outside outlet damage problem

I have an outlet in the entryway to my house on the outside. A few months back I plugged a circular saw into it and the outlet melted with a black plume of smoke and fused part of the extension cord plug in the socket as I began cutting.
I replaced the outlet and it seemed to work ok after that. I also replaced the fried plug on the extension cord. It's a heavy gauge cord but don't know the exact gauge.
The other day I tried to use the same outlet, same cord with an electric hedge trimmer and the plug began smoking where it connects to the trimmer. Also now the trimmer is on all the time, whether you depress the trigger or not.
I haven't tried this cord in another outlet yet, kind of wary of frying another electric tool. Does this sound like an outlet problem, or an extension cord problem. I got the screws good and tight on the replaced cord plug, also got them tight on the new outlet in the house, did not use the "backstab" holes.
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Although I'd bet it's not the problem, pick up a circuit tester and double check that the outlet's wired correctly, even if you're sure you replaced it correctly. You never know what nonsense could be lurking further down the wire. I suspect the extension cord's the real issue. Since nothing's impossible, there could be a problem somewhere other than at one of the ends, and you may be able to diagnose this using a multimeter (or just your eyes). Hack a little from both ends and use the meter to check for shorts between the various conductors. If you have any doubts at all, chop the cord into uselessly small pieces so nobody else tries to salvage it, and get yourself a new one.
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My suggestion would be to "try again." First of all, if the breaker is not a GFI, get a GFI plug to install. Also, check that the black wire is really the "hot" one with a multimeter or neon tester. The white should test 0 volts, as should the bare ground. Make sure that the copper wire is not corroded when you make the connections.
Mark
Doug Kanter wrote:

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Did the circular saw work with the extension cord after that?

What you are describing bothers me. It is possible that the outlet was wired wrong (reverse polarity) so I would check that first. You did not mention if a breaker or a fuse popped. If one did not pop, I would very serious concerns about the wiring in the house.

I hope it's an extension cord problem. How old is the cord?
Dick
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worst the extension cord can do is cause excessive voltage drop; if it were shorted, it should trip your circuit breaker. I suppose it is possible that you have both a shorted extension cord and a defective breaker.
Other than that, you should check the voltage on the outlet. If it is normal, I would replace the circuit breaker for lack of a better idea.
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In addition to above, sounds like you've welded/melted something inside your trimmer. Sounds like you're going to be opening it up for a look-see.
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