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newby11 06-24-2008 02:13 PM

problems with a split receptacle
 
I'm currently trying to update and change the outlets in the kitchen, and I've come across a split receptacle on the counter. I've rewired everything exactly the same way as the old plug outlet, with the ground wire at the bottom, white (neutral) wire on the left bottom silver screw and the red and black (hot) wires on the top and bottom right side gold screws.

This is where my problem is... the old outlet did not have the brass tab broken on either side, so I didn't break mine at first either, but the breaker went. So after more reading, it said I NEED to have the metal bridge broken on the right hot side, so I've removed it leaving the 1/8" necessary gap, but I still can't turn the breaker on!

Could I have damaged the breaker? Or am I still missing something else?

BigJimmy 06-24-2008 04:38 PM

1. Ok, you're sure you have completely removed the bridging tab?
2. You're sure you did in fact remove the bridge on the hot side?
3. Is it that you cannot reset the breaker or that you can but it trips? If the former, make sure you toggle the CB's handle fully off before trying to move to the ON position.

If none of these are the issue, you may want to simply check your wiring, starting at the first recept. Disconnect the downstream wires to the other recepts. and try resetting.

Jimmy

newby11 06-24-2008 06:31 PM

Thanks for the reply jimmy...

To answer your questions,
1. Yes, I have completely removed the bridging tab
2. Postitive it's removed on the hot (right) side
3. I can reset the breaker... I can push it into the off position, and as soon as I push it into the on position again it immediately trips.

As for the wiring, it's been checked a hundred fold :(
I'm getting a little stuck.

The latest thing I tried was I took the plug outlet right out of the wall and left all 4 wires sticking out (not touching each other). I tried to turn on the breaker and it still tripped... any idea what that could that mean?

BigJimmy 06-24-2008 10:26 PM

Ok, thinking...

Troubleshooting this type of thing, while relatively easy in person, is a whole other issue over the internet. But, let me ask a few more questions:

1. This is a split receptacle. Is there a 2-pole breaker feeding it? You mentioned two hot wires, one black and one red.

2. Is there anything else connected to this circuit upstream, i.e. electrically toward the panel. You said that you removed the recept and left the wires hanging but the breaker still trips. Therein, you have removed this recept. from the equation.

3. I don't do nearly as much resi work as many of the electricians and EC's on this site do on a daily basis. I doubt that the breaker is bad but for GP, you could swap it out with another of comparable rating and see if the results remain unchanged.

4. Did you do anything with the wiring between this receptacle and the panel?

5. Lastly, is this a garden variety branch breaker or a GFCI/Arc Fault type (if either of the latter, there will be a trip test button button on the breaker itself)?

Let me know, PM if you'd like.

Jimmy

Joe F 06-25-2008 08:46 AM

If you're using a metal box, you may want to make sure you don't have a dead short to the box from one of the hots or jumpers.

jrclen 06-25-2008 09:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by newby11 (Post 133408)
The latest thing I tried was I took the plug outlet right out of the wall and left all 4 wires sticking out (not touching each other). I tried to turn on the breaker and it still tripped... any idea what that could that mean?

It means I would suspect a wiring problem between the circuit breaker and this receptacle. Such as a ground touching a hot screw in another box. Pull out the switch for starters and look in there.

newby11 06-26-2008 01:03 AM

Yes there is a 2-pole breaker feeding it. and there are 2 hot wires, one black and one red.

I have not touched any wiring anywhere else (besides other outlets changed at different times this week).

The only button I have on my breaker is a big orange "push to test" button, which it for an outside outlet.

I've been on the hunt, and have recently found another outlet in the kitchen that does not work. The reason I'm surprised is that it is an outlet that I had changed a week ago and it had been working fine up until now.
When I took off the cover of the 2nd outlet, and got someone to flip the breaker today, it did indeed make a small popping sound. I then removed the plug from the 2nd outlet and separated all of the wires, and tried the breaker again. And this time it went on!!! YEAH!! So I've found my faulty outlet, but I'm not sure at all why it turned faulty all of the sudden. All of the wires looked properly attached and in the right place. Well, I guess one mystery is out of the way for now.

I'm gonna try to set up the outlets again and be very very specific and careful with where all of the wires are going and what they're touching. Hopefully it works, but I guess we'll see.

I'll report the outcome tomorrow... thanks for all your help everybody :)
Wish me luck!

BigJimmy 06-26-2008 12:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by newby11 (Post 133792)
The only button I have on my breaker is a big orange "push to test" button, which it for an outside outlet.

Is this the same breaker feeding the receptacle in the kitchen? I don't mean to nit-pick, but this sounds like a GFCI breaker and that function protects everything on the circuit. The outside receptacle should not be on this circuit if this is the case. Since your small appliance branch circuits in the kitchen are allowed to include an outlet for the refrigerator, anything plugged into that outdoor outlet could trip the breaker and shut down the refrigerator in doing so. Coming home to a fridge filled full of warm food is bad enough, but when the beer is allowed to go warm, well that is just downright sinful.

Quote:

Originally Posted by newby11 (Post 133792)
I then removed the plug from the 2nd outlet and separated all of the wires, and tried the breaker again. And this time it went on!!!

Do you mean that you unplugged an appliance that was connected to this receptacle or do you simply mean by "unplugged" that you removed the receptacle from the box? If the former, the appliance is likely the culprit. However, as this is a GFCI-protected recept., it doesn't take but the slightest cross between hot and ground/grounded conductors to cause the thing to trip. Check the wiring carefully for nicks and tears in the jacketing. Also inspect the plaster ring (if a metal box) for signs of arcing.

Let us know and yes, we wish you luck!
Jimmy

newby11 06-26-2008 03:05 PM

Sorry, my last message was a little misleading, I was writing in a very tired state :)
I meant to write breaker box, not breaker, so no the same breaker (for outside) is not feeding the receptacle in the kitchen.
Also, I had meant that I had removed the receptacle from the box, not unplugged an appliance..

So the latest thing I did today was put back in the first/original receptacle into the wall with the 2nd receptacle wires still separated and sticking out of the the wall. The breaker did flip on, so I'm now confident that the 2nd recpetacle is the one tripping the breaker.

When I attached the 2nd receptacle back into the wall and tried the breaker again, it immediately tripped again, so I know which outlet is the problem one, but not sure what the problem is..

I guess my next step will be to double check the jacketing and the plaster ring like suggested...

BigJimmy 06-26-2008 10:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by newby11 (Post 133897)
I guess my next step will be to double check the jacketing and the plaster ring like suggested...

No worries, we all seem to be whipped in this economy!

I must have misread myself, since I didn't realize that you pulled a second, down-stream recept as well. The fact that you "heard something" when the breaker tripped (a few posts back) is symptotic of arcing. You shouldn't have much trouble finding the cause of the short if it is bad enough to make audible noise. Is this NM cabling as opposed to free conductors/conduit? If so, check to make sure that the bare ground isn't somehow making contact with the hot screws on the receptable, esp. if you stripped back a lot of jacket. If the breaker protecting the circuit was a GFCI, I doubt that you'd hear anything because it would trip likely before an arc could be established (which would cause the sound).

Hope you find your elusive ground,
Jimmy

newby11 06-30-2008 11:45 AM

Good news! I finally ended up figuring out the problem. I did end up finding a small hidden nick in the jacketing, so everythings good and working now.

Thanks again for all the help!

BigJimmy 06-30-2008 01:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by newby11 (Post 134792)
Good news! I finally ended up figuring out the problem. I did end up finding a small hidden nick in the jacketing, so everythings good and working now.

Thanks again for all the help!

Nice going!


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