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Thread: Lost Power Problem

  1. #1
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    Lost Power Problem

    I have been working on a problem for a very close friend for three days now that I can't solve.

    Bathroom lights and 1/2 of bedroom just went dead, no power. I have looked at all boxes in these two rooms and the surrounding rooms.

    I even went as far as to turn off all circuits one at a time to determine what they controlled. After confirming each room and all appliances were accounted for I had two breakers still on but there was nothing in the house energized that I could find.

    I'm at a loss to know how to solve this issue. I'm afraid to backfeed a circuit without knowing what is wrong.

    I would be grateful for some advice about this issue.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1793 View Post
    I would be grateful for some advice about this issue.
    i would start with my favorite standby method of plugging an extension cord into a known-properly-wired receptacle, and using my solenoid tester to check for each circuit conductor to read what it should relative to each slot of the cord.
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryFine View Post
    i would start with my favorite standby method of plugging an extension cord into a known-properly-wired receptacle, and using my solenoid tester to check for each circuit conductor to read what it should relative to each slot of the cord.
    One of the best troubleshooting methods there is.
    If you go and decide to dance with a gorilla the dance ain't over till the gorilla decides it's over.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1793 View Post
    I have been working on a problem for a very close friend for three days now that I can't solve.

    Bathroom lights and 1/2 of bedroom just went dead, no power. I have looked at all boxes in these two rooms and the surrounding rooms.

    I even went as far as to turn off all circuits one at a time to determine what they controlled. After confirming each room and all appliances were accounted for I had two breakers still on but there was nothing in the house energized that I could find.

    I'm at a loss to know how to solve this issue. I'm afraid to backfeed a circuit without knowing what is wrong.

    I would be grateful for some advice about this issue.
    Bad breakers? Can you test their output voltage?
    Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1793 View Post
    I have been working on a problem for a very close friend for three days now that I can't solve.

    Bathroom lights and 1/2 of bedroom just went dead, no power. I have looked at all boxes in these two rooms and the surrounding rooms.

    I even went as far as to turn off all circuits one at a time to determine what they controlled. After confirming each room and all appliances were accounted for I had two breakers still on but there was nothing in the house energized that I could find.

    I'm at a loss to know how to solve this issue. I'm afraid to backfeed a circuit without knowing what is wrong.

    I would be grateful for some advice about this issue.
    Have you pulled the dead front yet? If not, I would do that and check for loose / burnt wires or a bad breaker/buss stab.

    Does the GFCI receptacle in the bathroom work? Does even have a GFCI receptacle in the bathroom? When was the house built approximately?

    Edited to add... Pulling the dead front will also show which way the majority of the wiring is running either to the attic or to the crawl space... There may be a bad splice in a junction box in either place
    Last edited by JFletcher; 06-14-18 at 06:57 AM.
    Electricians do it until it Hertz!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1793 View Post
    I have been working on a problem for a very close friend for three days now that I can't solve.

    Bathroom lights and 1/2 of bedroom just went dead, no power. I have looked at all boxes in these two rooms and the surrounding rooms.

    I even went as far as to turn off all circuits one at a time to determine what they controlled. After confirming each room and all appliances were accounted for I had two breakers still on but there was nothing in the house energized that I could find.

    I'm at a loss to know how to solve this issue. I'm afraid to backfeed a circuit without knowing what is wrong.

    I would be grateful for some advice about this issue.
    Do you have continuity between the neutral and the ground at those dead outlets. The first things I check are voltage from the hot to neutral and hot to ground and then continuity between neutral and ground. If you have a good reading on any of the above then it likely indicates a loose or open connection. From there you should be able to use a circuit tracer to find the wires even inside the wall. I can expound on this more if needed.


    I know what I don't know, and I know where to go to find it!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strathead View Post
    From there you should be able to use a circuit tracer to find the wires even inside the wall. I can expound on this more if needed.
    I have had several problems that I would never have found without a circuit tracer. Some circuits just don't run the way you would expect them to.
    The 95% of people that you can't trust give the other 5% a bad name.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by growler View Post
    I have had several problems that I would never have found without a circuit tracer. Some circuits just don't run the way you would expect them to.
    And if you think a little and you are creative you can do a lot of things. Even back before they had them for dead circuits, I used to use the old Greenlee yellow one and my 12 volt battery from a drill as a power source. If you use a neutral wire and ground the other side to a ground point in a different location, you can detect the wires under slab, etc.


    I know what I don't know, and I know where to go to find it!

  9. #9
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    First off, thank you to the Moderators for moving my original post to a new thread. It was not my intent to hijack the discussion about how to $$ for unsolved issues.

    I'm going to be out of touch for the next week so thanks to all who have weighed in and I'll pick this back up when I return.
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