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Thread: outlet issues

  1. #1

    Default outlet issues

    Hi all of my bath outlets/exterior outlets/garage outlets are out, checked all house gfci tested/reset/ect same in main box/none tripped. Could it be ind. breaker for certain zone needs replacing? Thanks for any help. TS

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you haven't already, try tripping the GFCI using the test button, then resetting. My guess is there's one you dont' know about that is tripped. If they don't trip using the test button, then there's no power coming in, and then the CB could be in doubt (unless there's multiple GFCI in series). A multimeter or test light should easily tell you if there's power up to the GFCI.

    With that many outlets not working, it should be multiple circuts, which could indicate a bad or loose lead or bus connection in the panel or coming in from the power line. How many circuit breakers are used to connect to these outlets (it's a good idea to have a good map or list by CB)?
    Jim DeBruycker
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  3. #3

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    Thanks for the response!! So ive tripped all 3 gfi and they all reset and work, interestingly no gfi at all on exterior or upper level of house including all baths? (thought thats where they were supposed to be i/e certain distance from water source) there are 2 near kitchen sink area which makes sense, and one in basement right next to main breaker box for entire house. there are 9 individual 15 amp GE brand zone breakers marked and dedicated to plugs/outlets in main box, all on LH side of main box .

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default outlets

    ALL of those outlets are supposed to be GFCI protected, so that implies that there may be one master one, or circuit breaker, for all of them. I once found a GFCI under a bench in a bathroom that the homeowners had never seen or even knew it was there.

  5. #5

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    ok so at this point im stuck i have gone thru every individual zone breaker and replaced with a good cb and repowered each time, and no luck still same outlets down. im crawling under deck as we text to see if an additional gfci may have been missed as deck was built on after house built . and nothing there . the only thing i can think of is
    A: still a gfi some where we cannot find
    B: there are( 2) 30 amp CB in main box i havent switched out because i dont have one (going to home depot as we text) to get one and swap out.

    OK new fly in ointment, my girlfriend just called me and told me her boys tried to plug"something" into outlet out on deck yesterday and it "kinda" sparked and wouldnt work..!!! arrggghhhh so still makes me think gfci somewhere unknown,( i even cleaned out cabinets everywhere to look for gfci) or one of the (2) 30 amp breakers controls the set of outlets that are sparked out

  6. #6

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    any other suggestions would be very appreciated Thanks

  7. #7
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smitytv View Post
    her boys tried to plug"something" into outlet out on deck yesterday and it "kinda" sparked and wouldnt work
    The short opened up a flaky (probably wirenut) connection that was barely holding?

    Speaking of high resistance connections, with no other loads on the outlets do you get any voltage to the outlet when measured with a high-impedance voltmeter, i.e., a DVM?

    Is there any small amount of current going through the breaker?
    A GFI probably pulls a few mA for its internal circuitry. You can measure this by opening the breaker and measuring current by shunting the breaker terminals with an ammeter in series with an incandescent lamp, say 25w or so. The lamp is there to protect your ammeter.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 10-16-2008 at 09:55 AM.

  8. #8

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    let me ask a couple of last resort questoins. what if:

    A there is a mystery gfci some where and i canot find it, what to do then

    B or if there were not a gfci that controls those outlets, would/ could it be directly controlled by a 30 amp breaker in the main house box?

  9. #9

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    what if:

    A there is a mystery gfci some where and i canot find it, what to do then
    Keep looking. Some knucklehead might have built a garage cabinet in front of it.

  10. #10
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    It seems to me that a GFI opens both hot and neutral.

    If you have a known good outlet nearby and an extension cord you can check if the neutral of the bad outlet is still connected by running lamp a from the hot (short slot) of the good outlet to the long slot of the bad one.

    If the neutral is still intact then it's probably not a GFI. That may be good news or bad news.

  11. #11
    Electrical Contractor jbfan74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smitytv View Post
    let me ask a couple of last resort questoins. what if:

    A there is a mystery gfci some where and i canot find it, what to do then

    B or if there were not a gfci that controls those outlets, would/ could it be directly controlled by a 30 amp breaker in the main house box?
    I sometime find them in the garage, behind an old fridge.

    It will not be controled by the 30 amp breakers.
    Yes I am A Pirate-Jimmy Buffett

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default outlets

    The next thing is to inject a tone into the non-working system and then try to track it back towards the circuit breaker panel and see where you lose the sound. This may require a professional company, usually one that also finds pipe leaks.

  13. #13
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smitytv View Post
    OK new fly in ointment, my girlfriend just called me and told me her boys tried to plug"something" into outlet out on deck yesterday and it "kinda" sparked and wouldnt work.
    Is this outlet still dead, or did it trip a breaker somewhere that you've reset?

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