Possible to find if a receptacle is daisy chained?

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Old 12-20-20, 08:30 PM
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Possible to find if a receptacle is daisy chained?

I just moved recently into an older house, I have literally two grounded outlets accessible to me besides kitchen ones, only one in a bedroom...

I have ran up and down checking all the breakers, removed one receptacle that was daisy chained off my outlet, but I had to use the already twisted together (with a wire nut) ground from the old receptacle simply as a pigtail since the ground in that outlet wouldn't reach (idk if this is relevant, so I thought it worth mentioning), the outlet itself has no power once it was removed.

A few weird things are happening...

First and foremost is a random voltage flux even through my UPS (double conversion) with voltage ranging from 123 to 114 at times. Second, and this one is completely weird...sometimes when I plug my phone in with a standard USB adapter it asks to connect to my PC?!?

If I use a three prong to two prong adapter between my charger(s) (yes, i've tried many, as well as phones) that never happens, as if interrupting whatever signal its getting.

Considering it's on it's own 15 amp breaker (I have shut off all the rest with no issue) and powers nothing else, not so much as a light switch. I'm wondering if its daisy chained in another unit above or below me.

It has to be the last outlet in the chain (if one exists) as it now only has two wires connected (which i've checked, even replaced the Receptacle with a brand new one when all else failed), wire size is correct, etc.

I have bought multiple tools to try and check but I'm am no electrician and I am wasting way too much funding trying to figure out this one outlet since its where my PC runs and literally the only one I care about much in the entire house.

Is there a proper method from inside my unit to check if someone else is running off my outlet? I'm too green to want to touch the fuse panel. I recently bought an AC/DC Clamp Meter, Own a Multi-Meter, a Kill-O-Watts and a Socket Tester, along with non contact Voltage Testers obviously, but the Clamp Meter just confuses me and the instructions are terrible.

So what would my option be? You know, besides tearing the wall down to look?

We also have wired phone jacks, a wired nynex box, and a Power Inserter near my fuse panel but its such a mess I can't follow all the wires unfortunately.

Any suggestions? Am I the only one who finds this to be not normal?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 
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Old 12-20-20, 08:38 PM
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It's a little hard to understand the problem.
You pulled the receptacle out and it's dead ?
If you only have a few grounded receptacles it sounds like your home may be wired with two conductor cable with no ground. Sometimes people do creative things to make a ground. A typical "fix" is to use the neutral as a ground. That can cause some unwanted and hazardous conditions.

If you know what circuit that receptacle is on and you shut the breaker off to it.... the rest of the circuit should also be dead.

A picture of your wiring at that receptacle would be helpful.... how-to-insert-pictures.
 
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Old 12-20-20, 09:45 PM
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No, the receptacle is not dead...its just not acting normal from what I have seen before (my UPS gives me a constant voltage reading instantaneously), Hz, In, out (when it converts it), load, KVA, KW, etc.

The weirdest part is it thinking it can transfer data over my cell phone when simply plugged in with a phone charger (that one really messed with me)

At certain points in time outlets in the house will just shut themselves off (no power), then come on later without touching anything...but my concern right now is this one outlet.

Its grounded, has one hot, one neutral, and a ground wire coming out of a white sheath coming through the box. The ground doesn't reach so I'm using the one receptacle that WAS attached with a wing nut (only to the ground) to actually ground to my outlet, the rest of that outlet is disconnected with no power (so basically I just left the ground attached as a pre-made piggytail) to keep this outlet grounded.

The thing messing with me is the giant voltage flux (aside from the whole USB thing...which is entirely insane lol), sometimes I'll have 122v, then it'll drop to 114v with nothing else being touched in my unit (I live in a 3 decker, middle floor)...I can shut off every breaker except this one and it still runs fine, but it doesn't change the voltage, regardless if its high or low at the time.

I'm wondering what could cause a supposedly singled out 15 Amp breaker fuse with a single receptacle to have such a massive voltage change for absolutely no reason and if its not in my unit...is there any inexpensive way to check if my outlet is somehow daisy chained (intentionally or not) from one of the other floors.

With all the weird things happening like outlets just shutting themselves off, surge protectors with no issue tripping themselves, and this...I'm wondering is someone is tapping into my power or if the electrics are actually just that messed up here.

If that doesn't clear things up, I'll post a picture tomorrow but what your going to see is a grounded outlet standard as possible with a black hot, white neutral, and a bronze ground...and the other wires capped off behind it, nothing more...it's pretty late here and I don't want to be running up and down to the circuit breaker to hit the fuse just for a picture.
 
