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"Household electric circuit question" Topic

12 Posts

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596 hits since 30 Nov 2013
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Comments or corrections?

Balin Shortstuff30 Nov 2013 7:04 p.m. PST

I've got a house circuit that's dead, but the circuit breaker has not tripped. Resetting the breaker does not work. Could it be a bad breaker or a loose wire?

What seemed to trigger it was plugging in a laptop into a power strip attached into the circuit. It's been done before with no problems.

coryfromMissoula30 Nov 2013 7:28 p.m. PST

Check for GFI outlets. They essentially have a built in circuit breaker and are usually found within 3' of a water source, but can be anywhere. A tripped GFI can shut down everything else on the circuit.

Otherwise, a bad connection somewhere. Wires break, outlets fail, and so on.

Balin Shortstuff30 Nov 2013 7:49 p.m. PST

I did check the GFI'sin the house to be sure, but there are no GFI's on the circuit

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2013 9:58 p.m. PST

If you had a meter you could test at the breaker to see if you have power at that point. If it was a loose wire there would be an origin or a first outlet/switch that doesn't work. If it is the entire circuit my first guess would be the breaker.

Micman Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2013 11:42 p.m. PST

Wires do come loose from outlets and switches. Pretty much have to look at every junction box.

Although I believe there are some new meters/sensors that can check without opening a box. Not an electrician, so what to I know.

Balin Shortstuff01 Dec 2013 4:43 a.m. PST

I was thinking that for a loose wire to affect the entire circuit, it would have to be the first outlet coming from the main box. Or the circuit breaker itself.

Balin Shortstuff01 Dec 2013 10:08 a.m. PST

Well, it's not the circuit breaker. Tested a new one for continuity, swapped it for the old one, and the old passed the continuity test, and still no luck. So must be a loose wire going into an (or the first) outlet. Hopefully there is no junction box somewhere.

Balin Shortstuff01 Dec 2013 3:37 p.m. PST

With the circuit breaker off, I supplied electricity to the circuit via another outlet from what was essentially an extension cord with two male ends. All outlets worked. I'm stumped.

Stephens123 Inactive Member01 Dec 2013 4:12 p.m. PST

I'm not an electrician but it seems that you answered your own question. The fault must lie between the two points that you bridged with the extension cord.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2013 5:54 p.m. PST

Check power strip for reset or circuit breaker. They often have internal protection.

Balin Shortstuff01 Dec 2013 6:21 p.m. PST

I'm tracing the cable from the main box using a volt sensor I just borrowed from m'Dad. There IS voltage coming out of the circuit breaker, I just hope the problem is found before the cable disappears behind sheetrock.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian02 Dec 2013 3:26 p.m. PST

It is NEVER that easy

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