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Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1425
Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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I have a single outlet that has gone out that has resulted

Customer Question

I have a single outlet that has gone out that has resulted in several other outlets on the same wall to go out as well. The other outlets are new. Only this one wasn't replaced when I had someone come do them. I tried just removing the outlet but none of the others work still. How can I fix this?
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) Most likely you have a loose wire termination or a faulty splice somewhere that is causing the downstream receptacles to not work.
2) Do you have a GFCI receptacle that may be protecting the downstream receptacles and the GFCI may have tripped? Or is the circuit breaker a GFCI type with a test button?
3) Do you have an AC voltmeter to take a few voltage measurements?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No, I have no voltmeter and there is no GFCI outlet somewhere else.
Expert:  Kevin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the replies.
1) I suggest obtaining an AC voltmeter as this will make the troubleshooting procedure much quicker, otherwise it becomes a guessing game as to where the open conductor is located.
2) In the interim, you can try the following Wiggle Procedure. Sometimes this works and other times it does not, 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
If the above Wiggle Procedure does not identify the problem receptacle, you'll need an AC voltmeter to locate and isolate the problem. Reply back to me and let me know if the Wiggle Procedure works or not.......Thanks......Kevin!