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Old 12-02-2008, 09:01 PM   #1
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Circuit box help


Hello, I sure hope someone can help me. A few weeks ago, I had lights in 2 of my rooms dimming and then everything in those rooms would go off. I did call an electrcian out who gave me an estimate....2 breakers were bad and one had been arching(??) from the looks of the screws.
The price for him to fix it wasn't doable since I was unemployeed for most of the year and job searching. I just got my house out of foreclousre so I thought since I've done lots celing fans, installed many lights and replaced outlets that I could do it myself. I replaced them with no probelm but now I have 3 more out??? I just find that weird??

My house was built in the late 70's. Is it possibe these are dying from old age?

Thanks for any advice,
Christy

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Old 12-02-2008, 09:06 PM   #2
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Circuit box help


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Originally Posted by CP75 View Post
Hello, I sure hope someone can help me. A few weeks ago, I had lights in 2 of my rooms dimming and then everything in those rooms would go off. I did call an electrcian out who gave me an estimate....2 breakers were bad and one had been arching(??) from the looks of the screws.
The price for him to fix it wasn't doable since I was unemployeed for most of the year and job searching. I just got my house out of foreclousre so I thought since I've done lots celing fans, installed many lights and replaced outlets that I could do it myself. I replaced them with no probelm but now I have 3 more out??? I just find that weird??

My house was built in the late 70's. Is it possibe these are dying from old age?

Thanks for any advice,
Christy
Yes, it's possible. Especially since you changed some out, you disturbing the box may have caused the failure of more. What brand is it?

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Old 12-02-2008, 09:15 PM   #3
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Circuit box help


I just looked again and on the door it says Arrow Hart
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:25 PM   #4
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Circuit box help


Do you have copper or aluminum wire?

Seems possible that you have aluminum...explains the three outlets out.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:32 PM   #5
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Circuit box help


Copper
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Old 12-03-2008, 11:27 AM   #6
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Circuit box help


Back stabbing receptacles was big in the 70's when they came out. I would go and get a case of good quality receptacles and start replacing them one at a time. This time you will pigtail the connections in each box and use the screws instead of pushing the wire into the back of the recept.
Take your time and do each one exactly the same. Before long your issues will be resolved.
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:43 PM   #7
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Circuit box help


Before you spend too much money on replacing circuit breakers in that panel, you may want to consider what it would cost to replace it. Otherwise I'd look to make sure all the wire connections are tight in the panel (with the power off of course). The suggestions JV has I'd say is right on the money; especially if you start opening up outlets and see that they are backwired and not using the screws.
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:40 PM   #8
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Circuit box help


Well, I replaced the breakers that stopped working. The switch had no resistance on them and they wouldn't flip off but still loose power. All of them have the wire that goes in the side. Alot were loose and some just looked awful but they look good now. I also cleaned up the box b/c there was alot of trash in there other than spider webs.
Everything was working just fine until this morning when I noticed my chickens heat bulbs were not on or the electric fence. I checked the box and nothing had been flipped. So I went outside to the pole where the outlet is and checked it. It was burnt and sooty.
I already have one that's for use outside and decided to replace it. Holy cow at what I found behind there!!! Wires wrapped in burnt masking tape, no ground wire connected and some kind of brown paper stuff in the box around the outlet. The original outlet wasn't an outside one and looks just like the ones in the house. I finally got the outlet switched and working until 2 hours later no power.
When I checked it the reset button needed to be pushed and power was back on. It kept being tripped and making me all kind of mad b/c I'm sick, it's cold/rainy outside and my silkie chickens are soaking wet and with no heat!! I got to thinking about this outside outlet tower thing someone gave me and wondering if it's a peice of crap. I unplugged it and plugged in straight to the pole and as of now, heat bulbs are still on. No breakers have flipped in the house, no dimming lights or power outages. Geez, I hope my work today fixed the problem and I can take my sick butt back to bed.
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:48 PM   #9
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I'd get a voltmeter and methodically trace out the extent of the problem and the specific cause of the problem. So many failures so quickly sounds suspicious, like some overall root cause yet to be found.

If you're near a college or votech school, get some second or third year EE student to help you. I heard they like pizzas & beer.
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Old 12-04-2008, 06:09 PM   #10
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1. Rain water getting into the outdoor outlet box.
2. The receptacle in the outdoor box got abused from plugged in cords being tugged a lot.
3. Loose connections at that receptacle.

Meanwhile back at the panel...

With breakers arcing for some time, you need to inspect the tabs (from the bus bars behind) that the breakers clip onto. If these are deformed you will need to put the replacement breakers in different positions or maybe even need to replace the panel.

Retorque (tighten) each screwed on wire in the panel although do not use tremendous strength. Do each breaker in turn with it turned off. Also do the neutrals and grounds grouped together at one side or corner. You will want to get a professional electrician to do the big screws that hold the incoming wires to or near the main breaker since there is no way for you to de-energize them.


Last edited by AllanJ; 12-04-2008 at 06:21 PM.
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