Household Electrical Curcuit

Thread Starter

Rich Malane

Joined Dec 5, 2020
1
I tested all the breakers with a multi meter / all tested good - lights and outlets not working / not getting power - any ideas to try
 

ronsimpson

Joined Oct 7, 2019
1,125
gerty is right. Newer houses have GFCI on all outdoor circuits. and in the garage. Some houses tap off the bathroom GFI breaker for the outside circuits. See if any of your circuits have one of these:
1607206547227.png
He is also right that if the white wire is open there will be no power even though the breaker is powering the black wire.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
7,732
The first thing to do, after verifying that the white wire is in fact connected properly, I have come across failed breakers that go through the motions but never switch on. And a friend of mine had the main breaker fail in the house he was renting. I had one service visit where one side of the line coming in from the meter box had no voltage. That problem was solved by the power company because it was their part that failed.
I also came across an installation where the GFCI was connected in reverse, power fed to the output terminals and the input terminals feeding other boxes. The green light was on but the outlet was dead. That one took opening the box and pulling the GFCI out and metering the terminals. Once I fixed the connections the problem was solved.
And in one rental property half the lights in the house were beyond a GFCI hidden behind a curtain. It was ntended for one outside outlet, but the cheapo installer put it in series with the power for half the house lights.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
22,536
I have seen breakers that appear to be on but you have to manually flick it OFF and ON again to make it connect.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
7,732
I have seen breakers that appear to be on but you have to manually flick it OFF and ON again to make it connect.
The TS tells us that they checked all of the breakers. Unfortunately I am not sure what that means in this situation. I have also seen open wire-nut connections. I made $50 for giving a loose wire nut one twist one time, it fixed a problem that had an electrician stumped for two days. I have seen several instances where that little strip that connects the two outlets has broken on one side, leaving a portion of the place powerless.
 
that had an electrician stumped for two days.
An AC professional was stuck for a week after installing an water to air heat pump that he could not get to work. He asked for my help. I could not get caught helping because I had a nanosecond time watcher as a boss at the time. As it turned out, we had some re-modeling done at work and the contractors scraped the thermostat wires to the heat pumps in the metal studs. No sleeves were used.

It took me about 5minutes of troubleshooting with the AC guy after taking the wiring diagram home and I told him to replace the thermostat wire. He did it without question because he was out of options.

I noticed that the doors were not going to be installed correctly. They were supposed to be installed in an alcove so they would not hit someone in the hall in the face on an emergency exit. Boss says "What were you doing in there?" instead of "thank you".
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,398
I tested all the breakers with a multi meter / all tested good - lights and outlets not working / not getting power - any ideas to try
How, exactly, did you test them with a multimeter? Where did you connect the probes? What was the meter set to? What did the meter read?
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
7,732
Here is another question: Is everything not working, or just some or a few things not working? That makes a difference in where the fault would most likely be.
What about the failure mode? Was everything working and then all at once nothing? And was anything in the line of remodeling or other work done at the time things stopped working?
AND, is this new construction, or an existing installation where it had been working and then stopped working?
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
22,036
I tested all the breakers with a multi meter / all tested good - lights and outlets not working / not getting power - any ideas to try
I have seen this before where all circuits show no power.
The main breaker had tripped after an electrical storm.
Most over-look the Main one!
Max.
 

JWHassler

Joined Sep 25, 2013
284
I have seen several instances where that little strip that connects the two outlets has broken on one side, leaving a portion of the place powerless.
Monster peeve here... that " little strip" is not allowed to be used thus. The receptacle is to be connected with a pigtail, so that its failure doesn't affect downstream devices
 
Monster peeve here... that " little strip" is not allowed to be used thus. The receptacle is to be connected with a pigtail, so that its failure doesn't affect downstream devices
Another monster peeve, is that Ideal stopped making term-a-nuts: https://www.tequipment.net/Ideal30-3180.asp They were in white, black and green with and without a spade terminal. I loved them for doing the "pigtails".

What is a little hard is using connecting the outlet ground to the box ground using a ground clip because the threaded hole is missing. An early box. The grounding term-a-nut can help there too.

The "stupid" outlet makers depend largely on the box dimensions of today, but there should not be a way for a properly secured #12 or #14 AWG wire to touch the side of the box. Unfortunately, that's not the case, You have to wrap electrical tape around the outlet body.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
7,732
I would only ever use tape around a device when working it hot, and having a crowded box that was small. That is about 5% of them that I have to deal with. and with using a pigtail it should be quite easy to get the outlet back into the box with no sparking.
And still no response from the TS. Perhaps the problem is solved and it was something silly.
 
I would only ever use tape around a device when working it hot, and having a crowded box that was small. That is about 5% of them that I have to deal with. and with using a pigtail it should be quite easy to get the outlet back into the box with no sparking.
That wasn't my problem.

Take this as an example:

1607293954948.png
Note the oval shaped hole in the outlet, When you moved the outlet side to side, the wires would touch the sides of the box.
One day, the power just went out and I had to find where in that daisy chain, there was a short. I did suspect that box, because the outlet was replaced.

First, I found out which outlets didn't have power and I had to get the phones back up. Fortunately, I started there.

It had a cable in and a cable out AND provided power to the ceiling light/fan.

I did contact the manufacturer (I forget who) and it was determined that the 60 YO box was short on the width dimension.
They are relying on the oval length and the box inside width.

I think they should recess the screws such that it's unable to reach the side of the box. During the "test", I didn't allow any up/down play.

I didn't even use a wire. I used a term-a-nut spade connector and the screw was still able to contact the side.

So, probably with the screw tight and no wire at all, the screw could touch the side of the metal box because "the box is too small" width wise.

Replacing the box really wasn't an option.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
7,732
There are some brands of outlets that are wider and do pose a problem. I never use those brands. There are enough good brands available that there is no reason to ever consider those. So yes, in some places there are quality issues that do cause problems. I have been fortunate.
Now I wonder if the TS has fixed the problem, and I hope that we get anexplanation of what it was.
 

lyleleverich

Joined Apr 2, 2019
31
If all power is off, check for 120 and 240 volts at the mains. If half is off, likely you have one phase off; either main breaker or electric company issue. Could be a bad meter box also. You need to test the breakers by connecting something like a light bulb between each breaker terminal and the neutral in the panel (not ground). Also, you can test to see if neutrals are open by testing from hot to ground. (That could trip a GFIC) Note also about the hidden GFIC mentioned earlier. My house built early '90's has two GFIC's that feed multiple circuits. One is in the downstairs laundry and feeds upstairs bathrooms. The other is in the downstairs bathroom and feeds both front and rear outside outlets.
 
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