Weird Issue Help Needed Please!


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Old 01-31-21, 04:04 AM
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Weird Issue Help Needed Please!

Ok here is my issue! I have an outside outlet it is covered and dry! It has been on home for years. I run 2 drop cords off this outlet. Both drop cords are heavy duty and outdoor rated! On one drop cord, I have like lights which are string lights 2 sets together. The other drop cord runs a battery charger for drills or some power tools when needed. The only other thing I use is a radio all the time. So the radio and lights are the only things I use all the time. Both are wired to switches on the wall. The other day I was feeling poorly so my wife went and cut off the lights. Then when I cut them back on the next day only one set works even though they are tied together. So I tried another outlet on the same cord same issue. Put lights on other cord thinking cord was maybe bad? same thing only one set works. Now if I run the lights to the other drop cord the other set comes on. Which makes no sense to me. They all worked on the same drop cord for over a year now. So why would hook the lights to another drop cord off the same outlet turn the lights on? But if I run both sets off the other drop cord same thing only 1 set work? But if they are on 2 different cords same outlet both sets work? Anybody got any ideas? Have tried new drop cords for both same issues only 1 set of lights come on unless hooked to another power source? Even if off another outlet same thing? Could this be an issue with the outlet? Breaker switch inside? Thanks, guys or gals all help is much appreciated!!
These outlets are outdoor-rated string lights on heavy duty drop cord inside of a small garage.
All outlets are new with new wiring and switch to. All was done same time and everything worked up until the wife cut off the lights one day??????
 
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Old 01-31-21, 07:27 AM
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My first guess is the string lights have a short or break in the line.
Just to put your mind at ease, try plugging in several other appliances (drills, skill saw, portable heater, etc...) into each of the outlets a see if they work as normal. Or go out and buy a plug-in tester.

You might also pull outlets from box and look for loose connection or back-stabs that are loose or corroded.

I had a string of Xmas tree lights that did a similar thing. One of the strings had a very small break in the wire that made contact on and off.
 

Last edited by PJmax; 01-31-21 at 09:55 AM. Reason: resized pic
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Old 01-31-21, 07:34 AM
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Good Morning
Thank You I was thinking about getting a tester when I get paid. I have tried other things in the outlets and all work just fine. I did forget to mention I have heat tape plugged into one but not on that cord but the same outlet.
I do know with heat tape I can run anything else on the same outlet. But if I try a heater it will trip the breaker and just reset. Could it be a bad breaker??
Thanks for all your help.
 
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Old 01-31-21, 07:40 AM
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Heaters draw a lot of current and that in itself could trip the breaker. In combination with the heat tape, yes it could trip the breaker. It depends on what rating your breaker is. It should be a 20 amp. If a skill saw or similar doesn't trip the breaker then I would assume it's OK.
I still think your string lights have a minute break in the wire or maybe at the plug itself.
 
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Old 01-31-21, 07:47 AM
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Then when I cut them back on the next day only one set works even though they are tied together
When you say "tied together" do you mean they are plugged end to end or are they both plugged into the same outlet?

A short would tip the breaker. A poor connection is more likely the cause.
 
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Old 01-31-21, 12:57 PM
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Good Afternoon
Yes, they are plugged into each other. They were designed like that. Just one end plugged into an outlet. Now I have to have both ends plugged into an outlet.
Thanks, everyone for all your help.
 
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Old 01-31-21, 01:01 PM
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Afternoon
The breaker is 15 amps. As an experiment, i tried unplugging heat tape and just heater and lights same thing breaker trips. This is a very old breaker. I am going to look the lights over. Then go ahead and change the breaker anyway. Just weird how all of a sudden this started!!
Thanks, everyone.
 
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Old 01-31-21, 01:54 PM
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The breaker trips? Is this a GFCI breaker or a standard breaker?
 
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Old 01-31-21, 11:46 PM
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Good Morning
this is a gfci breaker.
 
 

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