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Old 06-16-2009, 03:04 PM   #1
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


purchased foreclosed property with no information from previous owners. home inspection report states, "electrical outlets are not operational, (for increased safety GFCI required)" regarding the outdoor irrigation barbeque pit area. inspector verbally stated it wasn't a fuse box issue (tripped fuse).

Haven't done anything else yet and am wondering what I should do/check first, second, third, etc. before calling in an electrician for professional evaluation. What do you guys think?

For more info on the problem see my replies below...


Last edited by frgwtchr; 06-16-2009 at 06:21 PM. Reason: more info added
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:08 PM   #2
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


I'd check bathroom, garage, under house GFI's first. The receptacle(s) could be fed off of a GFI already.

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Old 06-16-2009, 03:39 PM   #3
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


If there is no power to the hot slot and no continuity to the neutral slot it's probably an upstream GFCI that's tripped.
Otherwise, post back for more detailed troubleshooting instructions.
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:46 PM   #4
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


I mean no disrespect but, there is power to the house right?

I installed some GFI breakers after a small house fire, the inspector called and said " These GFI breakers you put in won't trip when I push the test button" I said, "have y'all put the meter back in yet"? He said, "No, you have to have power for it to work"?
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:46 PM   #5
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


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Old 06-16-2009, 04:07 PM   #6
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


other outlets work fine. power is on. the bank has run an extention cord from another outlet to the irrigation box so the irrigation system will continue to work. the outlet right under the irrigation box does not work. i thought i would start by taking the outlet out of the wall and make sure the wiring is connected correctly and test the wires with the voltage tester. Then I don't know what to do from there if there is no reading to the wires.
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:41 PM   #7
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


Quote:
Originally Posted by frgwtchr View Post
regarding the outdoor irrigation barbeque pit area. inspector verbally stated it wasn't a fuse box issue (tripped fuse).
Did you check this again for yourself? Never take anyone's word for things. Also may want to consider going to circuit breakers. Many insurance companies here will not insure your house if it has a fuse box still. Also may want to make sure this circuit is still connected. Remember a lot of people when being foreclosed on will do anything to jack the bank off.
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:52 PM   #8
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


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Originally Posted by frgwtchr View Post
other outlets work fine.
power is on.
the bank has run an extention cord from another outlet to the irrigation box so the irrigation system will continue to work.
the outlet right under the irrigation box does not work.
i thought i would start by taking the outlet out of the wall and make sure the wiring is connected correctly
and test the wires with the voltage tester.
Then I don't know what to do from there if there is no reading to the wires.
Yes, visually check first.

Most testers respond to phantom voltages; I'd use an incand. bulb in a pigtailed socket, available at H/W stores.
The bulb should light when wired between the short slot and the long slot
and the short slot and the ground hole
and the short slot and a known good ground, like a cold water pipe.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 06-16-2009 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:18 PM   #9
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


so here are the results from the initial visual ispection. took outlets out of wall and then found the closest outdoor outlet that was working and took it out. the wiring from the working box out to the nonworking boxes was not connected even though the wiring in the nonworking boxes was connected. when i connected the wiring within the working box to supply power to the two nonworking boxes it must have tripped the breaker switch because now all of the outlet have stopped working. I did not reset the breaker box because I thought it was in the garage and I couldn't get to it but my husband said he thinks he saw it on the outside if the house. I will have to reset it and see what happens but does anyone have an idea why connecting the three would have tripped the switch? where do you suggest i go from here. thanks again for your help!!!!

Last edited by frgwtchr; 06-16-2009 at 06:19 PM. Reason: more info on problem
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:33 PM   #10
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


My first answer would have been to check any wire terminations on any receptacles that are located outside. These are prone to corrode and loss contact. Then you go and state that you found a working outdoor outlet, traced the wires back to the outlet that was not working, connected the outlet that was not working and tripped the breaker. NOW we know something-you should not have made this connection! I had to do that, sorry. It sounds to me as if there is a problem within the receptacle of the original outlet that was not working which caused the short when you made the connection. Maybe that is why it was disconnected in the first place. IF YOU are not experienced with electrical work I highly suggest getting someone who is, at this point, please. It is time to check the wiring that goes from the last working outlet to the outlet that was not working when you started. My guess is there is a problem internally with the duplex receptacle (outlet) that was not originally working, but the circuit that goes to that outlet needs to be checked out IMO. Good Luck, David
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:40 PM   #11
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


My thought would be that there is a fault in the wiring and somebody disconnected the wiring to the non-working outlets, to keep from blowing fuses. And of course, keep the working receptacle, working.

I've seen cases where a nail has punctured a cable and is causing the protection to blow.
A volt/ohm meter is used to test for a fault of this nature!
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:55 PM   #12
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


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My thought would be that there is a fault in the wiring and somebody disconnected the wiring to the non-working outlets, to keep from blowing fuses. And of course, keep the working receptacle, working.

I've seen cases where a nail has punctured a cable and is causing the protection to blow.
A volt/ohm meter is used to test for a fault of this nature!
Yes, they hid the problem and now you're onto it.

You can find out approx. how far the short is from the breaker but you need a voltmeter, ammeter, a 100w incand. lamp and you need to know whether you have #12 or #14, aluminum or copper wiring.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:03 PM   #13
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


First off, hi I'm new here! I'm a first year electrical student, so take what I say with a grain of salt, and if anyone sees a problem with what I have here, please, by all means speak up.

Anyhow, did you have the power on when you hooked up the non-working receptacles? If so, I think you probably would have seen some sort of arc if you had in fact tripped the breaker, or even have received a bit of a shock. You should never work on a hot circuit if at all possible.

What I would do is unhook the non-working ones so that they are back in their original configuration. Then I would check for continuity between the black and white wires that feed those receptacles from the box that has the working receptacles. If you have no continuity there, then next I would replace the receptacles and check again. If there is still no continuity, then you may have a break in the wire somewhere.

If there is a break in continuity somewhere, then that could possibly cause the working receptacle to stop working when connected to that broken circuit.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:22 PM   #14
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


Turns out the circuit breaker is not tripped but the GFCI that the whole circuit runs off of did trip. Tomorrow (too late tonight) after I reset the GFCI I will then make one connection at a time in order from the good outlet then to the first outlet by the BBQ pit and hopefully track down where exactly the fault is. I use the old vacuum cleaner method (plug in, turn on, then reset breaker or GFCI) if you can hear the vacuum then obviously working. If not, scratch head, and come up with new plan. I am starting to think that the outside receptacles are bad or were improperly wired in the first place. Will provide some more info tomorrow. Thanks for the help to all.

Hopefully the attached picture will help.
Attached Thumbnails
outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse-bbqpitoutletdiagram.jpg  

Last edited by frgwtchr; 06-16-2009 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:36 PM   #15
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outdoor outlet doesn't work; not fuse


If you were wiring hot, then the GFCI trip may have happened when you hooked up the non-working receptacles. You may have actually received a shock and not even have felt it, GFCI's can trip that quick.

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