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Old 01-22-2016, 05:12 PM   #1
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A bunch of circuits stopped working suddenly...


Was out of town for a week.

Came back and turned on the living room fan & light. Nothing.
Bathroom light or exhaust fan, nothing.
Kitchen lights, nothing.
Hallway light, nothing.
So I thought, OK, the power is out...but then my bedroom alarm clock (which I know the backup battery is gone) is on. Hmmm...went to the den, fan & light, working. Garage lights and door, working. Range, dryer have power, but the counter GFCI receptacles no power.

Took out a non-contact tester and tested around various receptacles, some work some don't.

This is my panel with the cover off.



I started to mark which circuit is out. There are about six circuits that were getting no power at the panel. So that has nothing to do with individual devices or fixtures.

I flipped the main breakers off and on. No difference.

I flipped ALL individual breakers off then on. No difference either.

I was standing in the hallway where the panel is, and the hallway light was off, so I had to use a flashlight. The hallway light and the adjacent bathroom is on circuit 2A, a 15A circuit. So the first thing I tried to do is to get that light working so I don't have to hold a flashlight in my mouth.

I loosened the screw on the breaker for circuit 2A. Pulled out the #12 conductor, then I removed the 15A breaker for circuit 11B, which is available and unused. I connect the conductor for 2A to the 11B breaker, then inserted that breaker into the slot for 2A. Turned the breaker on. Turned hallway light on...works. Turned bathroom light and fan on...works. OK so may be that breaker went bad?

Now, I went to check on the other circuits that were not working, mysteriously they all came back. I turned on all the fixtures connected to these circuits, and flipped the corresponding breakers on and off a few times, no issue.

So the problem was a bad breaker for circuit 2A causing all this?

I then decided to remove breaker 2A again (which used to be the spare breaker in 11B). I took the original 2A breaker, connected the conductor to it, then insert back to slot 2A. Put the spare 11B back to where it was. Now I have restored everything back to the way it was when I came home.

Everything is working now. Yet I have this iffy feeling.

What could cause this?

I asked my neighbors if they have any electrical outages while I was gone? No.

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Old 01-22-2016, 05:19 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miamicuse View Post
Was out of town for a week.

Came back and turned on the living room fan & light. Nothing.
Bathroom light or exhaust fan, nothing.
Kitchen lights, nothing.
Hallway light, nothing.
So I thought, OK, the power is out...but then my bedroom alarm clock (which I know the backup battery is gone) is on. Hmmm...went to the den, fan & light, working. Garage lights and door, working. Range, dryer have power, but the counter GFCI receptacles no power.

Took out a non-contact tester and tested around various receptacles, some work some don't.

This is my panel with the cover off.



I started to mark which circuit is out. There are about six circuits that were getting no power at the panel. So that has nothing to do with individual devices or fixtures.

I flipped the main breakers off and on. No difference.

I flipped ALL individual breakers off then on. No difference either.

I was standing in the hallway where the panel is, and the hallway light was off, so I had to use a flashlight. The hallway light and the adjacent bathroom is on circuit 2A, a 15A circuit. So the first thing I tried to do is to get that light working so I don't have to hold a flashlight in my mouth.

I loosened the screw on the breaker for circuit 2A. Pulled out the #12 conductor, then I removed the 15A breaker for circuit 11B, which is available and unused. I connect the conductor for 2A to the 11B breaker, then inserted that breaker into the slot for 2A. Turned the breaker on. Turned hallway light on...works. Turned bathroom light and fan on...works. OK so may be that breaker went bad?

Now, I went to check on the other circuits that were not working, mysteriously they all came back. I turned on all the fixtures connected to these circuits, and flipped the corresponding breakers on and off a few times, no issue.

So the problem was a bad breaker for circuit 2A causing all this?

I then decided to remove breaker 2A again (which used to be the spare breaker in 11B). I took the original 2A breaker, connected the conductor to it, then insert back to slot 2A. Put the spare 11B back to where it was. Now I have restored everything back to the way it was when I came home.

Everything is working now. Yet I have this iffy feeling.

What could cause this?

I asked my neighbors if they have any electrical outages while I was gone? No.
Call the power company to come out and investigate a loose connection on their end.
If they find nothing, call an electrician.

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Old 01-23-2016, 10:12 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miamicuse View Post
Was out of town for a week.

Came back and turned on the living room fan & light. Nothing.
Bathroom light or exhaust fan, nothing.
Kitchen lights, nothing.
Hallway light, nothing.
So I thought, OK, the power is out...but then my bedroom alarm clock (which I know the backup battery is gone) is on. Hmmm...went to the den, fan & light, working. Garage lights and door, working. Range, dryer have power, but the counter GFCI receptacles no power.

Took out a non-contact tester and tested around various receptacles, some work some don't.

This is my panel with the cover off.



I started to mark which circuit is out. There are about six circuits that were getting no power at the panel. So that has nothing to do with individual devices or fixtures.

I flipped the main breakers off and on. No difference.

I flipped ALL individual breakers off then on. No difference either.

I was standing in the hallway where the panel is, and the hallway light was off, so I had to use a flashlight. The hallway light and the adjacent bathroom is on circuit 2A, a 15A circuit. So the first thing I tried to do is to get that light working so I don't have to hold a flashlight in my mouth.

I loosened the screw on the breaker for circuit 2A. Pulled out the #12 conductor, then I removed the 15A breaker for circuit 11B, which is available and unused. I connect the conductor for 2A to the 11B breaker, then inserted that breaker into the slot for 2A. Turned the breaker on. Turned hallway light on...works. Turned bathroom light and fan on...works. OK so may be that breaker went bad?

