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Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3665
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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Maybe... im doing a home improvement project and am suddenly

Customer Question

Maybe... im doing a home improvement project and am suddenly having major issues... I ran off an existing outlet that wasnt using its line screws across a concrete floor to middle of the room. It worked when first hooked up, but on unplugging the test item, the double in the middle of floor was not screwed down yet, and plug slid over, line screw hit metal box, and blew up. Minor. Only a tiny bit of black near that screw. Now, i have un done everything, but the original outlet will not work. I have tried 3 different outlets. And on the last one i realized i changed it with the power on by mistake, and i didnt get shocked. So line is dead. What happened?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago. name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. My goal is to exceed your expectations on Just Answer!

1) Have you reset the circuit breaker? I assume it tripped?

2) Do you have a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester or and AC voltmeter available to take some voltage measurements?

3) The circuit can't be dead if you received a shock? Possibly the circuit is configured as a shared neutral circuit?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have reset the circuit breaker every time i changed the outlet, and its not the circuit. The breaker that controls it, every other outlet is working, and all gfis have been checked, and rechecked.

I do not have voltmeter, but am probably going to be on my way to home depot to get one i guess...

I did NOT receive a shock when changing the outlet the last time by mistake with the breaker on... so im pretty sure the line running to the socket is dead, or something, even if no other outlets are

Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for the replies Mike.

1) You will need an AC voltmeter to troubleshoot the problem. Most likely, there is a loose wire termination or a faulty splice somewhere that is causing the problem.

Shown in the link below is a good meter sold at Depot for $22.00.

2) What part of the home has the problem on the receptacles? Kitchen Countertop receptacles or a different part?

3) Is the circuit breaker a full size single pole or a full size double pole breaker?

4) Were the original receptacles wired using the back-stab insert holes or screwed to the side terminal screws?

5) You mention every other receptacle works. On the receptacles that do work, is the circuit breaker located on top or below the circuit breaker that controls the dead receptacles?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The issues is in the garage. It was newly built after an electrical fire of all things before we bought the house. The garage is on its own breaker

Its on a single pole, titled "side walls" The breaker controls the outlets on both of the side walls.

All outlets are using the screws, as is everything i have done... i am aware of the flaws in the back stab

Im not sure what you mean by on top or below the outlets that work... The outlet that is dead is the closest outlet to the breaker, but like i said, it was on its own, no line screws in use. Also, the wire hasnt been spliced as far as i can see. I am not sure where its running from. The garage has a ton of outlets. One like every 6 ft. And on the ceiling for lights too. I was told the people who lived here before used to grow plants in here. I have turned it into a home theater, and while there is plenty of power, i dont like running an extension cord under rug to middle of the room for recliners, so I was trying to run a double outlet via a metal raceway coming from out of the bottom of the wall, with 12/2 romex snaked through wall up to the now dead outlet

Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Thanks again for the replies.

1) I am trying to determine if the circuit was configured as a shared neutral circuit. On the main electrical panel, you should have breakers located on the left and right-hand side as this is the most common. Breakers will be installed in a vertical position. I assume this is the type of panel that you have?

2) If you have a split phase panel with both left and right side breakers, locate the breaker that controls the dead receptacles and then locate the breaker that controls the working receptacles. Are these 2 breakers stacked on top of each other or are they located across from each other or maybe located both on the left or right side but not stacked on top of each other? This will indicate a clue if the circuits were shared neutral wired.

3) How many circuits for the garage? I assume more than (1) one circuit?

4) See picture shown below:

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So, the outlet that is dead is on the SAME circuit as all the working ones. Every time i turn that breaker off, half of the room goes dead, turn it back on and all work fine. Couple GFIs, and couple other regular outlets.

Just the one receptacle

The breaker has 4 singles on left side, and 3 on the right... trying to include picture. The breaker controlling it is the top left breaker

I cannot tell where this outlet is coming from. All i can see is the wire goes up from outlet. But if its spliced its at the other end.

Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for the pic's Mike.

Once you obtain a voltmeter, take the following measurements at the dead receptacle:

Hot to Neutral (should = approximately 120 volts)

Hot to Ground (should = approximately 120 volts)

Neutral to Ground (should = 0 volts or very close to it)

Reply back to me with the measurements and we can take it from there. I will be logged on the site throughout the weekend and I will reply back to you..........Thanks...........Kevin!

See picture shown below for measuring receptacle voltages: