Trace Unpowered Circuit

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I have a dead outlet, but no breakers are tripped. Is there a way to trace these unpowered circuits? I have a circuit tracer, but it only works on powered lines. Thanks.
Mike D.
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if this is the only dead outlet, then the problem is between this outlet and its "uplink" I would check this outlet for any loose wire, then check all the potential uplinks (nearby outlets or light switches)
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On Sat, 25 Oct 2008 08:04:29 -0700, james wrote:

There are 3 dead outlets with other good circuits nearby. There doesn't seem to be any method to what outlets are on a particular circuit. There are outlets in between and nearby that are powered.
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It may be of help to know which rooms or locations these dead outlets are in
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Mike Dobony wrote:

Possibly they're on split circuit switched?
Also could be downstream of a GFCI.
--
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On Sat, 25 Oct 2008 11:33:43 -0500, dpb wrote:

not on a switch. Circuit has been live for years with no problems.

no gfi
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Michael Dobony wrote: ...

Then the connection failure previously noted is most likely.
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On Sat, 25 Oct 2008 12:19:37 -0500, dpb wrote:

But where? All the outlets have only 1 set of wires. Junctions are in the ceiling and I can't trace back to the originating box as they are buried in the ceilings. I need to locate some sort of tracer that is battery powered and affordable. The cheapest I found is almost $300.
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Mike Dobony wrote:

Lowe's has "Fox and Hound" type tracers for about 40 bucks.
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On Sun, 26 Oct 2008 00:11:04 -0500, CJT wrote:

I checked there and all I found was tracers for energized circuits. The nice thing about the $300 set is that the reader portion has a 13' range. Nice for tracing through walls. I also assume adjustable sensitivity to determine exactly which breaker it is on.
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Michael Dobony wrote:

Check for rats. They can chew through wires.
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On Sat, 25 Oct 2008 10:36:35 -0500, Mike Dobony

The first thing is make sure the other outlets are on the same breaker. The setup you have described seems pretty unlikely. I am guessing that for some good reason, the electrician alternated circuits.
You can use a continuity tester to identify the "next" receptacle by opening the boxes and removing the receptacles from the wire, and tracing the wire.
There should be a junction box somewhere in the loop. Try to picture how you would connect them if you were the electrician. More failures happen in the boxes than in the wiring.
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On Sat, 25 Oct 2008 17:34:29 -0400, metspitzer wrote:

I have. None of the boxes has more than one pair of wires running directly to the outlet. The outlets do not serve as junctions to the next outlet.
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try these http://cableorganizer.com/electrical-testers/sniff-it-type2.htm#features
search for circuit tracers

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On Sat, 25 Oct 2008 10:23:35 -0700, Pat wrote:

I have something like this. It needs a powered circuit. I need a self-powered unit to test an unenergized circuit to trace back to the source.
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Forget about a tracer. Start by opening up the dead outlets. Look for loose connections and burnt or broken wires. This problem is characteristic of back stabbed outlets, but not limited to them. If you don't find anything wrong go to the nearest receptacles or switches that are still working and open them up.
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On Sat, 25 Oct 2008 14:13:37 -0400, John Grabowski wrote:

Already did that. All connections are secure and wires in good shape. In addition, all the boxes have only one wire pair, which means there are junctions in the ceiling somewhere.
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Junction boxes can be anywhere. Basement, attic or buried in a ceiling or wall. Many years ago I found a buried junction box using a radio, a PA transformer, a telephone pick up coil and a handheld tape recorder. I hooked up the radio's speaker output to the PA transformer and connected one side from that to the rigid metal conduit that contained the wiring. I forget where I connected the other lead. Using the telephone pick up coil plugged into the mic input on the tape recorder I was able to hear the music from the radio radiating out from the floor and wall and found the box.
You may be able to rent a tracer that does the same thing or perhaps a telephone tone tracer and pick up might work.
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Mike Dobony wrote:

Daughter's 1955 house had similar problem. All room outlets fed from ceiling lite box. It's a bit messy but here is what we did.
Only need a multi-meter, set for ohms ( to read shorts or opens)
1. Turn off breaker for ceiling box. 2. unplug any/all appliances in room 2. take down lite, open up box, noting which wires are spliced together, especially the wall switch wires. 3. unsplice them 4. at outlet in question, twist black and white together (first double-check that wires are DEAD !!) 5. use ohmeter to find the B/W pair that shows 0 ohms; ie, shorted together
Actually just opening the ceiling box may show loose connection causing problem. Do the rest just to be sure and for future reference.
(Actually S-I-L was changing lite fixture, and had *not* noted original splicing before he undid everything . 4 outlets, 1 switch and c/b feed all came into ceiling box. (Was that really allowed in 1955 ?) He had all manner of sparks flying at first !!
--reed
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On Sat, 25 Oct 2008 15:07:12 -0600, Reed wrote:

LOL!!! Was there a code in 55?
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