two wire feed in, and 2) two wire feeds out (one is your new receptacle).

It looks like you're having a little difficulty with splicing the four #12 copper wires but if they are tight...... whites and blacks..... the circuit should work. Double check that all the wires are incorporated into the splice.
 
  #9  
Old 02-28-16, 08:02 PM
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@pattenp Probably, but when I look closely, all 4 wires are touching.

@PJmax theres 3 runs coming into the box, the 4th cable is a pigtail.

I had to put everything back together as I gotta go to work in the morning, but I'll pull it all apart later this week and give it another shot.
 
  #10  
Old 02-28-16, 08:13 PM
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Make sure the end of the neutral on the power source wire is not broke at the strip point. Looks can be deceiving. Check for voltage across the neutral of the source wire to the hot. If you get 120 then the problem is your wirenut connection.
 
  #11  
Old 03-02-16, 04:02 PM
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Figured it out. Ended up being a loose connection in a outlet that I had opened up a while back.

Lot of wasted time

Thanks for helping out!
 
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