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Old 11-10-2019, 07:54 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
None of us is coaching the OP on how to open up the breaker panel and probe around.
That was clear. Im assuming shes now done all the easy things.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:05 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by skipro33 View Post
Code requirements from the National Electrical Code (NEC) do so stipulate, among other rules regarding pools and outdoor outlets. Local rules may vary, although they generally follow the NEC fairly closely.
The picture is representative of my set up. No breaker outside. Meets code.

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Old 11-10-2019, 08:08 PM   #23
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If the receptacles have been reset and the breakers have been turned off and turned back on, and there is still no power, it is going to take some detective work to figure this out.

I just had a similar situation during our kitchen remodel where I installed one new gfci and a few new receptacles downstream of that. No power in any of them. Reset the gfci but no luck. Finally put in a gfci breaker and swapped out the gfci for a standard receptacle to get power to all receptacles in the circuit.

I would think that a similar ground fault breaker solution would work as a last resort in ops case. If op has no experience in tracking down the source of the problem, or replacing breakers and receptacles, then I would hire an electrician.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:37 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
Aged circuit breakers may trip, but their lever do not move all the way to the "Off" position. In other words, the lever position is misleading.

You should reset them all, by moving them to the "Off" position, then back to "On". In doing so, you will see that the one that tripped will feel loose.

Those weak breakers should be replaced eventually. Not doing so is not dangerous, however, they will trip at lower and lower currents and become a nuisance.



Your indoor circuit may be too long, meaning too far from the distribution box, and has too much voltage drop for the high current drawn by the paint sprayer.

Without a voltmeter, you can check this easily enough by plugging a lamp onto the same receptacle as the paint sprayer. Turn the sprayer on, you will see the lamp dim.
^this
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:11 PM   #25
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You should not spray the fence.
You should use a brush. Much better coverage.
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:23 PM   #26
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You should not spray the fence.
You should use a brush. Much better coverage.
Becky Thatcher should use a brush on the fence.

*after doing about 20' of picket fence with a brush I'm hiring out next time
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:56 PM   #27
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To paint our new fence, we hired the same company that installed the fence. They sent a couple of guys with a paint sprayer, which they hooked up to our outdoor outlets.

After quite a few hours, guy knocks on our door and asks if he can hook up his extension cord to an indoor outlet. "When I unplugged the machine [to put more paint in, I assume] I guess I tripped one of your breakers, you'd better check."

I checked both breaker boxes. Nothing had tripped.

I reset all our GFI/GCFI outlets. All are working.

All our external outlets are now dead, including the one our carbon water filter uses.

Is there anything else to be done before I call an electrician on Monday?

Incidentally, the painter said that with his cord plugged into our indoor outlet, the machine's motor runs too slow. He tried to imply there is something wrong with our electricity. I don't know exactly which outlet goes to which circuit, but I'd swear there is nothing else plugged into the circuit that the machine was using. Other things (lamps, a fan) plugged into the same outlet, work OK.
If the entire circuit is dead, you probably tripped a breaker. Although you can usually tell by looking at the breaker, some breakers don't look tripped when they are. Physically flip the breaker off and back on to make sure.

Many outdoor circuits are protected by GFCI breakers. If so, there should be a reset button on the breaker. Turn the breaker off and back on as above, then press the reset button.

You can also check for GFCI outlets on the circuit that may have tripped. As with the breaker, I recommend pressing the Test button first, then press the reset button.

The above process should take care of most simple problems. However, if his sprayer motor was running slow that would tend to indicate a low voltage condition. An undersized extension cord shouldn't cause that unless it's a really long cord (100+ feet or so). The cord probably would have felt warm to the touch if that was the case.

Unfortunately, it sounds like you may have a bad connection somewhere in the circuit. This would increase the resistance, thus lowering the voltage to their sprayer motor. If this is the case, be thankful the circuit died before it started a fire.

I would turn off the breaker and check the wiring at each outlet in the circuit. Preferably pull the outlet from the box so you can check the connections on the outlet and the wiring in the box. Of course, outlets and breakers can fail internally with no visible damage on the outside.

