How To Troubleshoot A Short? - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 12-17-2011, 11:30 AM   #1
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How To Troubleshoot A Short?

Long story short, the little one was messing with the xmas tree lights, she unplugged it..

With one hand I grab her, with the other I try to plug the lights back in, out of the corner of my eye I see one tip enter the outlet while the other tip touches the ground plug, or was it the screw that holds in the outlet cover?

NONETHELESS, I hear snap and see a light flash.. PI YOW!!! something blew..

NOW the whole southside of the Living room is powerless including the adjacent dining room.

I don't see any burn/scorch marks anywhere, but nonetheless I replaced that receptical with a BRAND new one(shoulda done that a while ago, as it was so loose the little was able to unplug stuff at will) NOTHING

I reset all the circuit breakers, NOHTHING, ONE at a time even, NOTHING...

I even reset the main house switch, cutting power to the house, NOTHING..

Its like that receptical and all outlets and adjoing dinin room outlets(opposite side of this same wall, next room over) are all dead..


Please advise... the big game is manana, and I have no TV...(all my entertainment needs are tied up on this wall!)

getting desperate, thinking bout buyin an extension cable and running it 20 feet over to the next working outlet!!




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Old 12-17-2011, 11:47 AM   #2
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Is there a GFCI somewhere else on this circuit? Find it and reset it. Look EVERYWHERE.


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Old 12-17-2011, 11:58 AM   #3
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Circuit breakers can also fail.

Do you have a meter or test light? Check to see if you have power at the breaker.
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Old 12-17-2011, 03:57 PM   #4
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The way you described the "short" is mechanically impossible.
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:08 PM   #5
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Touching one prong to the ground screw while the other prong is in the hot side of the receptacle will not cause a short, it will cause a ground fault. The only way the power would go off as a result is if the receptacle is protected by a GFCI. It has to be somewhere. Check the bathrooms, garage, and outdoor receptacles.
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:53 AM   #6
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Best bett is there is a gfci somewhere,
You might not be aware of it thou,
Carefully check all switchs/recepticule in all rooms,
even ones you dont think would be it,
check them all.
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Old 12-18-2011, 01:33 AM   #7
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Not only that and also check for any loose connection at other receptales that will show up as well.

You will have to turn the main breaker off if you don't have NCV ( Non Concat Voltage ) tester or the branch circuit breaker if the marking on the panel is correct ( this part I never always trust the writing on them due over the years it will change )

And you will have to remove the receptale from the wall and look for loose connection and if you have any wirenuts in there tighten them as well.

Any chance is the receptle cover is metal ? if so I am pretty sure it make a light short circuit if the metal receptale cover is loose.

While you check the loose connection at all the affected receptales if you have backstabbed connection it will be good time to move it over to the screw or use the backwired connection { screw with pressure plate to tighten down }



The answer will be based on NEC ( National Electrical code ) or CEC ( Cananda Electrical code ) or ECF ( Electrique Code France )
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