E > We have an electrical outlet in the garage, which was installed after
E > the home was built (prior owners). It's the type that has a Reset and
E > Test button.
The outlet device is a "Ground Fault Interrupter", a safety device so
if one accidentally makes oneself a conductor to ground one doesn't
get electrocuted. The device frequently (but not always) connects to
other outlets (which are regular duplex outlets) to make these GFI
also. If the GFCI detects a fault and trips will cut off the power to
the GFCI outlet and those downstream.
E > I've plugged both a rechargeable handvac and a cordless
E > screwdriver into it, and now both don't work. However, the vac was a
E > cheap one, so thought it might have just been it going kaput. When I
E > tried the screwdriver, a day after plugging it in, it was very hot, so
E > obviously had gotten electricity, but wouldn't work at all.
E > So, can the outlet be delivering too much electricity? If so, could it
E > have done so without tripping it's apparently built-in circuit
E > breaker, or the main one? Is there an inexpensive way for me to test
E > it? We now have a second refrigerator in the garage, and have had it
E > plugged into it, apparently without a problem. Is this a problem? Just
E > in case, I plugged it into a powerstrip/surge protector. Any help is
E > greatly apprectiated!
As the other person wrote, the surge protector at the refrigerator is
a waste. The surge protector probably clamps at 330 v - which
continuously would have fried the refrigerator way before that voltage
More than likely you are getting the proper voltage to (and from) the
outlet. You can test with a voltmeter: should read somewhere around
120vAC. 130v is high; 100 is low. You could also sort of guess if
the voltage is too high or too low by plugging in a lamp and judging
the bulb's brightness relative to when it was plugged in to an outlet
you judged to be 'normal'. (Have had squirrels/birds get "too
friendly' with pole transformers ==> desk lamp will get brighter for a
split second, then I hear a distant "BOOM!" as someone looses power.)
As for why your rechargeable devices no longer work, good question!
Odd two devices would fail at the same time. One possibility is if
the GFCI tripped and they were plugged in their batteries discharged
because no power was being applied to recharge. (Lack of rectifier in
the charging circuit.)
Personally I would replace the rechargeable screwdriver with a
variable speed and reversible cordless drill. Better torque, comfort,
and can do more jobs than just a cordless screwdriver can do.
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