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Old 02-28-2013, 04:35 PM   #1
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Odd electrical fault


First post here, so go easy on me! I have an odd electrical problem that I can't work out.

I was working in my garage yesterday with the lights on (2 60W incandescent bulbs in wall sconces) and plugged into a powerstrip a 2000W ceramic heater and a 12W inspection lamp. Without warning I heard a pop, like a breaker tripping, and the power went out. The power is out in the wall outlets and the lights in the garage as well as one wall outlet in the laundry room that backs on to the garage.

I disconnected the powerstrip and checked the breaker in the main electrical panel. Nothing was tripped, but I flicked them all off then on again to be sure. I plugged in the powerstrip to a working outlet in the house and it buzzed, so I turned it off and will trash it.

I still have no power to the garage except (thankfully) for the garage door opener which is plugged into an outlet in the garage ceiling. So what is the next thing I should check? Is it possible that a power cable may have melted in the wall before the breaker could trip?

Any idea greatly appreciated!

Cheers
Simon

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Old 02-28-2013, 04:44 PM   #2
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Odd electrical fault


I would start looking for a tripped GFI receptacle.

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Old 02-28-2013, 05:07 PM   #3
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Odd electrical fault


Thanks k_buz. There aren't any GFI receptacles in the garage, and only one in the laundry room, which wasn't tripped.

Given that there's still power to the one ceiling outlet which powers the garage door opener I'm reluctant to start pulling outlets and metering the cables even if I flick the garage and laundry breakers off. I guess I could turn the whole house off and work with flashlights. Not my idea of fun though.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:29 PM   #4
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Odd electrical fault


just for grins, reset the one in the laundry room.

garage doors are often on a different circuit.

and look in the garage for the gfi there. its probably behind the cabinet that never gets moved.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:56 PM   #5
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Odd electrical fault


I reset the laundry room GFI, but still no power to the garage.

I've checked all over the garage and there isn't a GFI in there. Maybe it was swapped out, or never installed (house was built in 1992)?

Not sure this helps, but when I turn off the breaker identified as being for the garage, the garage door opener loses power.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:13 PM   #6
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Odd electrical fault


Only do this if you have an electrical tester. Pull the receptacle and check it for burned/loose conductors. Also check the hot conductor to see if it is live.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:15 PM   #7
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Odd electrical fault


Quote:
Originally Posted by djlandkpl View Post
Only do this if you have an electrical tester. Pull the receptacle and check it for burned/loose conductors. Also check the hot conductor to see if it is live.
Thanks. I need to buy an electrical tester anyway since I'm just about to start a remodel. I'll pick one up tomorrow. Any suggestions as to what features I should look for in an electrical tester?

Cheers
Simon
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:40 PM   #8
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Odd electrical fault


Check the bathrooms and the outside as well.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:43 PM   #9
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Odd electrical fault


Quote:
Originally Posted by ANMH View Post
Thanks. I need to buy an electrical tester anyway since I'm just about to start a remodel. I'll pick one up tomorrow. Any suggestions as to what features I should look for in an electrical tester?

Cheers
Simon
A non contact voltage tester and a multimeter.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:52 PM   #10
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Odd electrical fault


Many a time people have found hidden GFCI's
that they never knew were there.
and they are usually hidden behind box's shelf's, cupboards
dont discount the tripped gfci theory just yet.
Look everywhere on every wall and behind everything !
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:45 PM   #11
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Odd electrical fault


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A non contact voltage tester and a multimeter.
Thanks. I'll get one tomorrow.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:46 PM   #12
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Odd electrical fault


Quote:
Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
Many a time people have found hidden GFCI's
that they never knew were there.
and they are usually hidden behind box's shelf's, cupboards
dont discount the tripped gfci theory just yet.
Look everywhere on every wall and behind everything !
I'll take another look in the garage, but it's basically empty since I've only recently moved in and haven't filled it with junk yet, so the walls are clear and easy to see. But I'll give it another look.

Cheers
Simon
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:13 PM   #13
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Odd electrical fault


In 92, many houses were wired with one GFI to protect any area in the house that needed GFI protection. Such locations include: garages, outside outlets, laundry rooms, basements, bathrooms.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:35 PM   #14
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Odd electrical fault


Quote:
Originally Posted by k_buz
In 92, many houses were wired with one GFI to protect any area in the house that needed GFI protection. Such locations include: garages, outside outlets, laundry rooms, basements, bathrooms.
I worked on a house once that had 20 receptacles both inside and out fed from one GFI buried behind a cabinet in the basement.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:21 PM   #15
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Odd electrical fault


Thanks guys. There was a GFCI tripped in the garage that I didn't see at first. The odd thing is that I swear I checked it as one of the first things I looked at - must have not done it properly and then dismissed it.

Thanks again for all the suggestions!

Cheers
Simon

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