The Electrical Contractor Network

ECN Electrical Forum
Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals

Books, Tools and Test Equipment for Electrical and Construction Trades

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#167396 - 08/11/07 05:12 PM Taped Over and Burnt Outlets
Webmaster Offline


Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3181
Loc: NY, USA
The first is of an electrical outlet inside of a mobile home in North Carolina that apparently came loose out of the wall. Someone found a creative way to reinstall it.

The next two are of an outdoor receptacle I saw at a gas station/fruit stand in Florida. Not only is it not equipped with a protective cover door but it also has the prong slots burned open.

I can only wonder what would be so hot to elongate the slots like that?????

- Dawg

2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides
#167404 - 08/11/07 07:29 PM Re: Taped Over and Burnt Outlets [Re: Webmaster]
KJ Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/08/01
Posts: 53
vending machine, soda machine, maybe air compressor, any loose fitted cap,
plus the help of mother nature...

#167412 - 08/11/07 10:47 PM Re: Taped Over and Burnt Outlets [Re: KJ]
Cutter Offline
New Member

Registered: 07/22/07
Posts: 6
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Even with a protective cover, is the box itself OK to use outdoors?

#167414 - 08/11/07 11:38 PM Re: Taped Over and Burnt Outlets [Re: Cutter]
Trumpy Offline


Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8553
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Could be a spreading of the contacts within the recept.
At least they got one thing right, Ground down.
Sure the ground pin might be longer, but if it can't make contact, it is a waste of time.
The wieght of a plug or cord could undo all that work.
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

#167498 - 08/14/07 01:49 AM Re: Taped Over and Burnt Outlets [Re: Trumpy]
Texas_Ranger Offline

Registered: 12/17/01
Posts: 2349
Loc: Vienna, Austria
Sure looks familiar. Bad connection resulting in high resistance either in the receptacle, between plug and receptacle or even inside the plug, transferring enough heat to the prong and surrounding receptacle to scorch it like this. Curious thing BOTH holes are equally burnt though, usually it's just one. Old rewireable plugs of high-power appliances often look like this when somebody didn't tighten the screws properly. (particularly remember an ancient 2000W 220V space heater with a Schuko plug looking similar to this receptacle... or the power strip my mom once had under the kitchen sink to plug in the small under sink hot water tank... got wet and that's what it looked afterwards).

#167510 - 08/14/07 02:46 PM Re: Taped Over and Burnt Outlets [Re: Texas_Ranger]
electech Offline

Registered: 02/18/02
Posts: 113
Loc: Northern Il
The gas station maitenance staff would have replaced that outlet if only they had a #2 Robertson/square recess screwdriver bit to get that cover plate off.

From pic #2, it looks like they are running multiple crock pots, warming plates, portable ovens, or whatever. Neat trick on one 15 or 20 amp circuit. Maybe this is a 30 amp duplex outlet...

Or maybe those appliances are inside the store and we are seeing a reflexion of what's outside?

#167519 - 08/14/07 07:00 PM Re: Taped Over and Burnt Outlets [Re: electech]
hardwareguy Offline

Registered: 06/15/07
Posts: 50
Loc: Texas
That burned outlet looks familiar.... I encountered one like that about five or so years ago in a tiny house belonging to a church member with diabetes and MS.

The following loads were on the outlet:
5000 BTU window A/C unit (7.5A)
Pentium 166 PC with 17" monitor (2.5A)
Small washing machine (10A)
TV set & VCR player (1.5A)

Total load: 26.5A
Estimated continuous load: 12-17A

Now, this lady is dependent on O2, if the concentrator fails, she is in DEEP trouble. She does have bottled O2, but sometimes these run out. She calls me for all her electronics needs and she was complaining that her PC was rebooting..... after I found this she asked this: "oh, so would that have anything to do with the breaker tripping?"

The room was odd, it was a longish rectangle. In one corner was a hospital bed, directly across the room was the TV. At the corner near the foot of the bed was a washer/dryer combo that were unusually small (120V electric dryer...odd!). The PC was by her bed so she could check mail, surf the web and play scrabble. Under the bed was the burning plug! The wiring in the house itself was 12AWG plastic insulated romex and was in decent condition.

I redistributed the loads, got rid of a 18AWG extension cord in favor of a power strip with a circuit breaker and replaced that plug with a commercial grade one and side wired it.

I ended up replacing a lot of other outlets there.... all of them were a little loose and burnt in the kitchen with rather modest loads. The kitchen was upgraded from back stabbed plugs to side wired ones as well. The electrical problems were over for good from that day on. No rebooting PC, no hard to start A/C, no tripping breakers and no funky burnt smell. The microwave worked all the time too without having to "jiggle the plug". shocked

#167796 - 08/20/07 08:45 AM Re: Taped Over and Burnt Outlets [Re: electech]
Dawg Offline

Registered: 01/06/05
Posts: 58
No, that outlet was indeed located outside of a gas station/fruit stand (that sold Florida grown oranges/lemons) just off of I-95.

I don't know for sure what they were running as I really didn't look. The outlet caught my eye because it was attached to the side of the enter/exit way of the building.

I sort of figured the prongs must've gotten hot enough to have burned the slots opened, I actually thought maybe at first the said appliance that was once plugged into the bottom slots was drawing more amps than the receptacle was rated for.

#167800 - 08/20/07 10:32 AM Re: Taped Over and Burnt Outlets [Re: Dawg]
Theelectrikid Offline

Registered: 04/30/04
Posts: 854
Loc: Levittown, PA
Is that trailer outlet one of those 'All-in-one/No box required' ones That the manufacturers simply screw to the drywall/panelling with no anchors? If so that would explain why it's falling out of the wall.

Ian A.
Is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

#167838 - 08/21/07 08:59 AM Re: Taped Over and Burnt Outlets [Re: Theelectrikid]
BElder Offline

Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 52
Loc: Paradise, CA. U.S.A.
Electric leaf blower with a 100' cord will do a number the the receptical and the cord plug!


ECN Electrical Forums - sponsored by Electrical Contractor Network - Electrical and Code Related Discussion for Electrical Contractors, Electricians, Inspectors, Instructors, Engineers and other related Professionals