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Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 2954
Experience:  30 years as a Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, 6 year college Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma in Digital Electronics, Former Illinois Licensed Home Inspector
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I plugged in my computer and when I turned on the power supply

Customer Question

I plugged in my computer and when I turned on the power supply it caused the power to go out in two of my rooms upstairs. I reset the breakers and my GCFI outlets. The power is still out in the two bedrooms. After resetting the breakers I plugged my phone into the various outlets in the rooms and it would then connect/disconnects repeatedly. Please help.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 8 months ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. 1) Most likely, you have a loose wire termination or a faulty splice at one of the receptacles or possibly at other boxes on the circuit. 2) Do you have a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester or an AC volt meter to take a few voltage measurements at the dead receptacles in order to confirm if the proble is a open neutral or an open hot conductor? 3) At the computer receptacle, are the wires terminated under the side screws or back-stabbed into the receptacle inserts or both?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Unfortunately I do not Kevin. Is there anything else I can do?
Expert:  Kevin replied 8 months ago.
Thanks for the replies. 1) In troubleshooting problems such as this, an AC voltmeter or a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester (a contact type are must have instruments to identify the problem) is a must have testing instrument. Perhaps you can borrow a meter from a neighbor or a friend? If not, AC voltmeters can be purchased at any local Home Depot or Lowe's or Ace Hardware for around $25.00 or less. The voltmeter can easily confirm if the problem is an open hot or open neutral. Gotta know which wire is causing the problem so you know what to look for:) 2) In the interim, I suggest trying the Wiggle Procedure as shown below. Keep in mind that sometimes the Wiggle Procedure works and at other times it may not work, but still worth a shot at trying. 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. You may also use something like a vacuum cleaner or blow dryer, for an audible alert. Don’t use anything electronic, like a radio. 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 or listen for the other alerts as you wiggle the devices. If the loose or bad connection is present the wiggle action may make it contact briefly and the lamp or the other things will alert you . 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.
Expert:  Kevin replied 8 months ago.
1) If the Wiggle Procedure doesn't work and when you obtain a meter, take the 3 following voltage measurements at a few dead receptacles and let me knwo the results and we can take it from there............Thanks...........Kevin:)
Expert:  Kevin replied 8 months ago.
If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you. Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off. Thanks...............Kevin:)
Expert:  Kevin replied 8 months ago.
If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you. Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off. Thanks...............Kevin:)
Expert:  Kevin replied 8 months ago.
If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you. Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off. Thanks..............Kevin:)
Expert:  Kevin replied 8 months ago.
If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you. Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off. Thanks..............Kevin:)
Expert:  Kevin replied 7 months ago.
If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you. Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off. Thanks..............Kevin:)