What would be the next step in testing an innoperable electrical
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
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.
: What would be the next step in testing an innoperable
: All the outlets connected to one circuit breaker do not work.
: I've replaced the circuit breaker and outlets, but still
: what should be done next
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
The first step is to ensure you are actually working on the correct
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.
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.
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.
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
A "three-light tester" should be in everyone's toolbox. Another
tool I've found to be quite valuable is a non-contact voltage
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
Good advice as usual....I am assuming you are the same Keith that posts over
Hope you had a great Christmas season and all is well out here in Central
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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