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Old 12-30-2012, 09:21 AM   #16
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Did all I could, I'm afraid...


Your problem could be at a working receptacle on the same circuit. The break is at a connection to the downstream devices.

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Old 12-30-2012, 12:50 PM   #17
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Did all I could, I'm afraid...


I disconnected the daisy chain to the downstream outlets and tested solely with the first known outlet, so the break couldn't be downstream.


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Your problem could be at a working receptacle on the same circuit. The break is at a connection to the downstream devices.
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:55 PM   #18
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Did all I could, I'm afraid...


AHB.....do this one last thing....

Turn off the breaker feeding that ckt.....and then go to every outlet that you think is NOT on that ckt and see if they have power. If you find one that is dead that you didn't think was on the ckt....it might just be part of that ckt. Check outside as well.

BTW....did you locate the neut in the main panel?

BTW....when was your house built? And....is the wireing ran in the attic?

Can you post pics of your panel?
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:07 PM   #19
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Did all I could, I'm afraid...


PROBLEM SOLVED. Had a fellow church member from the local ward who is an electrician continue on from where I left off. Just on the sole virtue of experience, he could tell that the wires coming into the outlet (the one I assumed was the first one from the breaker) were actually coming up from the floor and into the top of the outlet box, rather than coming straight in from the ceiling. With that in mind, I considered that the wires coming from the panel were in the basement ceiling rather than coming through the attic. The "no duh" moment was echoed by my friend, who advised that "where ever an electrician can save money he will, and that means firstly that he will choose the cheapest route to get from point A to point B. Running a wire from the panel in the garage, going up through the attic, and then back down to the main floor will never happen if he can run the wire under the upper floor and save money on expensive wire."

Fortunately, the ceiling in the room under the kitchen is not finished, and lo and behold! A junction box...

The twist tie on the neutral line had come undone.

TADA!
Problem found and easily fixed.

I appreciate all the reassurances of my path in troubleshooting, that came through so many suggestions from this board. What a commendable group of people here! Thank you all, and I hope you all had a great Christmas, and will have a great New Year!


Adam
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I would spend your time on being sure of the circuit routing rather than poking holes in your walls. All junctions have to be accessible in a box by code so until you rule out that you shouldn't panic over a spontaneously severing wire behind a wall that has been there for years.

You've checked the outlets you say. Have you determined their exact order in the run? Can you go one by one and disconnect the down stream outlet and see the expected one goes dead and the upstream ones are still alive? You shouldn't assume they are wired in a logical order, check it to be sure. Also you only seem to be looking only at the outlets. Are you sure there aren't any lighting circuits on the branch? Maybe the outlets are preceded by a lighting circuit or two? Lastly even if the circuit is not part of a lighting circuit the wiring might route through another box enroute to the panel where there could be loose wire nuts or junctions.
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Be a little cautious about DVM meter readings. Ironically the better the meter the more this is an issue. These devices are very high input impedance. As a result a floating line can have enough inductively coupled signal to false the meter. I like to suggest a 10000 Ohm resistor across the meter for electrical measurement purposes. This will reduce the false readings. Just remove the resistor if doing more sensitive electronic probing.

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Old 12-31-2012, 01:45 PM   #20
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Did all I could, I'm afraid...


Hey, at least you got rid of all those infernal back-stabbed receptacles so they won't get you a few years down the road!
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:10 PM   #21
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Hey, at least you got rid of all those infernal back-stabbed receptacles so they won't get you a few years down the road!
Indeed! It cost me $30 and there's nothing wrong nor ever a wrong time to make things right.

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