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Old 11-19-2009, 04:42 PM   #1
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Testing Electrical Outlets


Greetings,

I hate to have my first post be a stupid question, but before I waste more time that I have already, I figured I should ask some folks. I've searched pretty extensively on the interwebs and haven't found an answer, so I apologize in advance if this has been asked before.

The Problem: TV wouldn't turn on. low and behold, two rooms worth of outlets aren't working?

-checked the breaker, nothing tripped (reset them anyway)

-checked voltage leaving all of the breakers, all@ 120V

-pulled all of the outlets, nothing disconnected

So the only possibility I can think of is that an actual outlet is bad. I have 10 outlets on the circuit, 3 are working. I can't remember how they're wired, but logic would tell me which one is next in the series, though I'm not sure. I guess I'll replace that one first and continue to move along.

Is there any way with a multimeter than I can just bench-test the actual outlet to see if it's broken, or do I just have to replace and do process of elimination?

Also, am I missing anything here? Did I miss something else that could be the cause? Thanks a bunch!

JW

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Old 11-19-2009, 04:56 PM   #2
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Testing Electrical Outlets


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Originally Posted by Jack Watts View Post
-checked the breaker, nothing tripped (reset them anyway)

-checked voltage leaving all of the breakers, all@ 120V

-pulled all of the outlets, nothing disconnected

So the only possibility I can think of is that an actual outlet is bad.

Is there any way with a multimeter than I can just bench-test the actual outlet to see if it's broken, or do I just have to replace and do process of elimination?
If there is 120v at the outlet side screws but no outlet output voltage, the outlet must be bad.
Outlets don't usually fail this way.

I'd look for a bad wirenut connection.

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Old 11-19-2009, 05:06 PM   #3
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Testing Electrical Outlets


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Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
If there is 120v at the outlet side screws but no outlet output voltage, the outlet must be bad.
Outlets don't usually fail this way.

I'd look for a bad wirenut connection.
BAM...that did it. Thanks!!

It was, in fact, a bad outlet?? It was the first one in the chain. Touched the side screws: 120V, touched inside the outlet, zero... Changed outlet, they're all working.

The wiring (and outlets) is all new as of about 5 yrs. ago. I have never plugged a single thing into this outlet. That is really too weird. I'm not very experienced with electrical stuff, but I have never even heard of this happening, let alone seen it before.

I guess it's possible it was a loose connection under a wire cap that got jostled back into place while pulling the outlet, but I tugged on the cap and it was tight?

Oh well, thanks for the help! I've been lurking for quite a while and love the forum, so thanks to you and to all of its participants.
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Old 11-19-2009, 05:20 PM   #4
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Testing Electrical Outlets


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touched inside the outlet, zero...
I plug something into the socket, pull out the plug slightly and measure the voltage on the plug blades. With tester prods I've gotten zero volts on outlets that I know were working. It's almost not possible, but it happens anyway.

It's also possible that if you put the old outlet back in, everything will work. Elec. is weird that way.

All's well that ends well.
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Old 11-19-2009, 06:39 PM   #5
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Testing Electrical Outlets


If the wires are in the stab connection instead of being on the screws that could be the problem.
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