I had a new circuit breaker box installed 3 years ago by a licensed
electrician, the old one was a Federal Pacific "fire starter".
Everything was fine until a few days ago. When I turn on the TV, the
power for that entire circuit goes off WITHOUT tripping the circuit
breaker. The rest of the house has power.
If I wait for a few minutes the power for the circuit (not just the
socket that the TV is plugged in to) that shut down COMES BACK ON BY
ITSELF and I can turn on the TV with no problem (until the next time).
The problem does not happen all the time, probably every other time I
turn on the TV.. We have been having record temperatures here for the
past 10 days or so with no rain (105-110).
If there was a short in the TV you would think the circuit breaker
Anyone have an idea what's going on?
A shourt would trip the breaker, sounds more like an open is
If you reset the breaker off to on, does the branch circuit come
back? If you jiggle the breaker does anything change? Sounds like
the connection at the breaker is going open or bad breaker with
carboned contacts that cant handle the impulse when turning on the TV.
Obviously you have a bad connection somewhere. Could be in an outlet, the
breaker, or (unfortunately) somewhere else.
Check all the connections. If they are all sound try switching two breakers
and see if the problem follows the breaker.
I had a problem like similar to this; part of a circuit would go off for
months at a time and then just come back. The advice I gave above would
have solved the problem IF either electrician I had look at it could be
bothered to trace the circuit properly. I found an outside outlet that had
Try thumping the bottom of your fist against the wall next to the outlet
the TV plugs into and see if that triggers anything.
If it does, you may have a "loose disconnection" inside that outlet box.
If that test doesn't produce results, try it around the other outlets
and switches on the circuit and also on the side of the breaker box.
That may help you narrow things down.
check the screws on the breaker first, then as long as your checking
that check the rest too. including your nuetrals, screws will work
their way loose see it all the time. wouldnt hurt to pull the outlet
out and check to see if wires are under screw or stabbed in the back
of the oulet, if stabbed in the back pull them out and put them under
the screw where they belong.
so if breaker is good and screws tight. wires to outlets under screw
and tight and still not right then you probably have a connection (pig
tails) somewhere that is going bad.
If the wires are in the back of the outlet and it has the little release
slots for spring contacts then move the connections to the proper screw
terminals. If the wires are in the back of the outlet and it does not
have the little release slots check and see if it is the screw clamp
type back wire which have no problems, if so, leave as is, just make
sure screws are tight.
I'll bet a dollar to twelve donuts, your outlets are "backstabbed" . I'll
also bet that one of them in the series is where your problem is. Find out
which outlets are on that circuit, kill it at the breaker panel and start
taking them apart. If they are backstabbed, put the wires on the screws and
i'll bet the problem goes away. While you're at it, do all the outlets in
Yeah probably an outlet at the beginning of the branch, I cant believe
anyone would use the outlet itself in series to continue the run load,
but it happens. I try never to cut the run, just loop the screws like
christmas lights, if I have to cut the run I pigtail out to the outlet
and let a good twist with wire nut carry the run load. It's crappy
wiring to use the device to continue the run load.
It's standard practice around here to use the device to continue the run
load. That's why it has two screws on each side. There are some
exceptions, as below:
Some areas require a pigtail for hots, but that's a local override.
The neutral must be pigtailed if it's for a split-wire circuit.
The ground generally needs to be pigtailed, but around here standard
practice if there are only two ground conductors is to use the two
screws in the box and continue one of the conductors on to the load.
Reducing the number of pigtails means that the box is less stuffed.
Did a "bang the wall with a night light in the socket" test and sure
enough the outlet just before the one I use for the TV went on and off
as I banged the wall. I took it apart and, as predicted by you folks,
it was backstabbed. Not only that, but there was evidence of arcing.
So I replaced that outlet and USED THE SCREWS not the backstabs. I
then used the screws on all outlets on that breaker. I did the "bang
test" on all the outlets in the house and found one more outlet that
didn't pass the test. Using the screws on all the outlets and switches
in the house are now on the "to do" list".
Thank- you to everyone for your help and it looks like I owe Steve
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