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Old 11-11-2019, 03:15 PM   #41
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Electrician has been called. Won't be out till Saturday. I'll let the congregation know how it goes.
We'll be praying for you.

Weak GFCIs cause all kinds of problems. I've seen a lot of them get wonky after a few years and do odd things, even after resets. And *especially* after loading them for a while. I killed a relatively new GFCI by running a tiny space heater on it for a few hours.
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:16 PM   #42
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The thinggy that you plug into an outlet for testing will give some useful info, all right.

But in the OP's case, if she plugs that into the dead outlet that the paint sprayer initially powered off, what will it tell her other than "yes, this outlet is dead"?

OK, now what?

When you guys talked about a meter, I thought you talked about this Harbor Freight $6.39 meter (it is often given away free with a coupon).

This is all you would need to do serious troubleshooting. You don't need a true RMS voltmeter, or a Fluke. What you need is knowledge. And that's what I was referring to.

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Old 11-11-2019, 03:20 PM   #43
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Well, if our house is going to keep playing these kinds of tricks on us, I guess we'd better go in search of knowledge. Meanwhile, will pay close attention to whatever the electrician does and says. Thanks!

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T
This is all you would need to do serious troubleshooting. You don't need a true RMS voltmeter. What you need is knowledge. And that's what I was referring to.

]
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:29 PM   #44
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Is this contagious? I clicked on this thread yesterday.....today MIL breaker won't stay on this morning. Emergency handyman on call. (not me! I'm out of town) Basement power, lights, internet(!) phone. Furnace is down there but seems to be on
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:49 PM   #45
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The thinggy that you plug into an outlet for testing will give some useful info, all right.

But in the OP's case, if she plugs that into the dead outlet that the paint sprayer initially powered off, what will it tell her other than "yes, this outlet is dead"?

OK, now what?

When you guys talked about a meter, I thought you talked about this Harbor Freight $6.39 meter (it is often given away free with a coupon).

This is all you would need to do serious troubleshooting. You don't need a true RMS voltmeter, or a Fluke. What you need is knowledge. And that's what I was referring to.

Meters are good to tell you if you have low voltage - I use one more than the plug in 3 light indicators. The cheap Harbor Freight meter has a spot in my soul. A dark spot. Used one years ago and the @!*/ thing lied to me. Wiring hot is one thing. Thinking you are wiring with dead wires (that aren't) is another. After I stopped buzzing I threw the HF meter away and bought a real one.
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:55 PM   #46
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The thinggy that you plug into an outlet for testing will give some useful info, all right.

But in the OP's case, if she plugs that into the dead outlet that the paint sprayer initially powered off, what will it tell her other than "yes, this outlet is dead"?

OK, now what?...
Exactly. OP already knows the outlet doesn't work. The plug in tester will only confirm what is already known.

The meter might give more specific information, but I'd bet against it - if the hot is dead, there is no power to the tester to tell you anything additional, all the lights will be out, just like anything you plug in. Same as a tripped breaker.

The only specific info that tester could give in this case is an open Neutral. For any other fault, a lamp plugged in the outlet would still work anyhow. A lamp doesn't care if ground is open or hot-neutral reversed. Those are safety issues, but the lamp would still light.

That said, those plug in testers are still a good investment. You want to know about any of those faults, and get them fixed, they are a safety concern.

I forget off-hand, but there are some combination problems that the plug in tester will say is OK, the faults sort of cancel out for that device. It takes a more rigorous check to cover every possible fault, but these get you the most common problems.

The one area I feel they are weak though, is in testing ground. They only pull enough current to light that little bulb. That is not enough to know you have a solid ground, and you probably need that in case of a real fault (you want it to be able to draw enough current from hot to trip the breaker). Far better is to (carefully!) wire a special tester, a 100 W light bulb wired to the hot (narrow prong) and the other lead to the ground (cylindrical prong), instead of the Neutral (wide prong). Leave the Neutral disconnected.

Plug that in, and the light will only light steady of the ground can handle that higher current. A 1200 watt heater would be an even better test.

-ERD50
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:55 PM   #47
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Meters are good to tell you if you have low voltage - I use one more than the plug in 3 light indicators. The cheap Harbor Freight meter has a spot in my soul. A dark spot. Used one years ago and the @!*/ thing lied to me. Wiring hot is one thing. Thinking you are wiring with dead wires (that aren't) is another. After I stopped buzzing I threw the HF meter away and bought a real one.


You had the same problem as travelover had, as he described in another thread. That is, the rotary switch may not make contact and the meter lies to you about live wires being dead.

Tell you all the truth, I do use my better meters when I am not too lazy to go fetch them. For checking car batteries, well, I know there's always some juice in the battery, and if it does not read anything, I know to wiggle the knob.

OK. I take back the recommendation of this meter. It's not for the faint of heart.
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Old 11-11-2019, 04:09 PM   #48
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I had bad banana connections on another cheap meter brand (probably same manufacturer). Be careful out there!
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Old 11-11-2019, 04:34 PM   #49
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I had bad banana connections on another cheap meter brand (probably same manufacturer). Be careful out there!
"Cen-Tech" is a Harbor Freight brand. Tattoo on inside of eyelids: "Do Not Buy Junk Tools"

I have had very good luck with Tenma branded products even though they can be amazingly cheap. https://www.newark.com/tenma/72-1343...00/dp/52AC3271 Thirty bucks!

