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Old 01-10-2010, 10:31 AM   #1
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


First of all, I am a NOOB - so hope there's no initiation party!
And, I'm a NOOB to electrical stuff but curious to know things and sometimes googling and reading stuff goes over my head. I look for simple answers and then work my way up from there.

My issue: few electrical outlets do not work due to few high watts items were plugged (i.e., heater, microwave, etc.) in the same outlet and they died out. Fusebox are all ON. When I plug in my handy dandy digital multimeter (purchased one and then it was a challenge itself how to use the darn thing), I test the outlets and they are giving out 120v-122v - but when I plug in things, they do not work. I thought when they die - there's no electricity flowing in there but in this case there IS electricity?

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Old 01-10-2010, 10:39 AM   #2
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


Are you checking from hot to neutral or hot to ground when you get your reading?
I suspect you are reading to ground. Which you have lost your neutral conductor some where.

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Old 01-10-2010, 10:41 AM   #3
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


The two side slots should have 120V potential across them. If this is what you have replace the outlets, the slots may be fried. If you are only seeing 120V from the small slot (hot) to the round one (ground) then you have lost your common (neutral connection) This would be the white wire. In this case find all outlets on the same circuit. Turn off the power. Remove all outlets from the box, but not removing the wires yet. Be sure all wires and screws are clear from the box. Turn the power back on. Test from the black wire to each of the white wires on each outlet until you find where the neutral is lost. These connections are looped in the outlet. Overloading may have broken the internal connection at one outlet. (strange to happen on the neutral side) Or you may find a wire is bad within the wall. An electrician set a stable to tight and the overload caused enough heat to weaken then break a wire.

Last edited by Bob Mariani; 01-10-2010 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:42 AM   #4
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


Oh boy! I have NOOO idea what you just said. Sorry! All I did is/was put the red/black lead into the left and right sockets and checked the digital multimeter.

And, if they are "fried", what do I replace? How can I confirm first that they are indeed fried? If A & B gives 120v, is that the right way?

Could you pls explain the difference?
see attachment.
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!-picaso.jpg  

Last edited by cosmokramer; 01-10-2010 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:53 AM   #5
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


you would not wire an outlet with a black on one side and the red on the other. White goes on the right side of your diagram. C is the ground. A is the hot side. B is the Common or neutral side. There should be power between A and C and between A and B There should be no power between B and C. Is this red wire in the same cable as a black wire? If this room has a switch, turn it off and test again. You need to find what is bad before you know what to replace.
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:56 AM   #6
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmokramer View Post
Oh boy! I have NOOO idea what you just said. Sorry! All I did is/was put the red/black lead into the left and right sockets and checked the digital multimeter.

And, if they are "fried", what do I replace? How can I confirm first that they are indeed fried? If A & B gives 120v, is that the right way?

Could you pls explain the difference?
see attachment.
The longer opening of your rec is the neutral, the shorter is the hot, the round is the ground.

You are still losing your neutral somewhere, most likely in a backstab connection of one of your receptacles if they are wired that way. Go to the last working receptacle on that circuit and check your connections. Do this with the circuit breaker turned off so not to get shocked.
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:59 AM   #7
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Mariani View Post
you would not wire an outlet with a black on one side and the red on the other. .
Bob I think hes talking about the meter leads. Remember hes very new.

It might be best for him to call a professional. And learn more before he tries and gets hurt. Hes that new.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:00 AM   #8
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


checking with the power off means pulling the wires to see they are secure. But we still need to find why you have a red wire and not a white wire attached to the neutral side.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:02 AM   #9
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


"All I did is/was put the red/black lead into the left and right sockets and checked the digital multimeter."

This is what he said he was not talking about the wiring to the back of the rec.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:02 AM   #10
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


yeah.. just thought of that since if it is a red wire, no power between red and black.... unless my staple idea is right. (open one wire.. shorted the others)
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:07 AM   #11
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


Hes checking for voltage he says. If he has the meter in the rifgt settings and has 120v, then I would suspect he has a bad connection under load,with the breaker not tripping.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:11 AM   #12
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


I think I may have lost you guys. I'd like to understand the issue before I call an electrician. Let me try again. All I did was put the digital multimeter black and red leads in the left and right side of the outlet to see if there was electricity. (Is that the right way to test the current)? If not, what is the right way?

All I picked up from above conversation is that 'neutral' is lost somewhere. Nothing has been replaced, yet. I did not open anything. I don't know what you mean short the other wire or what white wire is being referred to.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:20 AM   #13
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


Sorry I dont have time to explain right now,, maybe one of the others can help. Will be back later today if you havent gatten any answers.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:47 AM   #14
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


So you are testing between A & B & getting 120v ?
That means you have power

What are you plugging that is not getting power ?
Have you tried plugging in a KNOWN working light ?

Fusebox or breakers ? There is a difference
A breaker can be tripped without looking tripped
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:22 PM   #15
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Outlets do not work but has 120v!


Yes. I tried A & B, it has power and gets 120v. However, when I place the red in the right (hole) and black in the center or at the center nail, I get nothing. (whereas I do get back results on all other working outlets instead of this one). And, there are no other outlets on this side of the breaker where the issue is, which was being used for the microwave only.

I turned the breaker off and opened the outlet (verified electricity flow before and after with on/off position) and there are white and black wires attached and in the back of outlet box, saw some copper wires (which I left alone).

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