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Old 10-18-2012, 09:01 PM   #1
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Posts: 390
120 volt elect. problems

this post is more for your home. one of my jobs was as an electrician. trouble shooting can cost a lot of money. if you lose power to some of your outlets and all of the breakers are on and working, and you're having trouble find the bad connection. one trick i used was to turn off all of the breakers and remove all of the white wires (neutrals) from the neutral bar, and from the gfis, arc faults (mark these). now take an extension cord pluged into the outlet that's not working, taking it back to the electrical panel. now you're going to tone the wires (continuity on your volt meter). one lead into the neutral on the extension cord, should be the big blade. take the other lead and touch each white wire one at a time until it tones. take that neutral wire and trace it back to where it comes into the panel, and find your colored wire. trace it (the colored wire) back to the breaker. now you've found your circuit. reattach that white wire from where you took it off and turn on that breaker. homes should be wired from the panel heading away and not doubling back. so go from room to room seeing which outlets are on. the one closest to the ones that don't work is usually the one with the problem. usually the problem comes from what we call stabin outlets. (the wires will work their way out) we only would use the screws and never (NEVER) the stabins. oh yea once you found and fixed your problem put all the neutrals back where you took them off and then turn on the breakers. WE MADE A LOT OF MONEY FIXING STABIN OUTLETS AND SWITCHS well hope some of you can find this usefull.

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Old 10-18-2012, 10:15 PM   #2
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As an electrical dummy, I bought a circuit locator. Plug a doo-dad into a receptacle. Now go to the circuit breaker box and move the other doo-dad to each breaker and listen for a sound or beep. The closer you get to the bad receptacle, the louder the sound. Works decent, but not perfect.

2003 Dolphin LX 6355 w/ W22 chassis; 8.1L gas & Allison 1000
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:27 PM   #3
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scooter when you lose outlets those testers won't work. your wires aren't making contact. usually the positive one. then your looking for the circuit that it's on and were the circuit goes bad. because the end of the circuit that is still working is were you start looking. usually in that box. neutrals usually don't cause as much problen because the positive has lost some energy doing what you asked of it. (lights, stereo, fan,etc) but by all means use what works for you.
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Old 10-19-2012, 02:50 AM   #4
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I would have thought a 15a breaker would pop prior to a stabin tab roasting.
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Old 10-19-2012, 05:06 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by fschambe View Post
I would have thought a 15a breaker would pop prior to a stabin tab roasting.
No so fschambe. Circuit breakers will trip only on an 'over-current' situation downstream.
The 'loose connection' caused by the stabin's in wonderer's comment will cause a voltage drop (and a heating effect) at the point of the poor connection. Sometimes it can get so hot as to melt the wire end but no over-current is generated so the breaker doesn't trip. This can be the case when you have lights that are dim or flickering.

On a side note, If you notice that some lights are dim while some are bright at the same time, call an electrician ASAP. It indicates a poor connection on the service neutral. Nothing a home-owner should try to tackle. Electronic equipment receiving low (or high) voltage is especially vulnerable. The old fashioned Edison type light bulbs will dim on low voltage and burn out prematurely on high voltage.
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