If you've checked the simple solutions above, you'll have to start opening up the panel and outlet boxes and checking voltages to see where the problem is. I assume this is above your skills and comfort level, so you will probably want to call an electrician.
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:11 AM   #28
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Sometimes one of the GFCI outlets goes bad, can make it difficult to troubleshoot. Happened in my kitchen not too long ago, after trying everything else just swapped it out and was back up and running.
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:18 AM   #29
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I had a situation similar to this with my furnace. the house is 20 years old and the furnace quit working. I checked and no power to the furnace. checked again and found out the ground wire in the main panel was loose and not making a connection. it could be something as simple as that but it takes opening up the panel, and while I know how to do that I would not suggest you do it.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:23 AM   #30
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Could it be an open neutral? There are inexpensive testers that would diagnose that problem.
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:02 AM   #31
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Could it be an open neutral? There are inexpensive testers that would diagnose that problem.
Agree. I have one of these:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-To...T210/206517824

Saw the electrical inspector using it when he inspected my house for a certificate of occupancy. Gives a bit of information for not much money. But, the main thing I like about it is that it has a button the tests (trips) gfi receptacles. However, it did make me aware that one of my plugs did not have a ground (which I have since fixed - the ground from another outlet box was disconnected that fed the plug I was working on. I bit of a challenge to find.). It also showed that I did not have a neutral. In that case, plug would seem to test okay, but would immediately trip the gfi breaker in the box. Nice to have electricians for friends. I usually do the grunt work and the make any connections at the box. I wont go there.

For your last test, try finding the common wire in a three way switch.
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:08 AM   #32
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OP. Interesting story/problem. Like a mystery novel. Have you had a professional figure out the problem. Should be a simple fix. Only happened after power sprayer was used.
So should be easy to track down. Using a "test meter", an electrician should be able to easily check for "lack" of "hot" wire at the outdoor receptacle. And back track from there.
Good luck.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:04 PM   #33
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Electrician has been called. Won't be out till Saturday. I'll let the congregation know how it goes.

Wolf, I'm thinking a test meter may be something we should have in the home. I remember my dad (an electrician, but not the home-service kind; he specialized in high voltage construction) using one when I was a kid.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:29 PM   #34
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Owning a meter is one thing, learning to use it will take some learning.

I can buy a stethoscope, but I do not know what to listen for. I guess I can learn without getting an MD degree, but it still takes some work.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:40 PM   #35
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Owning a meter is one thing, learning to use it will take some learning.

I can buy a stethoscope, but I do not know what to listen for. I guess I can learn without getting an MD degree, but it still takes some work.
I'm sure that there are plenty of YouTube tutorials on how to use test meters and stethoscopes. Knowing what to do with the resulting data is the tough part.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:41 PM   #36
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Owning a meter is one thing, learning to use it will take some learning..........
Yes, but that plug in device with different lights is quite useful and easy to understand.
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Old 11-11-2019, 02:44 PM   #37
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Owning a meter is one thing, learning to use it will take some learning.

I can buy a stethoscope, but I do not know what to listen for. I guess I can learn without getting an MD degree, but it still takes some work.
The alternative to learning is to remain ignorant and helpless. I have never understood those who have this philosophy. Buy the tool, study what you need to know, accomplish what you need to accomplish, and now you have a new capability.

That said, IMO any homeowner should have a simple tester like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Receptacle-Te...0M/ref=sr_1_53 Something like that will tell the OP what she needs to know and it is a lot easier than carrying around a fan.

I do have a professional grade digital multimeter but I can't remember ever using it for troubleshooting house wiring.
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:04 PM   #38
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Owning a meter is one thing, learning to use it will take some learning.

I can buy a stethoscope, but I do not know what to listen for. I guess I can learn without getting an MD degree, but it still takes some work.
I own both a stethoscope and a Fluke true RMS multimeter. I'm much better with the multimeter than the stethoscope!
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:05 PM   #39
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The device I have has three lights and the combination tells you what's wrong. Reading them as a binary pattern the diagnosis is:
0 - Open Hot
1 - Open Neutral
2 - Open Ground
3 - Correct
5 - Hot/Ground Reverse
6 - Hot/Neutral Reverse
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:07 PM   #40
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Long-time visitors to the forum know that I am a hard-core DIY'er who dabbles in everything from carpentry like deck work, to car repair like engine rebuild.

I would not discourage anyone from trying something they don't know.

Just giving a heads-up that some investment of time and effort will be needed, beyond shelling out a few bucks for a meter.
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