Dead outlets

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barkerrd
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Dead outlets

Post by barkerrd » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:56 am

Someone accidentally shorted out an outlet. The outlet and others on the same circuit are dead. The circuit breaker tests live. It can be reset without tripping. What could be wrong? The shorted outlet shows no signs of damage.

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Aaron
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by Aaron » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:39 am

You will want to reset the breaker just in case. Switch the handle all the way off, then back on. You may also have a GFCI receptacle on the circuit that may also have tripped, that could be the cause for your dead receptacles. Be sure to reset it.

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A. Spruce
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by A. Spruce » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:19 am

If this is the first outlet in the chain and it was damaged, then the outlet itself could be the culprit. Start with flipping breaker off and back on, then searching for a GFCI that may be feeding it, as both of these are quick and easy to do.
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barkerrd
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by barkerrd » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:49 pm

Breaker was rest several times. Voltage readings show 120v on both screws. (There are two black wires connected to this breaker). GFCIs (2) did not trip. Could the cable from the service box to the dead outlets be damaged?

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Aaron
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by Aaron » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:08 pm

Do you test 120V in the neutral and hot slots of the GFCI?

If not, remove the cover and test for 120V on the top and bottom pairs of hot/neutral screws of the GFCI.

You should only have one GFCI receptacle per circuit, by the way.

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emtnut
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by emtnut » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:12 pm

barkerrd wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:49 pm
Breaker was rest several times. Voltage readings show 120v on both screws. (There are two black wires connected to this breaker). GFCIs (2) did not trip. Could the cable from the service box to the dead outlets be damaged?
In a short circuit, a GFCI won't trip ... But the surge of current is hard on all the connections in the circuit.
It's common after a short circuit to find a backstabbed receptacle that has failed.
Best to turn off the breaker, find everything on this circuit, and see where the power stops. The problem will either be where the power stops, or the receptacle feeding that last receptacle.
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Aaron
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by Aaron » Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:53 am

Yes, definitely check for backstabbed receptacles -- I forgot those exist. It's where the wire is pushed into a hole in the back instead of wrapped around the screw. If you spot one, snip the wires right where it enters the back and discard the receptacle and replace it with a new one, only this time strip the wire 3/4" and wrap it clockwise around the terminal screws. If you have two hots and two neutrals, you should splice them together with a third short piece of wire for a pigtail to the receptacle.

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Re: Dead outlets

Post by barkerrd » Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:41 am

There are three receptacles on this circuit. The one where the short occurred is number two. The strange thing about this wiring is that two circuits are controlled by one 20 amp breaker with two hot screws. Should the double breaker be replaced by two singles ones? I will replace the receptacles. Thanks for your help

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Re: Dead outlets

Post by barkerrd » Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:55 am

Addition to previous post. No backstabbing but wires are placed on a strange manner in a box made for thin paneling. The box is held in the paneling by two plates screwed in behind the panel. The wires are pushed into "jaws" instead of being attached by screws. No screws are present. The box where the short occurred is in the middle of a run. I think I should replace the three outlets with those having screws. Agreed?

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emtnut
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by emtnut » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:13 am

barkerrd wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:41 am
There are three receptacles on this circuit. The one where the short occurred is number two. The strange thing about this wiring is that two circuits are controlled by one 20 amp breaker with two hot screws. Should the double breaker be replaced by two singles ones? I will replace the receptacles. Thanks for your help
That's a multiwire branch circuit. there are 2 hots, and they share 1 neutral (3 wire cable feeds the double pole breaker). This needs to stay on the double pole !

The 3 receptacles are what the double pole feeds (both circuits) ? Are these kitchen recepts ?
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by emtnut » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:14 am

barkerrd wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:55 am
Addition to previous post. No backstabbing but wires are placed on a strange manner in a box made for thin paneling. The box is held in the paneling by two plates screwed in behind the panel. The wires are pushed into "jaws" instead of being attached by screws. No screws are present. The box where the short occurred is in the middle of a run. I think I should replace the three outlets with those having screws. Agreed?
Is this a mobile home ? Sounds like the wiring used in one. If you can upload a pic that may help.

