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batesrt 02-04-2008 09:04 AM

Power to outlets but not enough?
hi all, recently had a problem in our basement. suddenly all power outlets quit working. figured it was simply a breaker out or faulty, but replacing it did no good. there is enough power going to the outlets to power a small LED light, but not enough for TV etc., so definitely getting power but not enough.

they're connected to a two pole breaker, top pole works just great and powers our sump pump just fine. the bottom pole is the one that controls all the outlets. both new and old breakers have the same effect.

any ideas? checked all the connections and everything seems fine.....

Darylh 02-04-2008 10:47 AM

sounds to me like you have a lose connection somewhere along the line. You said you checked the connections but just what did you check.
I myself would check every plug and switch and connections in each box till I found the problem.Of course if you have a volt meter you could just go around testing till you found the box with the problem. Depending on how the place is wired it could even be a faulty plug.

jbfan 02-04-2008 11:08 AM

You need to check for a tripped GFCI somewhere in the basement, or outside that feeds this circuit.

Stubbie 02-04-2008 12:59 PM

You are dealing with a multiwire branch circuit with shared neutral. If your sump is one one leg of the multiwire and is operating fine then you may have a problem on the other leg with a neutral connection via a pigtail to a receptacle or a problem with a connection of the hot wire to the receptacle. What I don't know is how the multiwire is designed. If it was split in a junction box I would look there first, if not then the first receptacle box the branch circuit comes to since I am assuming they all are not working. If they stabbed the wires into the holes of the receptacles move them to the screws. Be very careful not to restore power with the neutral disconnected and anything plugged into the outlets as it is possible depending on the design of the multiwire that you could put 240 volts on your plugged in equipment. So I would get everything unplugged before you work on this and just use a test light or lamp to test if things start working. A voltage reading would be nice at one of the receptacle boxes that doesn't appear to be working. Test the hot to bare ground wire.

goose134 02-04-2008 09:06 PM

As usual Stubbie is on the money. I would add, that once you find the culprit, de-energize BOTH circuits before trying to twist anything together. I've said it before, but it bears repeating, getting whacked on an open neutral is one of the WORSt shock hazards around. I know. Believe me.

Andy in ATL 02-04-2008 09:12 PM

I'm a fan of safety glasses and


Goose is right

A DIYer will die some where today

(could or probably will be in SA or the EU)

from a bad or loose neutral.............:huh:


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