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Old 06-12-2019, 11:20 AM   #16
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Re: Older wiring dead outlet


You can add ground wires (green) by removing the base boards and cutting plaster at the bottom of the wall drill the stusd, then fish the wire up to the outlet. You can also upgrade to modern romex this way. Much easier that crawling around a low attic.
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:46 PM   #17
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Re: Older wiring dead outlet


Old wiring used two-prong non-grounded outlets. Someone before you either broke the old outlet and replaced it with a grounded outlet, or wanted to plug in a grounded device and didn't want to use one of those adapters with the little green pigtail.

As was mentioned, this implies that the outlet did work at one time. If you've got no voltage coming into it now, then the other end of the wire is probably disconnected. I think that was also mentioned already.

So you need to open up nearby outlets or switches, pull them from the box and check all connections. And it makes the most sense to start with the closest ones. If you see two cables coming into an outlet box, then one of them brings in power and one of them feeds power off to the next box. That is where your problem probably lies - in the connection to that cable going off to the next box. You might have to try more than one outlet or even light switch (no, it's not code now, but this is an old house.)

Pay attention to the earlier reference to back-stabbed wires. Some outlets have holes in the back that you just push the wires into, rather than connecting them under screws. Those suck because there's just a little piece of copper pressing against the wire. They can become loose and then you have an open circuit. But wires under screws can also become loose with time, so give them all a little snug with the screwdriver while you are in there.

There are usually two ways to wire an outlet box with more than one cable coming in. (well three if one of those cables comes from a switch, but that's less likely in a house with such old wiring.) One is to connect all of the black wires together with a pigtail to the hot side of the outlet, and all of the white wires together with a pigtail to common side of the outlet. Sometimes a wire can work loose inside of a wire nut but it will look fine from the outside. You need to tug on them to be sure they are still tight.

The other way is to connect all of the black wires to the hot side of the outlet and all of the white wires to the common side of the outlet. You can do this with either back-stabbed or screw terminal outlets. It is especially bad to do this with back-stabbed outlets.

Once you have power restored to the box you can figure out how to wire it legally. (GFCI, bring in a ground, revert to a two-prong outlet if you can find one.)
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:52 PM   #18
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Re: Older wiring dead outlet


What about connecting the meter ground to the neutral of a known live outlet and measure voltage at the black wire of the suspect outlet. If you see 120VAC doesn't this suggest that the neutral is open to the bad outlet?
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