Troubleshooting Electrical Outlet

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What would be the next step in testing an innoperable electrical outlet? All the outlets connected to one circuit breaker do not work. I've replaced the circuit breaker and outlets, but still nothing. what should be done next
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There are several logical steps available for someone with limited troubleshooting skills. 1) Replace all the wiring 2) Learn how to troubleshoot 3) Find someone who knows how to troubleshoot

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If all of the outlets on the entire circuit are dead, you need to find the break in the cable between the panel and the first outlet or run a new cable

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How are you determining the outlets are "dead?"
How did you know which breaker to change?
Has there been any rewiring lately?
Did the outlets EVER work?
Do you have a multimeter or an ohmmeter?
I think a little more info would bein order here. IFF you've replaced the right breaker, and done so properly, then the problem is going to be an open wire someplace between the breaker and the first "dead" outlet in the line.
HTH,
Pop
: What would be the next step in testing an innoperable electrical : outlet? : All the outlets connected to one circuit breaker do not work. : I've replaced the circuit breaker and outlets, but still nothing. : what should be done next :
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I had some lights plugged into them which worked at one point, but now do not work they work when plugged into an outlet in another room. there is a breaker designated for the room that the outlets are in no rewiring has been done recently i have a multimeter, A voltage test reveals .4 volts across the outlet plugs
Pop wrote:

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The first step is to ensure you are actually working on the correct wiring.
Labels in the breaker box are not reliable (just my opinion) .
You may pick up stray current on your meter.
First check that the breaker is working. Multimeter from breaker connection to neutral.
I would ensure the breaker is off and do a continuity test for the wiring to the first box.
You can do this single handed by joining the wires at the box with a nut and testing at the breaker box.
A non-contact voltage sensor is a worthwhile investment. About $10 and will alert you to hot wiring without actually touching the bare wires.
If you are not comfortable with doing this stuff call an electrician.
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On 27 Dec 2005 17:24:44 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Before joing the wires together, measure the voltage between them. After all, you just said t hat he might not be working with the right breaker.

Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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Is there a voltage drop across the breaker?...If so, it is open....good luck, Mac
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Set your multimeter to read AC volts. Remove all the cover plates from the non-working outlets and test each terminal to the other within the receptacle, and each to ground (the metal box and the ground screw). If you don't find any that read 120V then your problem is a break in the wire or the breaker.
If you have a main breaker you can throw that, yank the suspect breaker, and test it for continuity in open and closed positions. If you don't feel confident doing this and/or don't know what you're doing then call a professional; he'll solve it in a few minutes.
Mike
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Lots of good advice already given. Another thing to consider is that there may be another outlet, receptacle or light, wired between the ones you have checked and the breaker box. It could be located in another nearby room. Replacing breakers or outlets without first locating the fault is not a good idea. Troubleshooting with a digital voltmeter is also not a good idea; a test lamp is much better. Don Young

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Don Young wrote:

Why isn't a multimeter a good idea? He's measuring volts, not current, so it won't blow the meter.
A test lamp is a good idea. He could also pick up one of those outlet testers for a few dollars.
Mike
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upand_at snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

Digital multimeters have a very high input impedance and can read high values on open circuits because of the capacitive coupling between wires. A test lamp is a low impedance device so any capacitive coupling becomes insignificant. If you really need to know what the voltage is, use both (load the circuit and read with the meter).

A "three-light tester" should be in everyone's toolbox. Another tool I've found to be quite valuable is a non-contact voltage probe.
--
Keith

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Keith Williams wrote:

I love my non contact tester, I think it's a GC. I have noticed one thing and that is you can get a false positive if you're holding the tester and near or standing on an extension cord. I guess it capacitively couples to the voltage source. Still better than a false negative :<). Richard
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snipped-for-privacy@lycos.com says...

Indeed. I'm pretty careful even with the NC tester. A false- negative could ruin one's day.
--
Keith

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Keith Williams wrote:

Hi, That's why I still have an old Simpson 260 analog multi meter. Also have Fluke DVM, Tek 'scope, etc. Tony
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says...

I never really liked the '260s, certainly not enough to buy one. The light bulb may be more accurate. ;-)

A scope for an AC line? ;-) I have a couple of Fluke (77?) multimeters left (some have sprouted legs) and a bunch of Harbor Freight $2.99 specials. The latter gets loaned out these days. ;-)
--
Keith

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says...

Hi Keith,
Good advice as usual....I am assuming you are the same Keith that posts over at alt.engineering.electrical. Hope you had a great Christmas season and all is well out here in Central Florida....Mac
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snipped-for-privacy@example.invalid says...

Yep, the same. I've noticed you back around the Usenet for a while. ;-)

Great holiday here! We've been visiting my mother (92YO) In Central Illinois for the last week and are on our way back tomorrow and Friday. Long drive (1100mi.). <ugh>
--
Keith

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says...

Hi Keith,
I'll have to shoot you an email....been busy with the biz I purchased back in March and finally have more time for Usenet....Yup...retirement is over and I don't miss it.....Ross And for the other readers....that was early retirement and does not equal old.... :>)....Ross....well, not that old!
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snipped-for-privacy@example.invalid says...

Damn! Don't tell me that! I wanna get out as soon as possible ('06?). Do drop a line when you get a chance.

Uh, me too! ;-)
Have a merry new year!
--
Keith

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