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Old 09-24-2012, 09:27 PM   #1
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Troubleshooting All Outlets on a Circuit


A contractor friend of mine was short on work so he helped me with building a new laundry room. He had gotten so far as to run wire into each of the outlet boxes in the new room when work picked back up and he had to focus on a couple major contracts. I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to start learning electrical work and I made sure the breaker was off and then wired up all of the outlets (mostly standard, with one GFCI). To my dismay after flipping the breaker back on i found that none of them worked.

I know which outlet is at the end of the run (the GFCI) based on the number of wires in that box, but otherwise i have no idea which is the first box, or which of the two wires coming into it lead back to the electric box.

In addition to looking in the electric panel I spoke with the guy who was helping me and from all accounts all the work in the panel is done. I just have no idea where to start troubleshooting. I just bought a multimeter to help with the project, now i just need a clue.

Any thoughts on where and how to get started are greatly appreciated! I'd really like to be able to finish off the electrical work myself since I have to start learning sometime (well, except for the 240 dryer circuit, which i will most likely get some help with).

Thank you!
-Tom

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Old 09-24-2012, 09:50 PM   #2
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Troubleshooting All Outlets on a Circuit


When I added a circuit to my garage, one GFCI receptacle from the panel and five additional receptacles from that, I initially mixed up the line and load on the GFCI. Closed the breaker and nothing worked. I switched the wires after confirming my mistake with a meter and everything worked.

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Old 09-24-2012, 09:58 PM   #3
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Troubleshooting All Outlets on a Circuit


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Originally Posted by tsuttonva View Post
I know which outlet is at the end of the run (the GFCI) based on the number of wires in that box, but otherwise i have no idea which is the first box, or which of the two wires coming into it lead back to the electric box.
The GFCI has a LOAD side, and a LINE side. As the terms suggest, the LOAD side is the one getting power (via a Black Hot and White Neutral), and the LINE side continues it to other receptacles down the circuit. How many wires, what are their colors, and to which side are they terminated?
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:11 PM   #4
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Troubleshooting All Outlets on a Circuit


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Originally Posted by sirsparksalot View Post
The GFCI has a LOAD side, and a LINE side. As the terms suggest, the LOAD side is the one getting power (via a Black Hot and White Neutral), and the LINE side continues it to other receptacles down the circuit. How many wires, what are their colors, and to which side are they terminated?
Well, that statement is backwards.
The line is what comes from the panel.
The load is what is fed after the GFCI, best way to remember is the load is whats carried by the GFCI
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:43 AM   #5
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Troubleshooting All Outlets on a Circuit


There are 6 outlets in total. 5 of them have 6 wires coming into the box (two white, two black, and two neutral). The neutral wires in each of the five boxes are pigtailed together. The GFCI outlet has only three wires (1 white, 1 black, 1 neutral). Therefore the GFCI outlet must be the last one in the run. WHat I don't know is which of the other 5 are first in line, and therefore where I should start testing. I can make an educated guess that it's one of two outlets closest to the circuit breaker, but what I don't know is how (specifically) to use my multimeter to start testing the wires to see if I can figure out which is first in line and where I may have messed up the wiring. I assume that I need the breaker ON and that I want to test the black and white wires to see which ones give me a reading (if none do, then I believe i really have a problem as it would seem none are wired back to the breaker box). When I find the black/white combination that give me a reading, I know i've found the first box and need to get that one working, then i can test my way around the room one by one. Does this sound about right?

Again, thank you all for the advice!!
-Tom

Last edited by tsuttonva; 09-25-2012 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:56 AM   #6
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Troubleshooting All Outlets on a Circuit


I'm a rookie at all this but I would guess the box furthest from the GFCI (last on the run) would be the likely candidate to be first in the line.
Also, did you put the white wires under the silver screws and the black under the gold? I 'think' that is how they are supposed to go ...else I just wired up some the wrong way last night. I have not put power to mine yet as I have more to wire.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:01 AM   #7
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Troubleshooting All Outlets on a Circuit


Is the gfci tripped. They come that way from factory and need to be reset once they have power. This could cause everything load side of the gfci not to work.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:08 AM   #8
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Troubleshooting All Outlets on a Circuit


The GFCI is not tripped, and there is nothing load side of the GFCI, it is the last outlet in the run. Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:28 AM   #9
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Troubleshooting All Outlets on a Circuit


All the black wires connect together, then connect to the brass screw.
All the white wires connect together, then to the silver screw, all the bare wires together, then to the green screw.
At the gfci, black to the bras screw on the line side, white to the silver screw on the line side, and gren to green screw.
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:32 AM   #10
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Troubleshooting All Outlets on a Circuit


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Originally Posted by Gac66610 View Post
Well, that statement is backwards.
The line is what comes from the panel.
The load is what is fed after the GFCI, best way to remember is the load is whats carried by the GFCI
LOL, apparently, I wasn't drunk enuff when I wrote that, as I'm now rather blitzed, and see it clearly!
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:37 AM   #11
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Troubleshooting All Outlets on a Circuit


Use a non contact tester,
And test for power on all wires at all outlets,
Note color, and post the results.


If the gfci is on the last outlet in the line,
then it would not effect all the others,
Something is fundimentally wrong.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:16 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
All the black wires connect together, then connect to the brass screw.
All the white wires connect together, then to the silver screw, all the bare wires together, then to the green screw.
At the gfci, black to the bras screw on the line side, white to the silver screw on the line side, and gren to green screw.
If the GFCI is at the end, then what jbfan states above is correct,and it doesn't matter which box is first. You do need to check the breaker to make sure the black wire is connected.

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