Bottom power plugs do not work. Top ones work.

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I moved in to a new place a couple months ago. The bottom plug on all three (2-plug) power outlets along the kitchen counter tops do not work. We checked all of the breakers in the basement.
I borrowed a 3-LED circuit tester. The green LEDs light up to indicate the top plugs are correct but no LEDs light up on the bottom plugs. The instructions say this indicates "open hot" but it is the same code as when it's not plugged in to anything. I have not taken the cover plate or outlet out of the wall yet.
A friend recommended replacing the outlets themselves. I'm willing to try it but I'm a bit skeptical. I think the problem lies elsewhere because all three outlets have the same problem. Or maybe someone blew all three in a row when they moved some broken appliance around.
Maybe the bottom plugs are wired on their own circuit. Would it be reasonable to split the wires to the top plug to go to both plugs in parallel?
Any ideas about what I should check or do? I live in Canada. We use similar (or the same) circuits as the USA (120 V, 60 HZ). I have a background in electronics (digital and analog) but nothing relating to home wiring.
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It is not that uncommon for plug to be split like that in a kitchen. You cut the little brass jumper between the two screws on the hot side and run two separate power sources to the plug. You are losing power somewhere between the breaker and the first plug in the cicuit assuming you are aactualy getting voltage out of the breaker. Are the plugs backstabbed, or are the wires hooked under the screws? You need to check the wires themselves with a VOM-- those little plug in checkers are mainly to check polarity and ground. All it is telling you now is that the plug is dead-- which you already kew. Good luck Larry
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Plugs have a jumper that you can cut so that one can be switched. I did this in my bedroom so the switched plug goes to a table lamp and the other to a clock radio. Perhaps they are powered from a switch so that undercabinet lights could be plugged in and all turned on by the same switch?

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You need to check your breakers again. Not just visually. Turn each one off and back on. Then see if your bottoms are hot.
--
Steve Barker


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On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 11:32:56 -0600, "Steve Barker"

Better yet, place a tester on each breaker's screw where the wire is connected. Sounds like a bad breaker to me. They DO go bad.
Of course you could have a switch controlling the lower half of the outlets, although this would be very rare for a kitchen. They often do this in living rooms to turn on table lamps, but for a kitchen this makes little sense.
If all breakers are OK, then you have a break somewhere in the wiring. Remove EACH of those outlets and use a tester to see if the black or red (or??? color) wire has power in ANY of those boxes. Check to be sure that all wirenuts are installed properly and tight. If none of this solves the problem, you likely have a problem somewhere else in that line, but only you can trace the wires and find it. It could be another WORKING outlet in that same room, so remove ALL outlets in the kitchen and do the same tests.
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Often in bedrooms and dens, the lower outlet is controlled by a switch so that someone entering can switch on a floorlamp.
It seems unlikely that this was done in the kitchen.
The jumper may have been removed on the outlet.
--
Have a Great Week !

Check Winter Haven\'s Current Weather
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Canada requires that the recept be split top'/bottom into 2 circuits. A breaker may have tripped yet appear un-tripped. Flip them to OFF and then back ON. Or a GFCI ahead of these recepts may be tripped.
Or..an open connection. That would require more digging.
Jim
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Hi Jim,
I was wondering about this myself. I understand our code here in Canada requires "split" plugs to be used in kitchens, but is that true of bedrooms as well? Granted, it would be a nice feature, but I have to assume wiring costs would be a lot higher and running those thicker cables would be a real pain.
Cheers, Paul

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Actually the "thicker" cables are easier to pull because they are round instead of flat.
--
Steve Barker

"Paul M. Eldridge" < snipped-for-privacy@ns.sympatico.ca> wrote in message
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Hi Steve,
You're right! They're thicker (and stiffer as a result), but being round does compensate for this. Now that just leaves that prickly matter of cost (I nearly fainted when I checked out the price of electrical cable at Home Depot).
Cheers, Paul
On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 13:11:52 -0600, "Steve Barker"

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It's dropping though. Just don't buy until you absolutely need it.
--
Steve Barker


"Paul M. Eldridge" < snipped-for-privacy@ns.sympatico.ca> wrote in message
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On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 13:11:52 -0600, "Steve Barker"

Agreed..... When I wire something where the wiring will be exposed, such as a garage, i always like to keep the cable flat when I staple it. It's not a requirement, but it looks ugly when the cable is all twisted up. Pulling flat romex cable from a round spool just naturally twists it, and it can be a real pain in the ass to untwist and staple it flat. I always consider this task as being the hardest part of doing any wiring, especially when working alone, because one hand is needed to straighten the cable, another hand to hold the staple, and a 3rd hand to hammer it in. I only have 2 hands.... Somehow I always manage after some cussing....
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snipped-for-privacy@no-email.com says...

I hear ya! If I have a significant amount of wiring to do I take the roll out of the box and suspend it over a broomstick, or such. It rolls off the roll without twisting. It's much easier pulling it through joists if it's not kinky too.

Cussing always helps. Moons ago my wife said I should use some of the words I did around the brat. I told her that when I hit my thumb with a hammer I was allowed any means of anesthetic I wanted. If it wasn't too bad, cussing worked. If it was close to the end of the day or the nail turned black (the end of the day) only beer would help.
--
Keith

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I found out just yesterday that a paint can is the perfect size for making the center of a lazy susan to dispense a 250' roll of romex. I too, can't stand to pull it out of the center and have all those twists. Just looks terrible.
--
Steve Barker

"Gerry Atrick" < snipped-for-privacy@no-email.com> wrote in message
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On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 16:53:44 -0600, "Steve Barker"

What do you do with the paint can? All I can imagine is that you use an empty can and put a broomstick or pipe thru the lid and can bottom, and place it across some saw horses or something like that. I normally always buy cable in 250ft. rolls and I find it hard to imagine where just a simple broomstick would keep the roll from flipping all over the place. I did make a jig once for dispensing single strand wire (for conduit). I just took a piece of 1/2" water pipe and shoved it thru the holes in the spools of wire. Then I put a "two screw" pipe hanger on two saw horses to hold the pipe in place. That worked pretty well, except I had to weigh down the horses, or they wanted to tip if the wire got jammed up. A couple heavy toolboxes took care of the weights.
Pulling the cable from the center of a flat spool of wire laying flat on the floor or a bench, makes a real twisted mess of the wire. If I need 10 or 20 feet, I just cut off what I need, but for long runs it becomes a disaster and the further I get toward the end of the run, the worse it gets. I often find myself flipping the spool over and over and over and hoping I am flipping it in the right direction. Thats when the cussing usually begins.....
The worst case is when I am working in an unheated shed, barn, or garage in colder weather and using #12 cable. That stuff gets so stiff it literally can pull a person off the ladder just from the weight of it. I just encountered that situation in early winter in my own barn. The outdoor temperature was about 20 deg. I was running a 40 to 50' cable and was fighting the twists in a cold and stiff 12-2 cable when I almost tipped the ladder. I finally had to just measure what was needed to complete the run, cut it, leaving an extra 4 feet or so, and untwist the twisted mess before proceeding. With the price of cable these days, I really hate doing that because there will be waste. (of course I always save those pieces for when I need a pigtail in a box or something).
By the way, do the pros have some sort of spool device they can buy and use for 250ft rolls of cable? There must be something made for that, but I'm sure the price is prohibitive for the casual user.
Gerry
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Well yesterday when I realized this, I was stringing wire about a detached garage. I just took 3 sheetrock screws and screwed the paint can to the bench and set the roll over it. Then pulled the wire off nice and smoothly. I may modify this to a horizontal setup I can adapt to my existing dispenser I have for the 1000' spools. I doubt if the pros use the 250's.
--
Steve Barker

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snipped-for-privacy@no-email.com says...

I just clamp the broomstick (or 2x4, whatever) to something substantial or suspend it from the ladder I'm working on. ;-)
<snip>
--
Keith

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Something is stopping the current to one set. Likely it is on a different breaker than the one that is working. As someone suggested, you may need to turn each breaker off and then back on to catch the one that is tripped. You also should check out every GFI in the house. Look in the basement, garage kitchen and bathrooms. Hit the test and rest buttons. Other than that I would suggest that you may have a bad connection and I would be especially convinced if they are back stab connections.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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On 10 Feb 2007 08:27:43 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Do you have any wall switches that are unaccounted for. Turn them on and see if that helps.
OTOH, if you take off the cover (and maybe you'll have to lift out the receptacle (turn off the fuse) and you see the bridge has been snapped off from one half of the receptacle to the other, and there is no wire on one half, then someone was very confused. And replacign the receptacle will fix it.
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Before I read all of the replies I have to say that I double-checked the breakers. One of them was actually off. It did not move all the way from one side to the other. It had only moved a fraction of a milimeter.
I flipped the breakers labeled "counter plugs" off then on and checked with the tester again. The plugs are all working now.
Part of the lesson here is that when someone says they checked the breaker to get them to flip the breaker off and then on again.
Thanks.
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