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Old 04-10-2009, 11:02 AM   #1
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No power to outlet


I replaced 2 wall outlets and a light switch in the dining room. I pulled and replaced the wires in the back of the new as I was disconnecting from the old to make sure they were in the correct sequence. When I turned the power on, the light and fan in the ceiling work, but the outlets have no power. Our living room outlets are on the same circuit, so now I have no power to outlets in two rooms. I've heard about reversing the polarity of a house and screwing things up, but I followed the previous wiring. Any suggestions?

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Old 04-10-2009, 11:18 AM   #2
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No power to outlet


Check the wiring on the two new outlets. Each outlet should have at least two black (or colored) wires and two white wires if there are no other wires in the box.

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Old 04-10-2009, 11:18 AM   #3
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No power to outlet


If the receptacles you replaced are in the dining room it is likely you tripped a GFI in the kitchen. I guess that depends on the age of the house but I would take a look there first.
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:27 AM   #4
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No power to outlet


I just checked GFI's in kitchen. None were off but reset anyway. One of the outlets was only a 2 wire outlet with a ground, the other was a 4 wire (2 white, 2 black) with a ground. The odd thing is, and this is an older home, the black wires on the original box were in the white wire slots and vice versa. So I originally put them back that way. When there was no power, I did switch and put the white in the real white slot, still no power. I do have a meter so I'm sure there is no power to either outlet in dining room and it has only affected one wall in the living room. But why would the overhead light and fan still work?
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:37 AM   #5
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No power to outlet


When you say 2 wire outlet you mean one black wire and one white wire? A four wire outlet is 2 blacks,2 whites? If so, look for power with your meter at the "4 wire" outlet, test between black and white and black and ground. One of those should have 120v.The fan could be ahead of the receptacles on the circuit so not affected. What was in the switch jbox when you opened it up?
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:47 AM   #6
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No power to outlet


Is there a cable coming into the outlet box (wht & blk together) or are the wires coming in, in a conduit? If they are in a cable then one cable carries pwr in and the other feeds power to the next box.
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:49 AM   #7
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No power to outlet


The first is a two wire switch. One black, one white and a ground. Have black wire in "hot", white wire in "white" and ground to ground screw. The second switch I replaced was the 4 wire switch. At first, from the original wiring, (I might add that in our kitchen overhead the white wire was the hot wire!) I replaced it as they had it, the 2 black wires in the 2 white holes and the 2 whites in the hot holes with the ground to ground screw. Right now I just have all bare wires coming out of the 4 wire box and put the tester on it and no power with either black or white to the ground wire.

It wouldn't be so bad, but my husband is at work and I thought I was helping. I would REALLY like to get this figured out before he gets home and all H breaks lose, if you know what I mean.......
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:54 AM   #8
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No power to outlet


While you don't want the polarity at the receptacles to be wrong, if it was, you'd still have power there. Once you get things straightened out, you may want to pick yourself up a cheap receptacle wiring tester to verify proper wiring (unless you have a meter and know how to use it).

Do you know if the source for these recepts was at the switch box where you changed out the switch? Is it possible that you accidentally tapped the recept wiring off of the load side of the new light switch? This can easily be checked by turning the switch on and checking for power again at the recepts.

Good luck!
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:54 AM   #9
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No power to outlet


In the 4 wire box there are, in fact, two different cables coming in. Each cable has one black and one white. Still no power to any of the wires.
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:00 PM   #10
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If it helps any, the meter I have shows four voltages, 110V, 220V, 277V and 460V. When I checked an outlet in the hall, it is lighting up 110 which I know is regular household current. Of course my electric fence outside sets it off to 460 and will turn a squirrel into jerky in about an hour! So I am familiar with the meter I have. Incidentally, each time I work on it I do turn the power off at the breaker box before I touch anything.
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:20 PM   #11
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Sounds like you've opened yourself a can of worms little lady. The first thing I would do is make sure all of your fuses or circuit breakers are good/untripped. Part of this needs to be done live. Starting from your switch, ID your switched leg. (ie. does the voltage disappear when the switch turns off) Does this switch normally turn on/off anything other than the ceiling light and fan? Second are any of the outlets turned on/off by the switch -normally- ? If not then check again to see if ANY GFI outlets are tripped. I have seen GFI's tripped on the other end of a house, even on different floors from where the problem is. You have to find the source of power first then when you know what's HOT and what's NOT you can rewire the outlets CORRECTLY. Your HOT leg should wired to the brass or bronze colored side of a three wire receptacle. Your COLD leg should go to the silver side and the bare copper or green should go to the green terminal.
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:46 PM   #12
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No power to outlet


Let me test my understanding:
The dining room wall switch has 2 switches
1 switch for Dining room
2nd switch for kitchen

both these switches work OK
two new outlets + two in living room have no power
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:49 PM   #13
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No power to outlet


First off, I want to thank all of you for your advice. I will certainly come here with any more problems because I try to do most of the stuff around here while my husband is at work so he doesn't have so much to worry about when he gets home. No, I can't clone myself.....

The problem ended up being in the light switch. Both of the ground wires were actually wraped together and grounded out somewhere other than the switch box. When I re-wired the switch, finding a black wire on the screw, I ASSumed that it was the ground wire and put it to the ground screw, then the black and a red wire (go figure) I attached as they had been. Turns out the second black wire I had put on the ground screw was the hot wire. Since it is grounded somewhere else there wasn't anything on the ground screw. Once both hots were connected, one in the hole and one on the screw and the red in the other, it all works.

That is just amazing. It did help me to realize that power was feeding from one into the others and I knew it had to have stopped somewhere. The only other one was the light switch, which I knew had power because it was working. Wow.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-10-2009, 02:16 PM   #14
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No power to outlet


Congratulations on your success. It's surprising what problems can be resolved with good light and maybe even with a magnifier. I think that I have solved many more problems that way than with all my test Equipment.

You have made a good step with a meter, now here are some low cost testers.
e.g. Receptacle Tester

and a Solenoid Tester which is not a tester for solenoids but a general purpose tester favored by Electricians that uses a solenoid as a measuring device. (also known as a Wiggy)

and also a newer Non-contact Voltage Sniffer

And finally the newest Sniffer that can be used from Low Voltage up to 1000VAC

.
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Old 04-10-2009, 02:29 PM   #15
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No power to outlet


Better not let Hubby see these. He loves Harbor Freight Tools!

Thanks again.

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