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#164814 - 06/11/07 06:20 PM A few from DougW
Webmaster Offline


Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3142
Loc: NY, USA
Howdy folks. Just checking in with a few from a troubleshooting call I just went on.

Homeowner says he lost power to front half of house on 1st floor and basement, and the breaker won't reset. He bought the house a few months ago with the basement already finished.

Worked my way out from the panel after verifying there was nothing plugged in. While following the troublesome red 12 stranded, I found the following curiosities:

- DougW

- remodeling at its finest. Note the cautious approach to the live conductors passing through the knockout...

- Hmm - must've not used long enough screws. Remove cover and

- Nope.. screws holding the outlet in are tight. Just no screws holding the box to anything

- The two bx runs to the top are fine... they must have run out of fittings or time.

- Remodel put the plaster ring behind the drywall. What to do? I know... use 1/4-20 machine nuts as spacers! So what if the hit the terminals and ground out later when someone takes the outlet out...

- Hey... the wire's in there...

- I think we're getting closer to the source of our problem. The next box upstream the red had joined 2 other 12's feeding the dining room. In this box, if joins two other 12s feeding the living room, and a pair of 14's that go to points beyond.

- Houston, we found your problem...

Oh, and the breaker that wouldn't reset? It was a 30 amp. Closer examination revealed that the wire feeding that branch circuit wire had burned insulation for the 1st few inches. It had been covered by electrical tape by the homeonwer, who had seen the bare copper and decided that that probably wasn't good.

- DougW

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#164815 - 06/11/07 06:41 PM Re: A few from DougW [Re: Webmaster]
Hemingray Offline

Registered: 04/19/05
Posts: 195
Loc: Lehigh Acres, FL
Good lord! \:o

#164845 - 06/12/07 11:05 AM Re: A few from DougW [Re: Hemingray]
EV607797 Offline

Registered: 10/25/06
Posts: 756
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA, USA
You didn't tell us you were planning on visiting Mexico! That's the norm there, in fact it's a bit better than the norm.

By the way, I can't make out the last picture. Do I want to know what it is?

"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."

#164881 - 06/13/07 12:13 PM Re: A few from DougW [Re: EV607797]
mxslick Offline

Registered: 10/24/04
Posts: 785
Loc: Atomic City, ID USA
That last pic is the remains of a melted wire nut and some burned wires, looks like from the soot on the cover (or is it a lamp canopy?) that there was a LOT of arcing going on.

To DougW: Where was the few inches of burned wire that the H/O taped up located? In this last box?
Stupid should be painful.

#164932 - 06/14/07 08:31 AM Re: A few from DougW [Re: mxslick]
DougW Offline

Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 1083
Loc: North Chicago, IL

The burned wire (#12 Cu stranded) was actually at the panel side of the circuit - I replaced the run between the panel and the next box in line.

He told me he didn't know exactly what caused it, but that bare wire in the panel wasn't a good thing, so he taped it up then called one of my customers, who gave him my #.

As I told the H.O. and his wife - the last time I saw more evidence of fire, I showed up at the house on the BRT (Big Red Truck) with a hose in my hand.

Told them that, while I'm not a religious kind of guy, somebody was definitely watching out for them.


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