Replaced outlets now lights don't work

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Old 02-12-19, 08:43 AM
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Replaced outlets now lights don't work

I replaced 4 outlets in my living room. Was easy enough, just removed the old ones and attached the new ones black to bronze screw, white to silver screw, and then the ground. However, after doing so, the living room lights and our deck lights will no longer turn on.

I provided what is likely a horrible diagram of my situation. Outlets 2-5 are the ones I replaced. I believe the power comes into 1 and goes in parallel to 2, 3, 4, then 5. I did confirm that detaching outlet 1 did remove power to outlets 2-5.

Switch 1 controls lights 1 and 2. Switch 2 controls light 3. I do not know where power comes from for the lights but it would seem it comes from the outlets somehow given the lights stopped working after replacing the outlets. However, all outlets do have power so I'm having a hard time understanding how that could possibly be the case if the lights and switches are wired somewhere in the middle of the circuit.

I have a little cheapo voltage tester I'm using to confirm the outlets have power, but I'm unable to find any power in either of the switches. Could be that I don't know what I'm doing (touch one prong to black wire, one to white wire, neither is showing voltage in switch 1).

Any direction at this point might be helpful. Thank you in advance.
 
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Last edited by sourkrause; 02-12-19 at 09:16 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-12-19, 09:11 AM
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You only worked on the switches and not the receptacles?

Did you wire the new switches the same as the old ones because I have not seen switches with bronze and silver screws.

post some pictures of the switch wiring.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 09:12 AM
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Your post is confusing. Did you replace switches and receptacles?
 
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Old 02-12-19, 09:16 AM
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Doh! Sorry, meant outlets where I said switches in a few spots. I edited the post.

I did swap out the switches as well but it was a couple of days prior and they did work up until I replaced the outlets. I'm second guessing everything I thing I did now though.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 09:18 AM
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Were the receptacles new? Did someone possibly cut the tab off between the screws on one or more of them?
 
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Old 02-12-19, 09:24 AM
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The receptacles are new. I did not check if any of the tabs were cut on the new ones I put in but I did check the ones I pulled out and none of the tabs are cut on any of those.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 10:20 AM
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It would not be the first time someone returned a cut tab to the store and they just put it back on the shelf.
Check the tabs. If you used the back stab push ins, move the wires to the screws.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 10:41 AM
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I will check the tabs. I used the screws on all of the outlets.

If the issue is that a tab was removed, how is that affecting the switch?
 
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Old 02-12-19, 11:00 AM
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The tab acts a a connection to feed power from one screw to the other. If the tab is cut then power does not feed through.

Also only half of the receptacle will operate. So I would start by testing both plugs in each receptacle. You may find one that is only half working.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 11:12 AM
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Thank. I guess where I'm confused then is that all of the outlets do have power. Which in my inexperienced brain tells me power isn't being cut or I'd have lost power to every outlet after the one with the cut tab.

Assuming that no tabs are cut, how would you expect switch #1 to be getting power so that I can try and track that down? Again, with my inexperience, I'm assuming power enters via the switch and ends at the furthest light. But it seems that the outlets are wired in a series and the last one having just one incoming wire (no outgoing) leads me to think it ends there.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 12:07 PM
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On any of the receptacles you removed were there more than one wire under a screw?
I have a little cheapo voltage tester
If you mean a non contact tester give it to your kid to play with and buy a cheap analog not digital multimeter ($8-$15).
 
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Old 02-12-19, 12:18 PM
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I don't believe anything was out of the ordinary when replacing the outlets. All 4 I replaced were using the back stab push ins (I think they're called) which I snipped off, re-stripped and and attached to the new outlets using screws. I replaced the old outlets with new TR outlets. All outlets are grounded, the switches are not but there are grounding wires in there I could attach.

This is the voltage tester I have:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Sperry-8...6102/301961463
 
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Old 02-12-19, 01:34 PM
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That tester should be fine.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 01:43 PM
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If all you did was change receptacle then the problem is loose connection in one of the receptacles.
Were there any connection in wire nuts? Perhaps one of them came loose.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 02:13 PM
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Check the receptacle box closest to the light switches for a loose connection or cable not connected at all.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 02:23 PM
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Ok, that's the first thing I'll do when I get back to it tonight.

With the diagram I was hoping someone could tell me how it's even possible that with the outlets all working and the lights wired from one of them I could have the lights NOT working. Seems to me if power is running all the way to the last outlet and if I hooked everything up the same as before I would be good to go, that's assuming I hooked everything up as it was before...

Anyways, thanks for the help!
 
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Old 02-12-19, 02:49 PM
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Could be totally unrelated.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 03:10 PM
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How many cables in the switch box? Is there four cables? Do you have a group of whites connected only to each other? Does the black of one cable connect to both switches?
 
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Old 02-12-19, 03:46 PM
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Just looking at the one switch box that is for the deck lights (because I'm not fully convinced the other is on the same circuit at this point) there are 2 sets of wires coming in with the whites connected to each other and just the blacks connected to the switch, 1 at each screw. The grounds are there but just connected to each other as well. From what I understand this is power coming in through the switch and then out to the lights. That power coming in is what I was guessing comes from the outlets, somehow.

One other thing I just remembered is the breaker seems to say there is a deck outlet. I haven't had a chance to pull that off and have a look inside yet but maybe that's where the power for the lights comes from.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 04:42 PM
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So you actually have two switch boxes not one?

The deck receptacle should be a GFCI. Try resetting the GFCI.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 08:23 PM
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I checked all connections and they are good and tight. There are no missing tabs on any outlets. I removed the switch and just tied both blacks with a wing nut, still the lights don't come one.

There is no outlet on the deck that i can find, so that doesnt seem like the issue.

There is another switch but it is for a different light.
 
  #22  
Old 02-12-19, 08:48 PM
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Fixed. Turns out the deck lights were not on that breaker at all but were an another. Had a 3 gang box with power to several lights, tightened everything up and everything works now. Thing is, that box hadnt been touched for several days so not sure why they went out when they did.

Thanks for the help and all the fast replies.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 09:08 PM
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Good job. Thanks for letting us know the outcome.
 
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Old 02-12-19, 09:13 PM
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Now label your breaker panel so you know what is on each breaker. If I have the plates off I like to write the breaker # on the inside of the plate.
 
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