Dead Outlet And Switches On Otherwise Live Circuit - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 08-18-2007, 07:41 PM   #1
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Dead outlet and switches on otherwise live circuit

Hi folks--

You guys have been a great help as I move up the learning curve on this DIY electrical stuff. Here's my next dilemma with this older house. I have a 15A circuit that holds a couple receptacles and a two-pole switch. The cable for this circuit is the older two-wire (no ground) variety. When I was replacing the older receptacles and switches (which were painted over and very dirty) I noticed that one of the receptacles is dead. Even when there is power to the other receptacle, there is nothing on this other one. When I went to the two-pole switch, I noticed that there were four cables going into the box. Two of those four cables going into the switch box are also dead.

How do I deal with this? How are these cables dead when the other cables within this same circuit are fine?


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Old 08-18-2007, 10:23 PM   #2
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Is the wire in the switch the same wire that is at the plug if so that would explain why your plug does not work.


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Old 08-21-2007, 11:20 PM   #3
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I helped my brother with a somewhat similar situation. After trouble shooting for a few minute, found tha the nuetral wire had broken just up the line from one of the outlets in series. Not uncommon with older houses.
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:45 PM   #4
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Is the switch controlling power to the outlet or is there a light it controls?
Daniel S. Bell
Belbuilt, LLC
Cabinet Installation Medford, Oregon
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Old 08-23-2007, 05:30 PM   #5
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OK, its about time I fess up what was the ultimate resolution....

I called an electrician to look at this issue and my larger problem with running a dedicated circuit to my pool pump and engine. He immediately fixed the dead outlet and switch problem. What was the fix? Well, it turned out the outlet (both receptacles on the outlet) were controlled by one of switches on the two-pole switch. When I was checking the power to the outlet, the switch was turned off --- therefore, no power to the plug. After checking the wires to the plug, I ultimately decided to leave them unconnected and moved on to the switch. When I checked the wires on the switch, of course I found that they were dead (since the outlet they controlled was disconnected). So, it appears, had I simply flipped the switch to the outlet before disconnecting it, I would have figured out the problem. Live and Learn!!
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