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Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 5410
Experience:  Proven Professional 45 years Experience
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plugs on the outside is not working

Customer Question

plugs on the outside is not working
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Mike G. replied 3 years ago.
Chat Conversation Started
Mike G. :

Hi, I'm Mike and I'll be glad to assist you. OK, could you give me a little more information? Are they GFCI? Do you have a 2 wire voltage tester? Did you check the breakers? Do you know what circuit they are on?

Mike G. :

In the basement or garage, do you have a GFCI receptacle? If yes, did you check it for a trip?

Mike G. :

Not having a response form you, I'll need to leave the Chat and switch to the Q&A format. We can continue via email.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 3 years ago.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Mike,

 

I have checked all GFCI outlets and none of them are tripped or red. The circuit breaker label indicates that the breaker also supplies electricity to the garage and door opener. The garage door opener works fine; however, none of the outlets in the garage and none of the outlets outside work. I checked this by plugging an electrical device into each outlet.

The only other thing that I noticed was a small blinking LED on the electrical meter; don't know if that is related or not.

In the circuit box there is also one breaker that is unlabelled. When that breaker is turned of nothing seems to be affected. Could this be a spare?

 

Expert:  Mike G. replied 3 years ago.
Could be a spare, leave it on. Do you have a 2 wire voltage tester?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No, I do not have a voltage tester. Are there any other options?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, let's try the following procedure. Get a lamp, make sure it works and is turned on. Plug it into a dead outlet for an alert. Take a plug from anything and go to all the outlets in the garage and wiggle them slightly side to side. Most times if there is a loose wire it will make contact and the lamp will light. That will be the outlet causing the problem. Let me know how you did.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 3 years ago.
Do all the outlets both dead and live.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Mike,

I tried the lamp test with every affected outlet and nothing happened. All of the outside lights work; it's just the outlets that are causing problems.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 3 years ago.
The problem is between the first dead outlet and what ever is just ahead of it, another outlet, light fixture or the panel. If the breakers haven't tripped, then a connection on device or a wire nut has opened. With out a tester I can't say which wire is open. With a tester, if it should be the hot I can isolate the circuit and give you a starting point.

Edited by Mike G. on 9/15/2010 at 11:53 PM EST
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Mike,

 

After shutting off the power, I removed the face of the electricity panel. I could see no loose wires.

You mentioned that the problem is between the first dead outlet and what ever is just ahead of it. How do I determine what is ahead of the first dead outlet? I removed the cover on the first outlet and the wires look fine.

There are two outlets next to the door leading into the garage and a light switch. The switch works fine; however the two outlets closest to the light switch do not work nor do any other outlets in the garage work except the ones that the automatic door openers are plugged into. The outlets that the garage door openers are plugged into were placed in the ceiling; the other outlets in the garage that do not work are on the wall.

Additionally, all other light switches and outlets in that particular room work just fine.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 3 years ago.
Without a tester I'm unable to tell which wire is open. You have a black and a white, if either becomes loose or disconnected the circuit goes dead. If the white is the wire open, finding the problem is easier, only because We can chase the problem from both ends. I find it hard to understand why there isn't a GFCI device on the circuit you're having a problem with, only because the outlets mentioned should have been on one. That brings up another point, a tester will also tell me if there is a GFCI on the circuit or not. To continue you will have to get a tester. They are available at any home center for around $20.00. I suggest that you get a "Volt/Con", only because it is easy, safe and audible. Pick one up and we can continue.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
OK, I will talk again after I've picked up a "Volt/con" tester.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 3 years ago.
Very good, It's an investment you won't regret.

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