Circuit went out - how much to fix?

I posted this already (I thought) but can't find. Here goes again.
One electrical circuit has gone out, comprising four outlets. Typical So. Calif stucco house.
I checked the breaker covering that circuit but it didn't help.
Meantime I am working around by using other outlets (no, I am not overloading), but would like to fix that circuit if I can afford it (little low in the wallet right now).
Anybody have a clue what this might run (Los Angeles prices).
Also, curious why a circuit would just go out like that. No rain (wish we had some!); no apparent cause. Anybody?
TIA
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Have you checked any GFI's to see if it tripped? It could have killed your outlets downstream.
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Mike rock wrote:

Checking GFIs is a good idea. I am presently living in a motor home until my house is finished (it actually is, but we're moving things in slowly). The other day a storm went through. We were laying across the bed in the RV and about a half hour later we came into the main room and noticed the computer and TV circuit were both dead. Check breakers, all ok. Started opening outlets and then I noticed the kitchen GFI. It wasn't tripped. So I went on tracing. Then I got this idea, there is a GFI in the bathroom. It was tripped. Resetting it restored power to the entertainment system and the computer. Why would they put the entertainment system in the front of the RV on the GFI in the bathroom .... just plain crazy, but that's the way it is. There are other outlets in the same area that are not on any GFI, only on the breaker. I'll rewire it someday. If I would have checked the GFIs 1st, I would have saved a whole bunch of time tearing into tightly packed RV outlets.
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Art Todesco wrote:

I had a GFI breaker that would trip every time lightning struck within 50 miles. If I heard the faintest rumble of thunder I was ready to reset it. No other GFI's in the house would trip unless the power lines got zapped and the electric was going on and off. I replaced it with a regular breaker and installed a duplex GFI outlet. I don't know why a GFI breaker was used anyway since they cost more, and a duplex outlet was the first thing in the circuit.
At a friends house while making room for a sliding door, he tore apart some wiring and didn't know how to put it back together. I was greeted by 5 or so romex wires and none of them were labeled. Slowly I figured it out but I had one wire that had me baffled for a little while. It turned out to be the feed for the outside outlet. I finally realized that the feed came from a bathroom up one floor and in the front of the house and yes, the GFI was tripped.
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Cheap, ' back stabbed' outlets = bad news. Inspect and replace. Even worse Aluminum wiring; when was house built? And/or somebody not knowinbg any better used 'copper wire only' compatible outlets/switches etc. with Al wiring.
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On Sun, 9 Aug 2009 23:57:54 -0700 (PDT), Higgs Boson

It is not too difficult to request a few quotes. Have you tried replacing the breaker ($5)? If you have already done that do some continuity testing, with the Main OFF, to find the spot where the mouse chewed through the wire. Check all connections.
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A coupe of "ifs" , if the sockets are installed by back stabbing, & if the first one failed, the circuit would be open. It is possible even without back stabbed wiring the first socket could come loose or even physical fail. The way to trouble shoot it would be: First pull the breaker surround and test for current on the output of the non working circuit breaker, if that is good, find the closest non working socket to the breaker box, pull it, and see if you have current there. The closest socket my not be the first in the circuit, but the odds are good. if you aren't comfortable working around electricity & don't have at least a test light, preferably a volt meter, call someone who has the skills and tools.
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Eric in North TX wrote:

He says "test for current", but probably means test for voltage.
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On 8/10/2009 11:19 AM Bob F spake thus:

Or "test for the presence of electrical current", same difference.
--
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism

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David Nebenzahl wrote:

What current is present in at a properly connected outlet with no cord plugged in?
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On 8/10/2009 6:32 PM E Z Peaces spake thus:

>

OK, so technically it's the presence of electrical *potential*. Happy?
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Turn off the breaker. Now see what else is not working. Note the additional outlets that are not working. Remove (not disco) most probable (closest) WORKING outlet next to an always dead outlet. Turn on power. Test for power on both sides of the outlet.     If power only on one side then this is the bad outlet.     If power on both sides then see next. Turn off power Remove (not disco) most probable (closest) NON-working outlet next to the previously tested outlet. Repeat testing as above. Repeat moving to next dead outlet.
Not foolproof that you find it doing this but a high probability.
Post back with results.
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Red Green wrote:

I hope you don't mind an overview.
The problem is most likelyto be found in: a) The last good outlet on the daisy-chain or b) The first failed outlet on the same chain. These instructions are designed to discover which.
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Covers "a)"

Covers "b)"

See my inserts above. Thanks for expanding on exactly what is being done. Clear to you and I but not the OP. I kinda forgot that, duh...
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Higgs Boson wrote:

Remember the old Christmas tree lights where one bad bulb in the string caused all the lights to fail?
You've got pretty much a similar situation here. One outlet has failed to do its part.
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HeyBub wrote:

The only similarity is an open circuit. Old Christmas lights (and newer miniature light sets) feature a series circuit where the same current flows throughout the circuit. If a lamp is removed the entire string goes dark.
North American house wiring has the devices on a circuit connected in parallel, daisy-chained through each device down the line. If connection to one device opens up, everything downstream goes dark. Often the cause of this is a "backstabbed" device with a loose connection.
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Bob wrote:

Another difference is that Christmas tree lights were generally multi-colored. And they were lights, not outlets. And you only sometimes put them on a wall.
All in all, my example was a piss-poor analogy.
I'm going to sit in the corner and feel shame.
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