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Joined: May 2004
Posts: 49
jayson Offline OP
we were on job today where the back of the house had no power. its a small house with a living room, kitchen,bath, and bedroom
old fuse box with 6 fuses protecting the whole house checked the fuse box no blown fuses or loss voltage. everything there fine took part all outlets that were not working . couldnt find problom was coming from i went to work on another job .guy still there . any trouble shooting ideas? thanks in advanced

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,788
Likes: 14
Did you take apart the last outlet that was working? [Linked Image]
It may be on the output side.
Are you missing the hot or the neutral in the broke ones?
It can be one of those cludge wirenuts in a ceiling box.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 49
jayson Offline OP
i checked a couple outlets that were hot .that had hot and neutral coming in and hot and nuetral going out they were allright. i was thinking that it could be an attic junction box or in a crawl space or something

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,369
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
There are a couple of strategies to locate the missing junction.

The first step, with the power on, is to map out, as best you can, the routing of the wires. This can give you an idea as to how the place was wired in the first place.

Next, take a good look at the place, and try to guess what changes have been made over the years. Have outlets been added? Walls moved? Is one part newer than another?

Finally, with the power off, use a "data" toner to attempt to map out the dead outlets.

Now, let's assume that you decide that the break has to be between two particular outlets. The first thing you do, using your toner from both ends of the "broken" wire, is to double-check for any lights, switches, or junctions between the two points. If so, check those places next; if not, then it is usually best to abandon the old wire and fish in a new one.

When you abandon a wire, it is usually best to avoid damaging it,or cutting it back. Why? Because you are sure to get another call in a few months, complaining that something isn't working- and that "something" usually turns out to be something you disconnected when you abandoned the wire- and may even have been the cause of the problem in the first place!
This is also a good time to document what you have learned about the house- you'll appreciate it later!

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 265
Another thing you might want to check is a hidden splice within the wall or ceiling. I've run into this too many times to mention. Sometimes they are in a box and it's covered up with panelling or drywall, other times it's just an in-line splice with no junction box.

Sometimes in a case like this, it may cost the owner more to have you troubleshoot it than to run some new wires in the crawlspace, basement or attic (if they are accessible) between the affected receptacles.


"Will it be cheaper if I drill the holes for you?"
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 156
Or you could wait a couple of days and try smelling for the dead rat.

Really the only thing you can do is map the place out and start checking off the works/doesn't work boxes on your map.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 129
Look at the fuse box again . Use a Wiggie or volt meter Sometimes a fuse can go bad down inside but it looks fine thru the window.I have replaced a lot of fuses that looked good but were bad. If the fuses are type S the bushings can loose contact but the fuse will be good. Then you have to replace the bushing or just remove it and use a standard fuse of the correct aize.

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 693
I'd like to offer one more trouble-shooting tool: a 3-wire extension cord plugged into a known-good receptcale. This gives you a reference hot, neutral, and ground to carry around with you as you use your tester.

As for the tester, I highly recommend a solenoid-type rather than a regular volt-meter, because the latter usually has such a high input impedance that induced voltages from nearby wiring can give you a false hot reading.

Larry Fine
Fine Electric Co.
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 706
I use a plug-in tester which will indicate a variety of problems. The first thing that comes to mind is a loose neutral, if you have normal voltage after the fuse (never believe a visual inspection of a fuse). In a six fuse house you could also have a wire blown open if someone over-fused. The toner will help locate any opens in the circuit.

In a six fuse house around here the wiring would likely come from a small pan junction in the ceiling down to the outlets (1940s?).


Joined: May 2004
Posts: 49
jayson Offline OP
thanks for advice found the bad wire and ran new wire from fuse box to first outlet on circuit. thanks guys

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