Wall outlets

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  #1  
Old 06-20-02, 11:46 AM
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JacquieH
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Question Wall outlets

I need help!!! I just replaced the outlets in my living room. I checked all the wires to make sure I had them correct, then when it still didn't work I tried switching them. They're still not working. Help!
 
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  #2  
Old 06-20-02, 11:59 AM
J
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One or more living room receptacles are often switched or half-switched. Was this true for you too? Do you still have the old receptacles that you can examine to see if any of the tabs between the screws are broken out?

Did you check to see if you blew the breaker? Did you check for a possible GFCI trip?

I'm just grasping at random straws. Your description as "not working" isn't much to go on. If you provide more details about your work, we might have a better chance at seeing the flaw. Did you replace the receptacles merely to get a different color, or was there some other reason?
 
  #3  
Old 06-20-02, 12:10 PM
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JacquieH
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Well...

I'm afraid I don't know much about electrical stuff. (hence the use of the word "stuff")

I was replacing them because the old ones were broken. They still worked, but the faces of them were broken, so some of the contacts were exposed. When I replaced the first one I wired it exactly like the one I was replacing. I don't know what the voltage on the line is or anything like that.

I don't know what I mean by "not working" either. When I started the lights worked...when I was done, the lights didn't work.

I don't know what a GFCI is. But I know that the breakers were fine when I went out to turn them back off to switch around the wiring again, so it's not a breaker issue.

I have the old outlets, but they're really old and don't HAVE tabs between the screws. The screws are in the metal part, which is just solid across.
 
  #4  
Old 06-20-02, 12:55 PM
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JacquieH
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Oh yea, and everyone tells me to put the white wire on the copper screw, but when I'm looking at the back of this new outlet the silver side says "white wire". I just dunno.

Why are all the smart people not helping me? Is it because I'm a girl? ;-)

 
  #5  
Old 06-20-02, 01:12 PM
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TomBrooklyn
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Actually, I think you are more likely to get help if you are a girl, and then your helpers may want to ask you for a date. But I digress.

The incoming power line should be put on the copper screw and the neutral on the silver screw. Normally the black wire is the power and the white is the neutral. Although this is the case most of the time, there is no guarentee the wires have not been reversed somewhere before the receptical you are working on.

You don't know who did what to your wiring before you got there. You can buy a little device for less than ten dollars that plugs into the receptical and tells you if the polarity is correct. (The black and white wires, or more accurately, the power and neutral wires, are not reversed.) It also tells you if the ground is attached and a few other things. I wouldn't wire any recepticals without one.

Be careful and make sure you turn the power off before you do any line voltage work.
 
  #6  
Old 06-20-02, 01:26 PM
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JacquieH
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Hehe...the girl thing was a joke. I see what you mean...also, two of my outlets don't have grounding wires. I don't know if that would affect it? and one of them has four wires so I would imagine that they go to the other two of the four posts there, correct? :s

What's up with the tabs you were talking about? I see the tab between the screws on my new outlets, but there isn't even a space between the screws on the old ones. Grr.
 
  #7  
Old 06-21-02, 06:54 AM
J
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Jacquie,

There are dozens of potential mistakes you might have made that are causing this not to work. It's time you called in an electrically-knowledgeable friend to inspect your work. Electrical work is a very bad place to be guessing and experimenting. Unfortunately, there are many ways to get something that works but is not safe. So if you just experiment until it works, you may have created a very unsafe condition.

If you have no electrically-knowledgeable friend and/or cannot afford an electrician, then you need to become electrically-knowledgeable yourself. I recommend that you go to your local public library and check out five books on home wiring. Read at least three of them cover to cover.

Be safe.
 
  #8  
Old 06-21-02, 09:38 AM
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JacquieH
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Thanks for the advice. I do happen to have a friend who does electrical work. I'll keep trying and have him come tell me what I'm doing wrong when it still doesn't work

If anyone else has any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated.
 
  #9  
Old 06-21-02, 09:39 AM
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TomBrooklyn
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Jackie, I was thinking the same thing as John. It is not clear from what you asked what is going on there, and there are too many possibilities to cover them all. If you read up on some wiring books, you can probably narrow down the situation to a more specific problem. Be careful.
 
  #10  
Old 06-21-02, 10:11 AM
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bungalow jeff
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When a bad circuit does not work properly it is a problem. When a bad circuit "works" you have a dangerous situation. If you are unfamiliar with electrical work and are guessing, you can cause some serious problems and not know about it for years because the lights and outlets seem to work. Tell your electrical friend that it is important to come see your work. I find that threatening a persons ego by suggesting to hire someone else gets them moving.
 
  #11  
Old 06-21-02, 10:23 AM
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JacquieH
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Oh, he'll come check it for me at any time. I'm going to take your advice for sure...I don't need to burn down the house or anything.

I was just thinking about something and it occurred to me that there's one outlet...the only one with a ground wire actually...that wasn't ever working. Only one wire was connected on it before I started this, so I figured the others had come out or something through incorrect tightening. But would having that one that is not working properly connected stop the others from working properly even though the individual outlets were wired properly? And also if the old outlets are not set up for as high a current as the new ones would that also make them not work?

Just a couple of occurences that rattled into my brain.
 
  #12  
Old 06-21-02, 11:47 AM
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TomBrooklyn
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Q: ...one outlet, the only one with a ground wire actually... wasn't ever working. Only one wire was connected on it before I started this, ... would having that one that is not working properly connected stop the others from working properly even though the individual outlets were wired properly?

A: Yes, if they are wired in series, no if they are wired in parallel. As you probably don't know what that means, you have to refer to a basic wiring book to find out.

Q: ... also if the old outlets are not set up for as high a current as the new ones would that also make them not work?

A: Most common outlets new and old are rated for 15 amp. A lower rating wouldn't necessarily stop them from working but could burn them up at some point.
 
  #13  
Old 06-25-02, 09:58 PM
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pickynicky
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This is a classic example of when someone has to say PLEASE CONSULT AN ACTIVELY LICENSED ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. It may cost you 100 bucks but it may save you from a possible fire or who knows what else.
 
  #14  
Old 06-27-02, 08:27 AM
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JacquieH
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yyyea

In case you hadn't noticed I'd already mentioned that I would have my friend that IS an electrician come and check it out for me.

Just as an update...I got ONE outlet out of the two that were originally working up and running, but there's absolutely no electrical current in the other one. That's the point at which I went back outside and threw the switch off for that part of the house and will now wait for said friend to have time to come out.

 
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