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Old 04-22-2020, 09:20 PM
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Default Chasing electrical gremlins at dads place

So while I was heading home from work this morning, I get a text from dad, "can you stop by this morning ".

Seems all his power worked when he got up, same as every other day, then all the sudden, lots of stuff stopped working.

No rhyme or reason to it, outlets in kitchen work, ceiling light and stove exhaust fan do not. Nothing in the computer room works. Some switches for the outside lights work, etc.

Nothing in the breaker box tripped, all outputs of the breaker where the wire attaches have 120 or 240.

I'm stumped

The basement has a lath plaster ceiling, so tracing wires sucks, you have to knock a hole everywhere to try and follow the wire. This will not be fun.
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Old 04-22-2020, 09:37 PM
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Loose connections, bad ground maybe. I would first check all the connections. Ground rod outside the house?
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Last edited by digr; 04-22-2020 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 04-22-2020, 10:52 PM
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Look closely at outlet boxes near the problem areas. I've seen feed through outlets with the push in wires in the rear of the outlet do strange things.
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Old 04-23-2020, 03:27 AM
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Distance wise, Trouble shoot the problem boxes located "closest" to the breaker.
No use checking a box that is 100 feet away when it gets its power from the box 50 feet closer to the breaker.
Don't rule out a working receptacle with a bad connection that feeds to the non working ones.
As mentioned from tnmike a bad receptacle that uses a back-stab connection.

Some times you can look inside the box and tell which direction the wires come from or go.
In other words
if they come in from the top they go up above.
left and right may feed lead from the left or right in direction.
come in from the bottom they go down.

Most of the time that is.
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Old 04-23-2020, 05:51 AM
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He could have lost 1 leg of incoming power. That will cause random issues you described.

Dt
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Old 04-23-2020, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flametamer View Post
He could have lost 1 leg of incoming power. That will cause random issues you described.

Dt
Meth heads are snipping off the neutral at the pole.....
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Old 04-23-2020, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flametamer View Post
He could have lost 1 leg of incoming power. That will cause random issues you described.

Dt
That will shut down half the plugs and lights in the house randomly. I have had that happen.

If he has an electric stove the oven will not work. The hot water tank will not work.
If a flying branch in a windstorm hit the triplex drop line, one wire or connector may have pulled apart.
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Old 04-23-2020, 11:20 AM
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Also check ALL connections in the panel. Years ago I struggled with a strange power problem, eventually found a loose connection on a white/neutral inside the panel that fixed it.


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Old 04-23-2020, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flametamer View Post
He could have lost 1 leg of incoming power. That will cause random issues you described.

Dt
Take your trusty meter to the breaker box and check all three legs on the incoming side, before the main breaker. If there's a "dead leg", call your power company as there may be an issue with the lines coming into the service drop.
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Old 04-24-2020, 08:00 AM
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It sounds like you have a more serious problem but be sure to check every GFI in the house before you start knocking holes in things and really digging. The way most of them are wired a GFI will shut down everything that is downstream from it in the circuit and sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to how the circuits are laid out. A buddy of mine had a GFI pop in an upstairs bathroom and it took out the back porch lights, 2 kitchen outlets and half the basement...
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