electrical help needed

What's happening inside a socket (presumably) when turning on a light causes the circuit to shut off? Not plugging/unplugging it, but rather activating it? Here's the situation:
The room has a clock radio and a lamp with a CF bulb in it, and was plugged into outlet #2 in the series. Sometimes when the light is turned on, it then shuts off the power to it, and being a series circuit, to the overhead light that comes after it in the circuit (connection #4). I plugged the light/radio into the outlet that comes before it in the series (outlet #1), and it worked, and also allowed the overhead light to work again. I had problems with this outlet (#2) a couple months ago. It had been backstabbed when installed, so I re-wired it to the side posts, but used the same outlet. I'm assuming my first move is to assume that something's wrong with the outlet and to replace it, but I'm curious as to what's happening in there to cause the problem, that's being triggered by the light pulling current? Or could it be the lamp is causing the problem, and just doing so sporadically, and will likewise cause a problem in outlet #1?
Sorry, but this happened at my son's bedtime, so I wasn't able to troubleshoot it with a multimeter at the time. Will do so tomorrow, but wanted to get a post up here to get any feedback as soon as possible. Thanks!
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Since you already had a problem with one outlet and the back stabbed connections it is quite possible that other outlets on the same circuit have the same problem. I would also double check the connections on the one outlet that you already replaced. Don't reuse the existing outlets. Start fresh with new ones and get a better grade than what you have now.
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On Mon, 17 Mar 2008 08:33:38 -0400, "John Grabowski"

Thanks, that was my thinking, though didn't think it would be a different outlet, as only one was in use. And again, wasn't actively being plugged/unplugged when problem occurred, so can you/someone explain what goes on inside the outlet when a current is pulled through it that might cause the disruption? Or could it be the lamp?
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albee wrote:

Often (like 50%) the problem outlet is not the one with the symptom.
The problem COULD be that the contact surface area is down to 0.001 sq mm. Any current drawn causes immediate heating which deforms the contacts enough such that they ceases to conduct.
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Thanks for the possible explanation. I was just about to go get a new outlet, and decided to retry things. I plugged back into Outlet #2, and it gave a brief spark, although it did work and didn't affect the circuit. Is that helpful at all? Needless to say, I'll be replacing that one, at least. I had hoped to have the problem occur so I could test the outlets with the multimeter.
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wrote:

What do you expect or hope the multimeter will tell you? You know you have a problem and you were already told what the solution is.
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On Mon, 17 Mar 2008 16:22:00 -0400, "John Grabowski"

I thought it would help diagnose WHICH receptacle had the problem, because I wasn't told THE solution, I was told one possibility. But thanks for the input.
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If you plug something in that is "on" it is normal to see a spark.
Like he said, your problem could be a weak connection in upstream box.
Changing the recptical in question with a heavy duty or at least not a cheapey would be the first place to start and don't use the backstabs.
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wrote:

Thanks. Just got back from HD, and I definitely won't be using the backstabbing part (only ones they had, but will use the side posts). In ref: to John's post, I wanted to use the multimeter to diagnose WHICH receptacle had the problem, if I could (that is, if I could re-produce the problem). Thanks again for the replies.
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If changing out that receptacle does not clear up the problem the next step is to turn off the circuit and try to find the next upstream receptacle.
One good way to find the problem receptacle is after you identify which receptacles are on the same circuit you can leave the light on you have just fixed and try to make it blink by plugging something into the upstream receptacles.
If you have a loose connection upstream wiggling the receptacle might make it obvious.
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wrote:

Thanks. I changed the #2 receptacle, the receptacle I was plugged into, and the one upstream, just in case. Eventhough there wasn't anything plugged into it, thanks to the help here I now understand how having a load downstream of it could've caused it (#1) to fail. Though it sounds as though the ones I got at HD weren't heavy duty receptacles (guess I need to go to an electrical supply house for them?), them being new and now hooked up via side-posts hopefully will allow them to work for a decade or two, anyway.
Thanks again for all the help, everyone.
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wrote:

HD does have industrial grade receptacles. Whenever I replace a receptacle that is daisy chained with other receptacles I wirenut the upsteam wires to the down stream wires along with a pigtail to go to the receptacle. I think this is becoming required code in a lot of places.
Jimmie
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