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Old 12-20-2008, 10:01 PM   #1
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entire circuit out


I have an entire circuit out, the living room and on this same circuit are the porch light and garage lights, but not the gfi. My son was plugging in his xbox like he usually does and when he ran the cat5 wire to the xbox, the entire circuit went out. The breaker did not trip!!!why? I pulled the breaker out and checked it out, no burned smell, still clicks fine and when i put it back in we had power again. But as soon as my son started to play again, the power went out on the circuit again. again, the breaker did not trip, but i went to the hardware store and bouught another square d 15 amp breaker and put it in just in case, still no power. I pulled the breaker out again and saw some kind of gunk (greaselike) on the silver part where the breaker snaps in so i cleaned it up with qtips and sprayed some electrical contact cleaner to help with a better connection, still no power. checked all of the outlets and light bulbs, but nothing broken off or damaged in any way. What am i missing?????

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Old 12-20-2008, 10:13 PM   #2
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entire circuit out


Must be a loose connection somewhere, a good place to start is the receptacle your son used to plug in his X-box.

Would the power come back on (at neighboring receptacles) if you jiggled a receptacle with nothing plugged into it?

Mark each dead outlet box and turn off the breaker.

You'll have to open up each dead outlet box in turn, removing the receptacle or switch unit, and making sure that the wires are screwd on firmly to each terminal. Wires stuck into the receptacle or switch but not screwed down should be removed carefully and attached to screws.

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Old 12-20-2008, 10:46 PM   #3
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entire circuit out


Its probably a loose connection, these xboxes pull about 2-4 amps, so the connection has to be pretty loose. Check in the outlet that the xbox was plugged into.


Oh, and that "gunk" is supposed to be there. Its not a problem without it, but I wouldn't remove it in the future.
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Old 12-20-2008, 11:09 PM   #4
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entire circuit out


Quote:
I pulled the breaker out again and saw some kind of gunk (greaselike) on the silver part where the breaker snaps in so i cleaned it up with qtips and sprayed some electrical contact cleaner to help with a better connection
Ack! That stuff is supposed to be there. If you want to be prudent, you should replace that breaker with one that you haven't "cleaned".
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Old 12-21-2008, 07:21 AM   #5
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entire circuit out


It is possible that when you installed the new breaker and restored power, that the GFCI tripped. Did you try resetting it?

The fact that the breaker tripped when he plugged in the x-box and connected the CAT5 to it, means that something is terribly wrong with either the x-box or the wiring to the receptacle.
It could be the same problem I have seen in another thread concerning LCD TV's blowing the breaker when the CATV is connected.
In one case, the ground on the receptacle was energized to 115VAC!

Have you tried plugging the x-box into a different receptacle, preferably on a different circuit, and connecting the CAT5 cable?
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Old 12-21-2008, 07:34 AM   #6
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entire circuit out


Read carefully... the OP says the breaker did not trip.

You have a lose connection. Most likely culprit is a backwired receptacle. You can sometimes determine the problem receptacle by inserting a plug and moving it around, making the rest of the circuit come back on. And the problem is usually in a receptacle that is still working.
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:10 AM   #7
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entire circuit out


Sometimes "circuit interruption devices" do not look tripped but they have stopped passing current anyway.
Check the voltage downstream of each with an incand. test lamp. Don't use a neon or a high impedance voltmeter.
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Old 12-21-2008, 06:06 PM   #8
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entire circuit out


Quote:
Originally Posted by HouseHelper View Post
Read carefully... the OP says the breaker did not trip.

You have a lose connection. Most likely culprit is a backwired receptacle. You can sometimes determine the problem receptacle by inserting a plug and moving it around, making the rest of the circuit come back on. And the problem is usually in a receptacle that is still working.
My bad; I must have been reading with my eyes partially closed. I see that he said twice that the breaker did not trip.

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