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Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 7340
Experience:  Proven Professional 48 years Experience
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One room has no electricity. The breaker did not look blown,

Resolved Question:

One room has no electricity. The breaker did not look blown, but I re-set and still have no electric. How do I tell if a breaker needs replaced? Is it hard to replace?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Mike G. replied 5 years ago.
Hi, I'm Mike and I'll be glad to assist you. It may not be the breaker that caused the loss of power. To find out what exactly is happening, you'll need a 2 wire voltage tester. Do you have one?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes, but not sure how to set gauge
Expert:  Mike G. replied 5 years ago.
OK, Put the probes into the holes marked Common and VAC. Set the tester to a 250-300VAC setting. Go to a know working outlet and put the probes into the hot and neutral slots to see that the tester is working. Now follow the steps below.

You need to test at a dead receptacle for voltage as follows

  • hot to neutral
  • hot to ground
  • neutral to ground - if no voltage test for continuity neutral to ground only.
Let me know what the readings are.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

On good receptacle, reading is 120

On receptacle that is not working I get 0 for all readings including neutral to ground

Expert:  Mike G. replied 5 years ago.
OK, now set the tester to OHMS setting any one will do. Touch the probes together and see the eading for continuity. now test the neutral to ground for continuity.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
all 0
Expert:  Mike G. replied 5 years ago.
Did the needle swing or not?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
no, not when two ends put together or neutral to ground. It just sat on 0
Expert:  Mike G. replied 5 years ago.
Is there anothe hole in the tester marke with a Greek symbol (upside down "U") . The probes should be in that hole and the common. There are hundreds of testers and without seeing what you have I need to make a call on what you tell me. If this is an anolog tester with a needle there is a Zero on both ends of the scale one is for voltage the other for resistance. All you need to see is fi the needle swings.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I had to put a battery in the meter to get the Ohms working. WHen the ends touched needle jumped. Also, when I put ends in recptacle needle jumped.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 5 years ago.
Very good. We have an open hot. You said that you didn't see a tripped breaker. They sometimes to move to the trip position but are loose to the touch. Go back to the panel and touch the handles to see if one is loose. If so, reset that breaker by turning off fully and then back on. Let me know what you find.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 5 years ago.
What did you find ? If the circuit is still off open the panel and check each breaker for voltge to the neutral bar. If they all show voltage the follow the procedure below.

Wiggle Procedure

You have a circuit with dead outlets and maybe some dead lights on it or you're experiencing flickering on a circuit. You will need a 2 wire voltage tester to check the outlet. A Multimeter or a Volt/Con are suggested. I prefer the Volt/Con because there are no settings to make, it does continuity and is audible. Success begins with knowing what you're looking for.

1] No voltage reading between the hot and the neutral or ground indicates an open hot.

2] No reading between the hot and the neutral but 120V between the hot and ground and 120V between the neutral and ground indicates an open neutral.

3] No continuity between the neutral and ground - Check for tripped GFCI device first

4] If all the branch circuit breaker are on you have a bad connection on the hot or neutral wires. The usual cause is a bad connection, either a termination on a device or connection in a wire nut.

Over the years I've found the easiest way to locate the opening needing examination and correction is to wiggle the devices.

5] The first step in this exercise is to get a lamp to act as an alert. Make sure the lamp works and in the on position.

6] Plug it into a dead outlet.

7] Now with a cube tester or any plug you will need to go to all the dead outlets and any live outlets in the area, insert the plug and wiggle the device side to side slightly. Watch the test lamp as you wiggle the devices.

If the loose or bad connection is present the wiggle action may make it contact briefly and the lamp will alert you by lighting. Having found the suspected outlet all that is left is to correct the bad connection.

If the device is a push back wired device, this probably is the cause of the circuit failure. All wires must be terminated under the screws. Also you should never put more than one wire under a screw.

This troubleshooting procedure works in most cases and won't have you open boxes un-necessarily. Keep in mind that the problem is in one of two places in the circuit, either in the first dead outlet or the live outlet just ahead of it.

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