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rickyjoseph701 05-04-2013 12:24 PM

dead receptacles/circuit breakers
I have a small chicken coop that I use as a shed , It has a breaker box with 4 circuits, with 1 of the 4 as a light, the others are for receptacles. They all worked previously (I have 2 power strips ) plugged in on 2 of the receptacles)but the other day I plugged in an extension cord and the receptacle popped and sparked. The power strip tripped and I reset it. I plugged a drill in to another receptacle and it worked so I moved to another to test it. Somewhere in my moving something happened because now none of the receptacles have power to them but the circuit breakers did not trip at all. Okay now my question is, what should I start to look for and where do I look? I am not sure, but I think maybe these receptacles are in a series . Can someone out there assist me in this?:(

jproffer 05-04-2013 12:43 PM

Does the light still work? Could be that the breaker controlling that sub-panel has tripped.

Make sure the individual breakers are really not tripped...turn them off then on again, if you haven't already.

Is there a GFI somewhere on that setup? Either breaker or receptacle. It may be tripped.

If it's none of that, come back and someone more knowledgable than me will give you some more ideas. :)

rickyjoseph701 05-04-2013 01:00 PM

Yes the light still works and I can screw in an adapter and plug something in and it works, it is just the receptacles are not working. I took the faceplate and receptacle (the one that sparked ) out and looked at the wires, I did not see any burn spots on it, it has the wire plugged in to the back side and they were not loose.

jproffer 05-04-2013 01:06 PM


If I were you, I would check all the receptacles out there and cut those backstabs off and wrap the conductors around the screws for the connection.

Black to the gold/bronze colored scew...white to the silver screw. Wrap clockwise.

That may or may not be part (or all) of the problem, but I'd still do that sooner than later.

If the light still works, then it's not the breaker in the house.

Did you look around for a GFI receptacle that might be tripped?

rickyjoseph701 05-04-2013 01:09 PM

Yes, I was thinking about doing that on all 5 of the receptacles.They might be wired in a series, but I am not sure, I got this shed from a neighbor and there is no telling how he wired it.!! I have this wired away from the house and it has a separate service panel. Just prior to all of this happening, I blew a fuse in another (unattached )shed and the two sheds are not wired together.

jbfan 05-04-2013 01:17 PM

Make sure you turn the breaker off, then on to reset it.
Some breakers are hard to tell if they have tripped.

jproffer 05-04-2013 01:24 PM

But unless it has it's own meter, which I doubt, it's still a sub-panel and is fed from the main house. But either way, it don't matter because the light still works, so that's not the problem.

If the back has 4 wires, there should be 2 blacks and 2 whites plus (hopefully) a bare or green ground wire. There are 2 sets of screws, 2 gold on one side and 2 silver on the other...2 black wires to 2 gold screws and 2 white wires to 2 silver.

If the back only has 2, then it should be one black and one white and again (hopefully) the bare or green ground wire. In that case, black to gold...white to silver.

Ground wire on the green screw in either case.

rickyjoseph701 05-04-2013 01:41 PM

This is going to make me sound stupid, but do I nee d to trip the breakers or pull the breakers out before I start messing with them even though they are dead? Is it a possibility that the breakers themselves need to be replaced and if so how would I go about checking them?
Can you tell I am new at this electrical stuff?? haha

jproffer 05-04-2013 02:35 PM

We can :) , and you need to turn the breakers to the off position before doing anything...just 'cause ya never know.

If it turns out the breakers are bad, we'll get into that later. If it is a sub-panel as I suspect, then you could probably do it yourself. If it really is a main panel, then I would urge you to hire an electrician...IF it turns out the breakers need to be replaced.

rickyjoseph701 05-04-2013 03:07 PM

But I am going to check all of the receptacles and put wires on the screws and not in the back after I trip all the breakers. Is that correct? and if that is the "fix" I am going to label all of the breakers !!!!

jproffer 05-04-2013 03:23 PM


Originally Posted by rickyjoseph701 (Post 1172472)
But I am going to check all of the receptacles and put wires on the screws and not in the back after I trip all the breakers. Is that correct? and if that is the "fix" I am going to label all of the breakers !!!!

1 - If by "trip" you mean turn off, then yes...if that (rewiring receptacles with the screws) was your plan. Turning off the breakers would be step one.

2 - Good idea :thumbsup:

rickyjoseph701 05-04-2013 03:54 PM

See , I think I 've got the hang of this now!!!! What's second step?

jproffer 05-04-2013 03:57 PM

After you rewire all the receptacles? Well.......I dunno yet :) . Depends on what that changes, if anything.

123pugsy 05-04-2013 04:02 PM

I would check inside at the main panel and make sure your sub panel is not being fed by two single pole breakers. Stranger things have happened. :eek:

rickyjoseph701 05-04-2013 04:10 PM

Will try to do that tomorrow as it is cold and rainy here. Not good to work with electrical stuff when it is wet and especially if I am not sure what to do. Of course, If this doesn't work, I'll be back on seeking further guidance!!!!! I am going to start at the receptacle that was sparking .

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