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Old 12-21-20, 05:14 AM
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The next time you measure the 114-122 vac swing on the problem circuit, measure the voltage at the input to the breaker panel and let us know what you measure.
 
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Old 12-21-20, 06:09 AM
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Must have missed a part of my first post, I have no idea what I'm doing at the breaker panel and I don't want to open it (unless I'm misunderstanding you) and get myself killed.

I did just figure out that using an unrelated socket (according to the breakers) causes the issue as well, along what seems to be my downstairs neighbors washer/dryer kicking on--which ironically is where the other socket is, behind my washer and dryer.

But that doesn't shut off with my breaker either...something is going on, what I'm looking for is a safe tool to check exactly what without sticking my hand around the 100 amp panel (ya, old house lol) that won't break the bank if there is one.

If you want to explain a general method you feel is safe for a novice to check what your asking, I will do it.

My voltage just went from 120 to 116 (no change in my unit) and then 118 again...all in a matter of five minutes or so. Which I know isn't so weird, but it didn't drop slowly...just straight to 116 while my PC had been running for hours. Heard downstairs washer/dryer and boom...I have to assume something is off for sure, considering i'm not checking the entire house here--just one socket that should be singled out from the other breakers.
 
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Old 12-21-20, 07:09 AM
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I would not consider a drop from 120 to 116, even sudden, as a problem or malfunction. That is within tolerances for the behavior and operation of wiring and circuits and appliances and devices. A clothes dryer or even a hair dryer can cause that drop.
 
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Old 12-21-20, 08:16 AM
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On a different breaker, or more importantly...in a different unit? If it happened when i ran MY dryer i'd expect it and consider it normal. But its not...i'm touching nothing. Even my heat is off.

What I find odd is one outlet can make it happen guaranteed (my radiator blew recently to boot--right after fixing the broken valve) and I used it for a space heater...but if I use another outlet on the same circuit for the same space heater and nothing. Worst part is, its wired in behind the washer I can't move due to the water pipe, which again...seems a bit off to me. Its like jacking someones fridge plug...everyone needs to run a fridge.

Maybe it is just old wiring...I'd still like to settle my unease and fix it if possible.

I actually haven't even tried to use the washer and dryer in my own unit to be honest.
 
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Old 12-21-20, 08:35 AM
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If I wanted to keep this as simple as possible (I know, as a PC tech...simple is hard for someone with skills in the area lol), but this would be the general questions.

1. Can I determine if my receptacle is daisy chained? If so...how?

2. Is a power inserter, old nynex box still with wiring inside (half open) near the fuse boxes out of place?

3. Why on gods green earth would any normal wall outlet think it could access my phones data like I connected it to a PC USB port?

I did read about public USB ports having the ability to be hacked, but not when you used your own wall charger (no USB ports on any outlets...at least in my unit)

So a last question, to anyone who might have USB outlets...would that cause the next port in a daisy chain (even if wired wrong) to assume it has that capability through the outlet?
 
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Old 12-21-20, 09:17 AM
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Guessing thats not as okay as 116v


So is that considered within the normal limits aside from in Japan? What happened when i ran my space heater while the voltage was already taking a dip....been verified with a Kill-o-Watt P4400 as well.
 
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Old 12-21-20, 02:56 PM
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To determine if you have a whole house or single circuit (one breaker problem) do the following. Assuming the voltmeter in last photo in monitoring the suspect circuit. Run an extension cord from an outlet on a different breaker near the instrument monitoring voltage on suspect circuit. Plug your P4400 into the extension cord. If the readouts remain the same and varying the most likely problem is between the house and pole transformer. If one readout remain constant and the other varying the circuit with the varying voltage has a problem. With the breaker off, check all connections at loads to insure they are tight. Move wires from back stabs to the provided screws.
 
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Old 12-21-20, 03:48 PM
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Ok, so my box (in the picture) is sitting at 120 flat, most other outlets are between 115 (on the high end) and 117 all bouncing around, I got one attached to my bathroom light GFI/Light Switch (which also has a plug on top of one of the light fixtures that goes on when I turn on the light) sitting at around 113, but they are all variable at different times.

I had one in my kitchen running 15KWh with just the Kill-o-Watt plugged in. I have removed any back stabbed ones as I went along with the intention of replacing them all with new outlets simply since I'm picky about my expensive electronics and I think I have covered most.

The bathroom one is on screws (as is my issue outlet, I don't like using the back stabs myself), BUT my GFI tester can't pop the bathroom outlet and its grounded, an electrician replaced that one too and couldn't explain it, or so they said. I'll check those wires myself, since my tester goes red which doesn't happen if there is a ground and I have seen the ground myself.

