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From: Fred Bloggs
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Win 9x 4.90; en-US; rv:1.0.1) Gecko/20020823 Netscape/7.0
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Subject: Re: household electrical failiure
Date: Mon, 04 Nov 2002 14:23:46 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 04 Nov 2002 06:23:46 PST
Organization: EarthLink Inc. -- http://www.EarthLink.net
Take off UrPants to reply wrote:
> My house has two sections, a main house and an annex/garage. They have separate
> breaker boxes. We have been having trouble with almost all the power in the
> annex going out. My sister lives in that side and when she plugs in to many
> heaters, etc... The socket breaker in the bathroom plug snaps open.
> This takes out all the power in the annex (upstairs and downstairs) except the
> bathroom lights. This despite the fact that none of the main breakers are
> tripped open. If I get her to unplug some stuff, then I can reset the plug in
> the bathroom and everything else comes on.
> The other day she said that she went in to her side and found the power out,
> except the bathroom lights. I tried to reset the bathroom plug but it would
> not. Thinking that the breaker in the bathroom plug might be defective, I
> replaced the plug in there. I was not able to find a plug with a breaker in the
> hardware store so I got an ordinary plug and wired that in. There were two
> white, two gray and one green wire in the receptacle. I wired the white to the
> left side of the plug, the gray to the right side and the green to the ground
> on the bottom.
> The power still does not work on that side. I am thinking of trying to wire the
> white together directly, and the gray together directly to see if I can bypass
> that plug.
> It is possible that there is a break in the wires somewhere due to the fact
> that we have had a rat problem and there have been gnawing on stuff in the
> walls of the garage.
> Any advice?
> Direct replies to Michalchik@aol.com appreciated.
> Part 2.
> The mystery deepens. I went to the hardware store and got one of those voltage
> sensor pens. The ones that light up when they're near a live wire. This
> sensor lights up near all the sockets or appliances plugged into the sockets in
> the side of the house where nothing works. I figure this must mean the circuit
> is not completing not because of a break in the hot white wire, but because of
> the break in a powerstation ground, the gray wire. If I remember correctly
> powerstation ground fluctuates between a bout + and - 10 to 20 volts. I don't
> know if this makes my job any easier in fixing the problem I wonder if I could
> hook powerstation ground straight to the regular ground? No, that would
> probably just result in some sort of short, though not as serious as a short
> between earth ground and the hot wire.
> By the way the ground fault protection socket that I replaced with an ordinary
> socket was not originally installed in the house, it was added later by
> contractor who thought that socket was to close to the sink and might get
> splashed. The circuit's on the Annex side are still hooked up to the main
> breaker box as per the specs of local code and original architects plan. That
> socket kept on tripping because it was not up to the power requirements of the
> downstream wiring.
Unless your interior wiring is THHN in conduit, it is most likely that
the so-called "gray" wires are former BLACK wires that have been
severely faded due to excessive heat development at the GFI terminals.
Apparently the old GFI had provisions for protecting devices downstream
as well as those plugged in its receptacle and this was overstressed.
Judging from the REALLY BAD GFI installation, the joke of an electrician
was fond of violation of NEC recommended practices of "pigtailing" the
feedthrough. This means you do NOT use the receptacle device terminals
to daisy-chain the power through the box, you should wire-nut a daisy
chain junction and run small lengths of properly color coded wires to
the receptacle. The broken neutral connection is most likely a fused
link on a receptacle somewhere downstream that was used to daisy-chain.
You should physically inspect each and every receptacle in the annex and
make the changes as I have described- replace the receptacle with fused
link when you find that too, and if you do replace the GFI, take the
downstream load off of it- it's not necessary.
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