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  #1   IP: 64.123.71.143
Old December 28th, 2006, 07:48 AM
DaleEMoore DaleEMoore is offline
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Default Outlet dead breaker not thrown?

Hi All,

Please pardon my newness at this, I expect I will be describing some things wrong.

Christmas Eve my wife was not delighted to find out that the microwave was not working and I was all ready to head out and purchase a new one only to discover it was not the microwave, it was the outlet. The stove fan was also not working so I checked the breakers. No breakers were thrown.

There had been some electrical smells in the kitchen that I could not diagnose for the 2-3 days before hand so I'm fearful of some major fire-potential in-wall electrical problems in process.

Other power problems that might be oddly related, or perhaps unrelated, are that 6 weeks previously the counter-top toaster-oven oven portion stopped working (I don't see how this relates.) 2 weeks previously an even older microwave died when plugged into the now-dead outlet.

I've moved the microwave so Christmas Eve and Day can continue without much hiccuping and the outlet it's now plugged into has a device that turns one outlet into 6 with it's own breaker. That breaker blows whenever the microwave is run for more than 5 minutes.

And the oddest problem of all, the toaster-oven turned itself on. (I'm guessing it's not related, but am checking with local religious leaders to remove the bad spirits.)

Your thoughts about any or all of these issues are much appreciated,
Dale E. Moore
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  #2   IP: 69.254.246.210
Old December 28th, 2006, 08:30 AM
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Roger Roger is offline
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Good morning Dale

You have a bad connection somewhere or a Gfci has tripped. If your home is older then it may not have gfci in the kitchen. But check your gfci's if present and reset them if tripped. By stove fan I am assuming you mean the range hood over the range/stove. These are generally hard wired and not a receptacle cord and plug but could very well be on the same circuit with a counter top outlet.

Do you have any testers that check for voltage?

One quick thing is to turn off the breaker that controls the problem circuit and pull the face cover off the switches and receptacles. Take a flash light and have a look inside these electrical boxes on the problem circuit. Since you mentioned some electrical smells you may be able to see signs of burning or arcing. this may shorten the time to find the problem.

Next thing if you dont see something obvious is to determine if the outage is due to a hot wire or a neutral wire. You will need to test voltages. One very handy tester is a receptacle tester. It looks like this....



and one of these......




Also let us know if you see any red wires in the boxes, this can be an indication you are dealing with a multi-wire circuit and a few precautions will be necessary.

In a nutshell we are looking for a bad connection the most common cause is a back-stab connection. This is where a wire is inserted into the hole in the back of a receptacle. If you have this type of connection change it to the screw terminals. You will need to do this with the power off and if you are not certain what breaker controls those dead outlets then turn all the breakers off including double poles. Get someone to help, two heads are better than one. Do not turn any breakers back on till all connections have been checked and remade.Then look at all wire nuts and tug slightly on the wires to make sure they are secured in the wirenut....power off of course.

Let us know about whether you have these testers so we can determine failed hot or neutral wire.

Roger
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  #3   IP: 24.36.91.63
Old December 28th, 2006, 04:57 PM
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joed joed is offline
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I believe you have a loose connection some where. The burning smell is the source of your problem. You are going to find a burnt up wire nut or loose connection in one of the circuit boxes. It could be in a working device on the affected circuit. Look in all the devices on the circuit. If you know how the circuit is wired the problem is in the last working box or the first not working box.
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  #4   IP: 70.54.0.131
Old December 29th, 2006, 11:11 AM
Mr Fixit eh's Avatar
Mr Fixit eh Mr Fixit eh is offline
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Quote:
The stove fan was also not working so I checked the breakers. No breakers were thrown.
To make sure, turn every breaker firmly to the "off" position, then turn each breaker back to the "on" position...sometimes a breaker will have tripped, but it does not visually appear to have tripped.

Quote:
Other power problems that might be oddly related, or perhaps unrelated, are that 6 weeks previously the counter-top toaster-oven oven portion stopped working (I don't see how this relates.) 2 weeks previously an even older microwave died when plugged into the now-dead outlet.
Did you test these other appliances on another circuit? Do they spring "back to life", or are they truly dead? If these other appliances work Ok on another circuit, then you have a loose connection of some kind. On the other hand, if these other appliances have truly "died" and do not work, then I am concerned there may be an over-voltage problem. Do you see a red wire in the "dead" receptacle box (turn off the fuse first, let everyone else in the house know not to turn the breaker back on while you're working, and TEST to make sure the wires are de-energized before you start poking around)?

Quote:
I've moved the microwave so Christmas Eve and Day can continue without much hiccuping and the outlet it's now plugged into has a device that turns one outlet into 6 with it's own breaker. That breaker blows whenever the microwave is run for more than 5 minutes.
I would imagine that there are plenty of other lights and/or outlets on this circuit. You should check to see what else is on this circuit. The microwave is a high-current-draw appliance and will not tolerate much other load before it will indeed trip a breaker.

Post back once you've had a look-see and we'll give you more help. If you are not comfortable, do call an electrician.
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