If you have the room for a bigger box, and a regular type receptacle, that would work.
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emtnut
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by emtnut » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:24 am

emtnut wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:12 pm

In a short circuit, a GFCI won't trip ...
Just to clarify ... A GFCI won't trip in a hot/neutral short. It will pop instantly on a hot/ground short.

It can also pop in a neutral/ground short
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barkerrd
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by barkerrd » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:27 am

Understand GFCI info. This is a manufactured home. There is room for a regular type receptacle. This is a kitchen. There is an outlet for the refrigerator and two general duty outlets. Here is a video showing the exact model of the outlet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P1tlTRWZ-I
It appears that replacements are in order. Anyone disagree?

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Re: Dead outlets

Post by barkerrd » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:59 am

Additional question. Existing cable is 12/2 Romex. Seems overkill for 15 amp circuit.

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emtnut
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by emtnut » Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:03 am

barkerrd wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:59 am
Additional question. Existing cable is 12/2 Romex. Seems overkill for 15 amp circuit.
Definitely change to normal recepts !

Is the double pole both listed as 15A each side ? ... There are some that are 15A and 20A for the other. This would make sense because generally a kitchen is 20A circuits (some locations vary). And 15A for the fridge.
The only other reason for #12 would be for voltage drop.
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barkerrd
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by barkerrd » Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:32 pm

"The only other reason for #12 would be for voltage drop." Got it. The double pole is listed as 15A each side. Definitely changing to normal recepts. After all is done, I will post the result. Thanks to all. You guys are awesome. I love this site!

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Aaron
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by Aaron » Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:08 pm

Oh yes, you have those modular switches and receptacles that are found in modular homes. Yes, definitely replace them with normal retrofit boxes and receptacles. I hope you have sufficient slack in cabling to do so.

barkerrd
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by barkerrd » Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:12 pm

I do have sufficient slack. Thanks.

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Re: Dead outlets

Post by barkerrd » Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:56 pm

I replaced all three of the modular receps carefully in old work boxes. I still have no power to that circuit. What else can I test?

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emtnut
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by emtnut » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:00 pm

barkerrd wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:56 pm
I replaced all three of the modular receps carefully in old work boxes. I still have no power to that circuit. What else can I test?
I'd say a 95% chance there is another outlet, or junction box on that circuit.
I've never seen a cable go bad on a short circuit in 35yrs (not to say it's impossible)

What tester do you have ? Meter or non-contact, or just plugging something into the outlet ?
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barkerrd
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by barkerrd » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:03 pm

I have a multi-meter and an electrical outlet tester. Neither shows any life. I discovered a wall switch which does not appear to control anything. I will test it and post tomorrow. Thanks.

barkerrd
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by barkerrd » Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:06 am

Wall switch readings. Switch up: brass screw to ground - 120v. Silver screw to ground - 120v. Switch down. Brass screw to ground -24v. Silver screw to ground - 120v. During testing of brass screw to silver screw flash and arced. Puff of smoke. No breaker tripped. Will have to shut off main to remove switch. Cannot see what switch controls of where it goes.

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Re: Dead outlets

Post by emtnut » Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:10 am

barkerrd wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:06 am
Wall switch readings. Switch up: brass screw to ground - 120v. Silver screw to ground - 120v. Switch down. Brass screw to ground -24v. Silver screw to ground - 120v. During testing of brass screw to silver screw flash and arced. Puff of smoke. No breaker tripped. Will have to shut off main to remove switch. Cannot see what switch controls of where it goes.
The 120V you were reading sound good.

Now I have no idea why the arc ?? Testing across a switch should not cause that !

I'd also check cupboards for a recept for LED lighting, or lower cabinets for dishwasher/disposal.
And there's allways a possibility one is hiding behind furniture somewhere.
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barkerrd
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by barkerrd » Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:19 am

Found the problem. Replaced the GFCI near outlets which were dead. all is well. Thanks again to all, especially Aaron.

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Aaron
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Re: Dead outlets

Post by Aaron » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:12 pm

Glad you found it, those GFCIs can cause a lot of grief sometimes.

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