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richie02 06-16-2008 11:03 AM

Help Help
Hello, First Im Trying To Fix A Simple Outlet Outside, It Has No Power And I Check The Outlet For Power It Has None. So I Went In The House And There Is Another Outlet That Is Dead. Open Outlet And Tested For Power And Took Outlet Off And Found That There Is 2 Blacks And 2 White Wires Hook To A Oulet. Theres No Power Going To Either Circuits One White And Black To Go To The Outlet Outside Because I Put The Leads To A Power Source And The Outside Outlet Work. Trying To Find Power Source To The Dead Ciruit In The Box Inside The House. Open All Outlets And Switch In The Area Of Dead Circuit But Everthing Was Connected And Working. Pluged The Dead Circuit In To A Extension Cord To Try To Pop Circuits That Its Connected Too And Nothing Happen. Looked For 3 Hours To Try To Find Where That Circuit Goes To. Its Like It Doesnt Go Any Where, Is There Any Way I Could Trace The Dead Ciruit Back To Where Its Supposed To Get Power From And What Electriacl Box It Is In Sorry Such A Long Story But I Need Help.

HouseHelper 06-16-2008 11:17 AM

1. Check for a tripped breaker. Turn off, then back on.
2. Check for tripped GFCI, could be in garage, bathroom, basement.
3. Turn off first letter caps when typing.

richie02 06-16-2008 11:50 AM

hello, checked all breakers and reset all of them. check around for all gfci none were tripped. everthing around outlet works and all wiring in those boxes are connected. still trying to find were circuit goes to. still need help.

mahjohn 06-16-2008 01:05 PM

to add to what househelper said. Draw a quick map of the house, and identify every outlet...doesn't have to be very detailed, just enough to show you where they are in the sure to check outside the house...under the deck, also check in the basement.

Highlight which outlets are currently dead (no power)

Then identify all GFCI's in the house (the ones with the test/reset buttons). Once you have identified them, push test on one of them. Then walk the outlets in the kitchen, bathrooms, basement and outside....testing to see which ones are off. Repeat this with all the GFCI's in the house, crossing off the outlets that are now dead.

Once the GFCI's have been tripped (test mode), go to the panel and turn off one of the 15amp breakers. Again, walk the house....testing each outlet, crossing the dead ones off the list. Repeat this for all 15amp, and 20amp breakers.

What you should have now, is no power to any outlet anywhere in the house, as your breaker panel should have all the 15 and 20 amp circuit breakers turned off.

Look at the diagram of the house identify the ones that were first highlighted. Pull each of the outlets from the wall. In your post you stated that the outside outlet had 2 black wires and 2 white wires. This is not two circuits, but a pass through for another outlet on the same circuit.

Try to picture the circuit in your head, or draw it on paper in this format:

circuit breaker -> outlet -> outlet -> outlet

From the example above, you will have 3 wires. 1 white, 1black and 1 copper (ground). The circuit is run from the circuit breaker (3 wires) to the first outlet. once at the first outlet, the wires are terminated. From the first outlet, another 3 wires are attached and run to the second outlet (3 wires), and then 3 wires are run to the third outlet.

As you have wires coming in, and going out from the outlet, only the last outlet in the chain will have only 3 wires. Every other outlet will have 6 wires.....those coming in, and going out. to find the beginning and end ?

Pull out each the outlets that were first hightlighted, do not disconnect the wires. Find the one that has only 3 wires (1 black, 1 white, 1 copper). MAKE SURE POWER IS OFF !! Disconnect the white and copper wires and twist them together. Go to any of the other outlets and disconnect the white and copper wires. Using a multimeter that can test for continuity, hold the white wire and one of the multimeter leads, and with the other lead touch the ground wire. If there is a beep, then this outlet feeds directly to the other outlet.

Continue this process until you have identified each of the outlets back to the circuit breaker.

Once you have identified all the outlets, you should be able to identify which circuit and find the problem outlet or problem circuit breaker.

1. On GFCI's, you will have LINE, and LOAD. Line is the feed IN, load is the outlets protected by the GFCI.

2. A continuity test is where you verify that a single continuous loop. You must ensure that the whites and copper wires are not twisted together in the outlet box.

My guess is that you have a faulty GFCI, or that you have lost the ground on one of your outlets. Unlike standard 15amp or 20amp outlets, if you lose the ground connection on one of your GFCI protected outlets, the entire circuit will not work.

HouseHelper 06-16-2008 03:39 PM


My guess is that you have a faulty GFCI, or that you have lost the ground on one of your outlets. Unlike standard 15amp or 20amp outlets, if you lose the ground connection on one of your GFCI protected outlets, the entire circuit will not work.
While the rest of your post has some validity, that statement is not true... the grounding wire has nothing to do with whether a GFCI works or not, it will work just fine with no ground (bare) wire at all.

Richie: in the absence of a tripped GFCI, and I would still look around some more, behind furniture, boxes, etc., the next most common culprit is a loose wire due to use of push-in connections. This most often occurs on the last working receptacle or switch in the circuit. If you can isolate the affected circuit, turn off that breaker and start removing receptacles from the wall and look for a loose wire pushed in to the back. You may have to pull the receptacle completely out to determine if the wire is loose. When you find it, rewire using the side screws.

richie02 06-16-2008 03:51 PM

hello, thanks for info but the outlet outside only has one black and one white in the box. in the box in the house has two blacks and two whites and i confirmed that one of the circuits are the one that goes out side also open all boxes in kitchen to find where the dead circuit is. now all the boxes work in the kitchen except that one and the one outside. also check switches in kitchen is see if the was a loose connection in boxes but everything look connected and had power. what tool could i use to trace the circuit from the box back to where it could be located.

richie02 06-16-2008 04:03 PM

hi house helper,

last night i did everthing you said open all boxes in kitchen also look down in basement. open boxes and all receptacles work , bottom and tops so i beleive that power is going from one circuit to another. i just cant find what outlet the circuit would get its power from you would think it would be another outlet closes in area but had to check all in kitchen with know luck.

mahjohn 06-17-2008 08:42 AM

agreed....GFCI's do not use the ground wire for fault detection, instead they detect a "differential current". :thumbsup:

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