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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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We live in a mobile home and are having electrical issues in

Customer Question

We live in a mobile home and are having electrical issues in certain rooms. Ive checked the breaker, its not tripped. Also had the power company come out and he said it wasn't the lines, that its in the house. Some rooms have power that comes and goes, some have zero power and some rooms are unaffected.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) Based upon your description of the problem, sounds like you have a loose wire termination or a faulty splice somewhere.

2) Do you have either a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester (a contact type) or better yet, an AC voltmeter to take a few voltage measurements at some wall receptacles.

3) Has there been any recent electrical work performed in the home such as replacing receptacles or switches or lighting, etc?

4) Are the rooms that are experiencing problems all on the same circuit or on different circuits?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1. ok
2. no, I don't think so
3. no
4. im not sure.
It originated in the far bedroom, middle bedroom and part of the living room.
That was several days ago. But, yesterday it progressed to also the kitchen and laundry room. It's like its starting to expand?? But these rooms aren't necessarily in all in a line, although I truly do not know about the circuit route.
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the replies.

1) I recommend that you 1st try the following Wiggle Procedure at each of the dead receptacles. If this does not work, you will need an AC voltmeter to troubleshoot and locate the problem or you will need to contact a licensed electrician to troubleshoot the problem.

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.

Keep in mind that the above Wiggle Procedure does not always work. But it warrants to 1st try this to locate a faulty wire connection possibly at a wall receptacle.

Reply back to me with the results and we can take it from there.........Thanks............Kevin:)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Um, ok. Last night my husband went through and unplugged everything except the fridge and dish washer (because it's hardwired) and the microwave and dryer. All 3 because we couldn't access the plugs (without a lot of work). So, is it feasilbe to hope that, if I stop and buy a volometer that he SHOULD (in theory) be able to track down the plug/outlet that is the source of the issue? Where the power dead ends?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, will I be able to get online or on the phone with someone tonight if need be and continue discussing as he works on it?
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the replies.

1) All depends upon how much patience he has and his electrical troubleshooting skills and comfort level. Many customers that have similar problems such as this often think it is an easy 5 minute fix and get quickly frustrated. Often that's not the case since locating/correcting the problem can take hours even for an experienced electrician:)

2) Whenever troubleshooting any electrical issue, An AC digital voltmeter is a must have testing instrument. Without the use of a voltmeter, it can become a time consuming guessing game as to the problem. You can purchase a decent AC digital voltmeter at either Home Depot or Lowe's for $25 or less.

3) I am logged on the website every day as well as nigh time and weekends. If you run into any problems, just give me a shout back here and I will be more than happy to assist you troubleshooting the problem via a telephone call.

4) If you can obtain a meter, the 1st step is to take a few random voltage measurements at the dead receptacles. This will give us an indication as to the cause of the problem. Refer to the diagram shown below for measuring voltage at a wall receptacle:

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Should he call specifically YOU or is there a 1-800 #, or.... ?? we only have internet on our phones. No PC. Is there a direct line or is it just whoever is available at that moment..?
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

All you need to do is reply back to me at this same question just like you have been doing. I will be notified and I will reply back to you. No need to create a new question, just come back to this same question.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Great! Thank you, Kevin! I appreciate your help.
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

No problem.

Once you obtain a voltmeter, have your husband take the voltage measurements as I referenced on the dead receptacles. I need to know the following measurements and then we can identify the problem and I can direct him what to look for.

At a few of the dead receptacles, have him measure the following:

A) Hot (short slot) to Neutral (long slot) should = approximately 120 volts

B) Hot (short slot) to Ground (round hole) should = approximately 120 volts

C) Neutral (long slot) to Ground (round hole) should = 0 volts or very close to 0 volts.

Once we know these measurements, we can then proceed to the next step..........Thanks and we'll talk to you later on..........Kevin:)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will do. Thanks again.
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Sounds like a plan..........Thanks...........Kevin:)