Solve This Service Call

Merry Christmas
Status
Not open for further replies.

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
You failed to mention if the breaker was actually tripped or just off. No one said anything about solving it over the phone, you were there, we were not. Still not enough info.


What ... you expectus to solve the issue over the internet? :)


I guess I still need to explain the intent here.

If I give you ALL the information I have now.... after the ENTIRE PROCESS is complete..., it wouldn't be much of an exercise, now would it? Think of it as a murder mystery. They never start out with, "It was a dark and stormy night as Lord Gilbert kills Lady Penelope, his secret lover....."

I gave you all the information I started with. That a breaker trips and 'throws sparks' when turned on. The breaker marked "Waiting Room" is turned off. And the waiting room receptacles don't work.

The idea here is to teach the concepts necessary for learning to troubleshoot, not provide a detailed list of 1.____ 2.____ 3.____.

Have you ever looked in the back of an instruction manual where it lists possible issues, then gives several potential causes? IE, if your car turns over but won't fire, it could be the fuel pump, it could be the computer, it could be the timing belt, it could be a clogged fuel filter.....
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
So, I guess the intent of the OP was "What would you do?" not "What did I do?"

I stand by my prior post. Sparks from the breaker indicates a direct short circuit.

Presume the circuit used to work; you must find what changed and restore it.
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
OK, here's what I did when I arrived: After talking to the receptionist (who couldn't work in the waiting room because nothing worked.... I guess that's important to know. She was wearing a black dress with pink and purple flowers if that matters), she showed me were the panel was. I saw the breaker was off, so I went back upstairs with a 3-light receptacle tester to see if all the outlets were off.

1-5 were off, but 6 was on. So recep #6 is NOT on the circuit with an issue. There was also an Exit/Egress light over recep #1, but the LED on it was lit so it wasn't part of the circuit either.
 

Little Bill

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee NEC:2017
Occupation
Electrician
OK, here's what I did when I arrived: After talking to the receptionist (who couldn't work in the waiting room because nothing worked.... I guess that's important to know. She was wearing a black dress with pink and purple flowers if that matters), she showed me were the panel was. I saw the breaker was off, so I went back upstairs with a 3-light receptacle tester to see if all the outlets were off.

1-5 were off, but 6 was on. So recep #6 is NOT on the circuit with an issue. There was also an Exit/Egress light over recep #1, but the LED on it was lit so it wasn't part of the circuit either.
How hard would that have been to include that in your OP? I/we didn't expect you to tell us everything, just something to start with. Before you come back and say "you expect me to solve this over the phone, or I can't tell you everything I did" I will again point out, you were there and we were not. If you would just tell us things like you just mentioned here, we could tell you where we might start looking.
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
How hard would that have been to include that in your OP? I/we didn't expect you to tell us everything, just something to start with. Before you come back and say "you expect me to solve this over the phone, or I can't tell you everything I did" I will again point out, you were there and we were not. If you would just tell us things like you just mentioned here, we could tell you where we might start looking.

I guess you... just... don't....... get...... it. I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. Please go back and read post 21. Again and again if need be.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
I suspect he did something clever that he wants us to guess at so we can all cheer him on. There's just not enough information to work with here and it's hard to care all that much about a problem that's formulated this way.

I went on a service call Wednesday. It was to try and figure out why an open collector circuit was not working. Turned out the pull up resistor was open. Don't see that very often. Brand new resistor. Brand new machine. Who would have expected that?
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
READ POST 21.

READ POST 21.

READ POST 21.

READ POST 21.

READ POST 21.

READ POST 21.

READ POST 21.

READ POST 21.

READ POST 21.

READ POST 21.

READ POST 21.
 

retirede

Senior Member
Location
Illinois
If I were on site, I’d have no problem troubleshooting the issue, starting with the information given. But expecting somebody to go from the the limited set of initial information given, directly to the solution without being able to follow basic intermediate steps is not reasonable.

This is nothing more than basic internet trolling.
 

wwhitney

Senior Member
Location
Berkeley, CA
Occupation
Retired
But expecting somebody to go from the the limited set of initial information given, directly to the solution without being able to follow basic intermediate steps is not reasonable.
I don't see any expectation from the OP that anyone would immediately jump to the correct answer. More of a "what would you check first?" along with maybe "given the data so far, what failure modes come to mind and which do you consider most likely?" Obviously the latter might inform the answer the answer to the former.

Although that was all implicit, so perhaps more explicit directions in the OP would have helped.

Cheers, Wayne
 

MD Automation

Senior Member
Location
Maryland
Occupation
Engineer
Fwiw – I appreciated the intent of this post. Yes, of course, the first details were on the thin side, but those few details reflect exactly what 480 initially saw when walking into this murder mystery troubleshooting call. So the “game” is to start asking questions and see if your first inclinations about what to eyeball might have panned out and how close they came to his first efforts at troubleshooting this. Just a fun exercise and, in the end, always some good facts to put onto your “been there, saw that” list. Complaining about the game seems silly and grumpy to me, have fun and play along. Or simply pull up a chair on the sidelines and watch, and keep the heckling to a dull roar :giggle:

Having said all that, it’s also pretty clear exactly what the problem was. Looking at the obvious facts (circuit breaker throwing sparks and 5 of 6 dead outlets), the young disaffected stare of the gum chewing receptionist with the black dress with pink and purple flowers, the nervous sweaty palms of Lord Gilbert and the dead body of Lady Penelope (with her still smoking Bride of Frankenstein hair) I think it’s obvious that, in a fit of jealousy, Lady Penelope confronted both the receptionist and the cad Lord Gilbert about their secret affair. In a moment of panic, Gilbert backstabbed Penelope with the second outlet in that circuit’s daisy chain – and murdered her dead! You all know how dangerous backstabbed outlets are, and that sparky smoking gun circuit breaker is all the proof Columbo would need to send Lord Gilbert to the “Big House”. What really broke the case is when Lord Gilbert replaced the (now miswired and shorted) second murder outlet weapon, he replaced it “upside down” in a panic, with the ground pin facing up :eek::eek: All the other outlets in the waiting room were ground pin down – naturally the only way to install such an outlet, because they make cute faces with 2 eyes and a mouth ;)

Moral of this troubleshooting story – Lady Penelope would be alive today – and collecting fat alimony checks - if these were pigtailed outlets.
 

ActionDave

Chief Moderator
Staff member
Location
Durango, CO, 10 h 20 min without traffic from wing
Occupation
Licensed Electrician
I agree with these two posts.

One of the 1st questions should be New Problem or old?
What was changed lately and by who?
Check for power at all devices.
Check for power at load side of breaker that throws sparks before turning it On.
So, I guess the intent of the OP was "What would you do?" not "What did I do?"

I stand by my prior post. Sparks from the breaker indicates a direct short circuit.

Presume the circuit used to work; you must find what changed and restore it.
I guess now we'll never find out what happened next.
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
I guess no one understands the concept of teaching.

I'm done here. Have fun.
Please don't quit, I get your direction just didn't want to just chime in. So my experience is the customer never tells the whole story, so was the breaker that was "off" in tripped position or intentionally turned off? Was anything that was plugged in those receptacles that had been removed? I'd be asking customer that.

Kind of 50 questions.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top