How often is circuit "thrown" (blown) but breaker does NOT show red?

Suppose it's pretty obvious that a circuit is dead (no power in a several adjacent wall-sockets in a room nor to the nearby ceiling light)
But plenty of power at the *other* outlets in that room, and also other ceiling lights too.
Looking at the house's main panel (full of circuit-breakers), *none* of them seem to be "thrown" -- they all seem to line-up vertically ok, none showing "red".
QUESTION: Is that seeming non being-thrown of a breaker pretty much *guarantee* that whatever happened to deaden the circuit, was NOT an over-load?
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Equivalently, is it pretty much guaranteed that flipping the breaker back and forth a few times cannot *possibly* bring power to that circuit?
(Admitted, these questions are a bit strange -- but I'm actually having a "discussion" about this very topic, re whether the suggestion to shut down the computers in the house, and then start flipping circuit-breakers back and forth, is TOTAL IDIOCY.)
I decided to defer (?) to what the experts here said...
Thanks,
David
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On Jun 29, 1:44 am, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (David Combs) wrote:

guessing: open circuit not a short. but breakers can fail internally. first, number your outlet plates and switch plates to match your panel numbers stamped into the metal on the panel. then buy a multimeter and check the power of each breaker under the breaker panel cover, under an electrician's supervision. if they are electrified then your first dead outlet of the dead string may need an outlet replacement. many breakers reset by turning off, then on. hang your numbered outlet sketch at the electrical panel for future use.
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Not all circuit breakers have a color indicator that the breaker is tripped. Typically a tripped breaker handle is slightly askew of the on position, but not totally in the off position. In some cases, the handle doesn't move at all. A trained eye, or hand, can often tell if a breaker is tripped, but a voltage tester, testing across the breaker terminal and ground will always tell. For the homeowner, I would always recommend switching off each breaker in the panel to the full off position, which resets it internally, then back on. If this doesn't solve the problem, it's likely a connection came loose elsewhere in the circuit and deeper investigating is required

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Some of my breakers do not show any red or any other colour if/when tripped. And sometimes it is a matter of looking closely or feeling the circuit breaker handle to see if it needs to be reset and then if it does finding out why (or what) made it trip!
However; if it IS a breaker trip just try resetting them!
If it trips again right away or very soon there is either a fault or too many things plugged into that circuit and that in itself can wear out a breaker by constantly tripping/operating it. Another thing that can wear out a breaker is using it frequently as a switch to turn off that circuit.
Why does the Op think the breaker is say, tripped? There are several possible causes for 'dead' outlets. a) Breaker has tripped. b) Breaker has gone faulty (they can get tired/old) over a period of time. c) There is a break in the wiring somewhere. Could be between the circuit breaker and the first item (outlet) on that wiring run. Or could be at the first outlet itself. Especially if the outlet is one of those cheap stab-lock design!!!! Maybe somebody did a crappy outlet repair years ago and it has just decided to fail? Or maybe it is somewhere between other outlets on that circuit run?
No point assuming it is a circuit breaker problem if it's something fairly routine. It should however be investigated for safety and insurance reasons. Neglecting to repair would be no excuse if something overheated or caught fire!
With so little info to go on it may be worth mentioning that there could be a fault on the neutral side of that circuit (the neutral doesn't go through the breaker).
If the OP doesn't know how to trouble shoot live, neutral and ground conditions properly get someone who does.
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On Sun, 29 Jun 2008 01:44:45 -0400, David Combs wrote:

Since you said "seem" I' going to say look closer. It can be very hard to detect until you train your eyes. Try shorting a circuit you know so you can see what the breaker looks like tripped. Then take a 2nd look at all the breakers.
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dnoyeB posted for all of us...

Jerk! Try starting a fire to see if you can put it out? Do NOT do this!!!!!!!!
--
Tekkie - I approve this advertisement/statement/utterance.

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On 29 Jun 2008 01:44:45 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (David Combs) wrote:

Check for a special GFCI receptacle in the surrounding rooms. The bath and the kitchen for sure.
GFCI receptacles have a test and a reset button.
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David Combs wrote:

A few possibilities here:
- The breaker may have tripped but the handle lever didn't move. To check, flip each breaker off, then back on. If one of the breakers is tripped, the handle will have a different feel from the others.
- A connection may have opened up somewhere in your wiring. A common shortcut in residential construction is to use "backstabbed" connections to devices (outlet or switches) where the stripped wire lead is just pushed into a slot where an internal contact clamps itself to the wire. With some cheap devices the connection may eventually arc open. To fix, connect the wires to screw terminals on each device.
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David Combs wrote:

Well, it WAS an overload, but not what you think.
8-to-5 here's what happened:
You have a daisy-chain of sockets where each is connected by stab-in connectors. The one farthest upstream that doesn't work has overloaded the piddly physical connection (it doesn't take much) and fried itself. Or the one upstream of the farthest one that doesn't work.
It's one of the two: Either the farthest upstream that doesn't work or the next socket upstream from that.
Remove the outlets and look - the damage should be obvious.
Replace the now junk outlet with one that has screw-down connectors.
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Thanks much!
I'll print out your suggestions and give them a study, along with looking up in a electrical-book some of the things you mention, to see them maybe via drawings.
And I'll try simply flipping the breakers, to see if that solves anything.
AND --- I'll check for gfcis on one or more (more=wasted, right?) on those dead sockets.
AND THEN look for backstabbed sockets (thanks for the pointer!)
Well, you've got me started.
David
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There are some breakers that require more than just flipping the breaker to reset them. These do not move to OFF when tripped, but actually move slightly further toward the ON side. To reset them you have to push the handle really hard to the OFF side, then back to ON. I forget the brand as it has been a long time since I have dealt with them but I will never forget learning how to reset them!
Don Young
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