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Old 03-05-2009, 09:26 AM   #31
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Turned off power. Changed outlet. No power to entire house.


Don't use a neon tester, it will confuse you by lighting up with phantom voltages. For 120v an incand. lamp in a socket with pigtail leads from your h/w store is better. A Wiggy, or a meter with a "lo Z" option is also good.

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Old 03-05-2009, 10:22 AM   #32
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Turned off power. Changed outlet. No power to entire house.


Bocolo -- OOps, thanks for pointing out my mistake. I saw the following:
---------------

When we first bought this house a transformer in our neighborhood blew-up at the same exact time I plugged in a window air-conditioner. I pushed in the plug... heard a huge explosion... and the power went out.

I was convinced for several minutes that I blown something up in my house. Then I noticed my neighbors' lights were off too... maybe I caused the whole D$%N thing!
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and just assumed it referred to OP situation. I see now it doesn't. So I take back what i said, I'll bet it's simply the main, though other problems may well crop up because if the main was ready to blow, a lot of the other breakers may also be nearing the end of their useful lives.

Overall, I'm amazed at what a large proportion of the electrical problens I troubleshoot these days turn out to be double, triple, and even quadruple problems. I swear it didn't used to be this bad.

Keep up the good work. YI enjoy your posts , They strike me as a good mix of being helpful but also being strict about the need for posters to do their homework. Ie you come across to me as wanting to be helpful while at the same time very aware and respectful of how much you have yet to learn (as do all of us).

Best wishes, Phil
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Old 03-05-2009, 12:07 PM   #33
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Turned off power. Changed outlet. No power to entire house.


Thanks for your comments. Trust me when I tell you that I have lots to learn. I am going to get fired if I keep reading this forum while I am at work. Can't wait to hear the test results from the OP and what the solution is. Thanks again.
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Old 03-05-2009, 01:46 PM   #34
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Turned off power. Changed outlet. No power to entire house.


Do they still make those rubber sockets with wires? That would be great for a test jig if you simply splice in the longer test leads.

How old is this panel? If it's fairly recent, then I would expect a main disconnect inside, but if not, anything goes. Of course if it is a sub, then there may not be a main disconnect in either case.

I'm betting on this being a sub, the 60A double breaker feeding the AC outside, and the main panel being located somewhere else.
There is then a large double pole breaker (probably 100A or more) in that panel which feeds this one.

If that breaker in the main panel is tripped, then you have a serious problem in the sub panel, unless the breaker feeding the sub is smaller than 60A, and there is a problem in the AC, since it did not trip the 60A breaker.

The fact that you have any movement at all on your meter, and your neighbours have power indicates that you have power to your house.

I suspect that once you open your panel, you will know a lot more.
You will be able to determine whether the 60A breaker is truly your main or not.
If you have no other feed, then the 60A is the main, back-fed from another panel, or the SE.
If that is the case, the 60A breaker is probably bad.

Definitely go for the incandescent lamp test rather than neon.

FW
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Old 03-05-2009, 09:57 PM   #35
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Turned off power. Changed outlet. No power to entire house.


Update: I thought I would wait out the electrician showing up. The wait lasted well into the afternoon with no return phone call. Everything had been off over the night and throughout the morning. I turned on all of the breakers and approximately 1/2 of the house has power. I went around with a plug in radio to see that there seemed to be partial power (some outlets and lights worked while others didn't) within any given room. Without seeing the updates to the forum, I went out and bought a neon tester. The neon tester had different sensitivity settings and I was able to tell that I have at least one 15 amp breaker off and possibly two (possibly because the tester seemed to be picking up something from a nearby line). Both of these breakers can be moved with my pinky and do not feel like they have any spring to them.

The panel itself has some rust in it and the two black (thick) lines coming in definitely show power while the white line does not. From using the neon tester, the black and blue wires do show power. The house was built at or around 1976 and has a multitude of coloured wires that I've noticed when changing switches and receptacles. I didn't look to see what brand of breakers are in the box. That may come tomorrow if I don't hear back from the electrician and after I make darn well sure that everything is turned off, no power to anything... if I can get it to that point, I'll remove the bottom two breakers (each are 15A), take them over to Menards, Lowes, or Home Depot and do an exact replacement. None of the breakers were warm and there were no loose wires in the box. If I'm able, I'll take a picture of the box tomorrow. I followed the lines inside the house and out and this seems to be the one and only box.
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Old 03-06-2009, 05:11 AM   #36
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Turned off power. Changed outlet. No power to entire house.


Power mysteriously returned the same way it left? Anyone, can the bars where the breakers connect get rusty or "dirty" causing a bad connection? If the breakers are old enough can they loose their "grip" to the bars? Thanks for your time.
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Old 03-06-2009, 07:13 AM   #37
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Turned off power. Changed outlet. No power to entire house.


Bad breakers. About the "1/2 the house" I bet one leg is out. What brand breakers do you have?

Turn the power off again and check the bus for corrosion. It is likely you have a bad breaker that could catch fire if a load is applied.

BTW, do you have aluminum or copper clad conductors?
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Old 03-06-2009, 02:10 PM   #38
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Turned off power. Changed outlet. No power to entire house.


For me that symptom turned out to be a double breaker with the cylindrical link in between the handles
and one handle was not fully thrown,
but it was not obvious by looking at it.

I must have spent an hour trying to figure out how the panel was wired by making measurements (because you can't tell by looking and the breakers themselves cover the busbars, links, insulators, etc. which would give you clues as to how it's wired and what supplies what).
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Old 03-06-2009, 03:32 PM   #39
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Turned off power. Changed outlet. No power to entire house.


A small building at work had similar problems, no obvious problem, just no power to some breakers, turned out, one leg was out, found by calling power company out.
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Old 03-06-2009, 05:09 PM   #40
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Turned off power. Changed outlet. No power to entire house.


ive seen that 1 leg off beforecheck where the service comes into the house i believe you should be able to see the connections

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