I knew that was a problem, but I removed the light fixture cover to see that top outlet and it looks like a nightmare (not the receptace and light switch), so i'll start there I suppose.

Keep in mind my box doesn't show decimals, just the voltage so it could be shifting around itself at the 120 range.

One other thing I thought was weird...I plug the Kill-o-Watt into my issue outlet and after a few seconds it shows 3-5 amps, I've seen 3 quite a lot, but never 4 or 5 for just that with nothing plugged in. I'll check the bathroom light and get back to you, as well as keep an eye on the other outlets. Thanks.
 
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Old 12-21-20, 05:41 PM
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BUT my GFI tester can't pop the bathroom outlet and its grounded
That is an indication that what you think is grounded..... is not. I see it all the time in old houses. You must have a ground for the GFI to trip. You may have NM-b cable which has a ground in it but it may not be connected at the other end.

Daisy chained receptacles are multiple receptacles connected to the same circuit. In the diagram are seven daisy chained receptacles. They are all on one circuit. If you turn the breaker off..... they will all be dead. The diagram is illustrating where to check if some of the devices are working.
 
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Old 12-21-20, 05:44 PM
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This much I knew, I was checking the ground next...and as for the daisy chaining, I understand how it works...I just don't know how to find one before the last circuit if its not in my unit or it is hidden illegally. Do appreciate the reply though...on the GFI ground as soon as I can kill the bathroom light and hopefully I can fix it.

My other thought was they have the bottom and top connections reversed, which I'll also try.
 
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Old 12-21-20, 07:28 PM
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The Bathroom GFI and a visual of the wiring in the house and my other outlet.


The wire mess and general type in the house mostly . There is a light switch next to this that is grounded, think they may have used the good ground there.

How the ground "was" , I put it around the screw, still not grounded.

One Hot, 2 Neutral. Sorry bout the quality, too many photos.
 
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Old 12-21-20, 08:21 PM
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Just did a load of laundry myself...box didn't drop more than half a volt the entire time...I'm totally at a loss now considering the washer plugs in where the outlet that seemed to drain the box is located as far as the breaker goes.

If it ain't jacked or wired into another unit unintentionally, I don't know what else could be causing it. One minute its fine, the next i'm across the globe lol. Breakers all off, all on, nothing I do seems to make a difference.
 
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Old 12-22-20, 10:47 AM
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Swapped the grounds (they are coming from opposite hot lines, it now shows I have a neutral unlike when I pulled it out of the push in slot...breaker still doesn't trip and shows it isn't grounded.

Is it possibly due to the double neutrals on the receptacle?

Ironically the one thing that is grounded is the receptacle coming off the top of a light bulb holder I didnt see forever lol. No idea, and I haven't gotten any responses...So I'm gonna stick things back how they were and call it on this idea before I cause damage unintentionally.

I would have reversed the neutral and hot to check, if it was reversed down the line, but I had no idea there were two of them. I doubt thats a very bright idea.
 
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Old 12-22-20, 09:04 PM
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I see trouble brewing on the horizon. This is a rental unit ? You need to tread carefully. A renter should not be doing any electrical work in rental unit. Could be a major liability plus you have some problem wiring that could compound the problem.
 
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Old 12-22-20, 09:46 PM
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As for the electrical work, the electrician replaced this GFI and said they didn't know why it couldn't be tripped...and I was allowed and actually asked to replace a few receptacles upon seeing that I knew how it was done by the same electrician. I have permission to work in my own unit.

If I can figure out what my problem actually is, I have a friend who can handle the electrical work and actually owes me a favor, legit electrician. Getting him to diagnose a problem is harder than getting him to actually repair one.

Worst case if its THAT bad and I can explain it to the electrician, they would simply assume I figured it out checking outlets....would you mind explaining in the simplest terms, but to furthest extent you possible can?

Also for the record, there are actually two hot wires both going to the receptacle on one screw (opposite the neutrals) and one piggy tailed to the switch from there (same pole I believe), this is also on a 30 amp breaker controlling a good chunk of the house, so if its bad I really need to know...please.
 
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Old 12-24-20, 11:53 AM
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Guess you can't...for some reason of your own which I can respect.

I'll have to have my friend take a look or really start digging...I got a pantry light out attached to that, which also took out one of the bedrooms main plugs (only 3 prong), I can't just let it sit, and the electrician was either too lazy or knew what was going on when they replaced the GFI, which makes me more determined to know.

Appreciate at least the fact of letting me know something was wrong. Thanks.
 
 

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