Now, I went to check on the other circuits that were not working, mysteriously they all came back. I turned on all the fixtures connected to these circuits, and flipped the corresponding breakers on and off a few times, no issue.

So the problem was a bad breaker for circuit 2A causing all this?

I then decided to remove breaker 2A again (which used to be the spare breaker in 11B). I took the original 2A breaker, connected the conductor to it, then insert back to slot 2A. Put the spare 11B back to where it was. Now I have restored everything back to the way it was when I came home.

Everything is working now. Yet I have this iffy feeling.

What could cause this?

I asked my neighbors if they have any electrical outages while I was gone? No.
Loose connections and bad circuit breakers are common causes. Tighten all breaker and neutral connections. You could have a loose connection on your main breaker or it could be going bad. Could be a problem at the electric meter, the weatherhead, the lines from the pole, or at the pole itself on the transformer. As JB suggested, call the power company to have them check their lines. Call an electrician to check your internal wiring.

Did you notice if your lights were flickering prior to the outage? That is usually an early warning sign.
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Old 01-23-2016, 04:54 PM   #4
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Sounds like a bad / loose connections
In your panel.
Check the breakers make sure
That the connection points
Are in good shiney condition
The panel bus should be likewise.
If everrything is clean and tight ?
Then get an electrician to check
The panel bus bars for problems
Also check the main breaker / switch.
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Old 01-26-2016, 10:00 AM   #5
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No, I did not notice any flickering of lights prior to the outage because I was out of town and came home to discover the situation.
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Old 01-26-2016, 10:11 AM   #6
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I called Florida Power and Light on Saturday. Did not see any emergency number. Only a general number which when I called the only thing in their list of options was a report power outage which I pressed. There was no real human but only automated press 1 for this 2 for that and they asked for address, location, etc...and that's it.

Sunday I got a call from them asking about the outage. I explained to them the mysteriously partial outage and mysterious restoration. The guy said the issue is on my end. They have what it is called a smart meter and they just checked it is delivering full power. He said if it is something loose in the overhead lines to the house it would flicker off a few seconds and come back, nothing I do on the inside like replacing a breaker would resolve, if it is a transformer or relay issue they would get reports from neighbors but nothing. Therefore the issue whatever it is is behind the meter and a home owner responsibility. He then cancelled my request and wished me a good day.

I could call an electrician to see but the issue has gone away now. So what would the electrician be diagnosing?
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Old 01-26-2016, 10:31 AM   #7
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Were the dead breakers every other one? Or going left to right in a zig zag pattern?
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Old 01-26-2016, 10:43 AM   #8
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sounds like you lost a leg of power coming into the panel box, call an electrician to give the box a once over, loose wires can arc and cause a fire...
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Old 01-26-2016, 11:11 AM   #9
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it is not clear on photo, but is there some rust on the left bolt that holds the bus just under the main breaker? if so these needs to be cleaned or replaced
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Old 01-26-2016, 11:21 AM   #10
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it is not clear on photo, but is there some rust on the left bolt that holds the bus just under the main breaker? if so these needs to be cleaned or replaced
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:12 PM   #11
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OK the problem just returned. A bunch of circuits just went dead.

What is similar between last time it happened and this time? High wind. Today the wind was so strong it blew off about a dozen palm fronds scattered in my front yard. The wires come in from overhead power pole to the weatherhead on the roof.

A quick recap - last time it happened, many of you told me to call the poco. I did but they don't have any human on the phone now. Everything is automated and there is a service call request. I did that and the next day I got a call from a human. She said on her end she can see from the computer that they are delivering full power to my house, therefore there is no need for anyone to come out. Any problem I am experiencing has to be my problem...goodbye!

I have one of those "smart meters" and they can tell everything she said...

Since the problem is not there anymore, I decided to ignore it...until now.

This time, I didn't attempt to remove, replace or move any breakers, I don't want to somehow cause the problem to go away then I am back to square one.

Let me post a pic of my panel and the breakers - I labeled the breakers (1A, 1B, 2A, 2B...)



Here is a picture of a description of each breaker and the ones I put a red rectangle around are the ones that's out. So yes it does look like I lost a leg.



Could it be a coincidence that both times this happened we had bad weather and high wind? Or this is something on the poco's end but their smart meters are too smart to detect it?

One other thing that is REALLY STRANGE. One of the circuit that is out is circuit 2A. Another circuit that's out is circuit 5A. I had a work light plugged into a receptacle on 5A. I noticed that when I flipped the breaker for 2A to OFF, the light for 5A comes on! When I flipped the breaker for 2A to ON, the light for 5A goes off! How can these two breakers react this way?

Yes, I have all 220V circuits off now.

and I am getting an electrician to come take a look.
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Old 02-26-2016, 06:01 AM   #12
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I would check voltages with a digital meter. Wrong voltage would indicate a lost service neutral.

Last edited by Luke M; 02-26-2016 at 06:04 AM.
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Old 02-26-2016, 07:12 AM   #13
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I'm not sure exactly how the cables going into your home connect the the overhead lines, but maybe you have a bad connection on one and the wind slaps them around enough to cause an issue. Sounds like the power company should check it out.
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:11 AM   #14
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You didn't lose a leg you probably have a neutral loose somewhere, If you lose a leg all the breakers will be dead in a crisscross pattern going from the top to the bottom left to right or vice versa
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Old 02-26-2016, 12:47 PM   #15
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Those are thin breakers so 1A,1B,2A,2B, 5A,5B...are on same leg right?

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