That said, a meter would probably provide no help with troubleshooting this problem. The electrician will probably use a "fox and hounds" tester to trace the outlets back to their common GFCI. That's still my most probable suspect.
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Old 11-11-2019, 04:50 PM   #50
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Besides the tester mentioned, I also have this one:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-To...1SEN/100661787

I touch all the wires and connectors before I work on anything so that I know the power is off. I have a volt meter, but mostly use that to test batteries. The plug in tester and the non-contact tester serve me well for the jobs I do at home like changing out switches and receptacles or hanging a new light fixture.
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:38 PM   #51
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Is this contagious? I clicked on this thread yesterday.....today MIL breaker won't stay on this morning. Emergency handyman on call. (not me! I'm out of town) Basement power, lights, internet(!) phone. Furnace is down there but seems to be on
Humidifier in basement was causing breaker to trip. All fixed. It's handy to know some "guys" in the biz
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:15 PM   #52
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Besides the tester mentioned, I also have this one:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-To...1SEN/100661787

I touch all the wires and connectors before I work on anything so that I know the power is off. I have a volt meter, but mostly use that to test batteries. The plug in tester and the non-contact tester serve me well for the jobs I do at home like changing out switches and receptacles or hanging a new light fixture.
In my youth, I had a tester-pen like that, but it was simply a little neon bulb with a 1-Megohm resistor in series. I grew up in the 220V world, and wonder if the bulb would be too dim with 110V.

The one above is non-contact, and has electronics to amplify the capacitively-sensed AC voltage. A lot fancier.

Just now look and they still sell the same passive type that I had for less than $5.





The one I had was built into a screwdriver, and your body provides the ground connection. If your shoes insulate too well, or if you are up in the attic on dry rafters, it may not work.

PS. Yes, Walmart got the same type for 2 for $5.

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Old 11-11-2019, 06:28 PM   #53
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I had bad banana connections on another cheap meter brand (probably same manufacturer). Be careful out there!
The bad connection on the HF meter is often the probes. The fine wires inside the cord may be broken off the probe tips, but the insulation holds everything together. Looks fine, but no continuity.

I still have a few of these HF meters, but they have "upgraded" probes now.
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:45 PM   #54
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The thinggy that you plug into an outlet for testing will give some useful info, all right.

But in the OP's case, if she plugs that into the dead outlet that the paint sprayer initially powered off, what will it tell her other than "yes, this outlet is dead"?

OK, now what?

When you guys talked about a meter, I thought you talked about this Harbor Freight $6.39 meter (it is often given away free with a coupon).

This is all you would need to do serious troubleshooting. You don't need a true RMS voltmeter, or a Fluke. What you need is knowledge. And that's what I was referring to.

I have a Radio Shack meter that looks very similar. I think I paid about $15 for it over 50 years ago. It works fine as long as the leads are high quality and in good shape.
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Old 11-11-2019, 06:54 PM   #55
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No, not 50 years. Of course you are joking.

I remember back around 1980, I was looking at a DVM that was on sale in kit form advertised in Popular Electronics or some magazine like that, and it was expensive at around $100. And it had an LED display, as LCD was not available then.

Darn, my memory is still excellent!
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:07 PM   #56
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No, not 50 years. Of course you are joking.

I remember back around 1980, I was looking at a DVM that was on sale in kit form advertised in Popular Electronics or some magazine like that, and it was expensive at around $100. And it had an LED display, as LCD was not available then.

Darn, my memory is still excellent!
May have been closer to 40. I am pretty sure it was before I was married which was more than 40 years ago.
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:20 PM   #57
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May have been closer to 40. I am pretty sure it was before I was married which was more than 40 years ago.
40-50 years ago, most multi-meters were analog, with a needle, and a reflector! However, the "Fluke 8020A became the first reliable hand-held digital multimeter in 1977 and represented a key point in history of the meter"!

My first digital multimeter was purchased from Radio Shack, circa 1985, and had a really large LCD display.
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Old 11-11-2019, 08:41 PM   #58
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Well, while we're waiting for Amethyst to hear from the electrician, let me hijack the thread a bit. I was hoping the collective expert consciousness here could steer me in the right direction.

We have a nice double sink in the kitchen, with a garbage disposal on each side. For whatever reason we've barely used the left side sink, and almost never have turned on the left side garbage disposal in 12 years. DW recently decided we should switch sides, as the right side is showing some wear.

So now when we turn on the garbage disposal on the left side, it works, grinding stuff up as it should. However the motor makes a loud pulsing sound, as opposed to the other one which is a nice smooth hum/buzz. I've felt around inside, no blockages. I looked underneath, and everything seems to be copacetic. I haven't done any more mechanical troubleshooting as I've been pretty busy. But if anybody has run into something like this before I'd like to hear about it.
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Old 11-11-2019, 09:07 PM   #59
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40-50 years ago, most multi-meters were analog, with a needle, and a reflector! However, the "Fluke 8020A became the first reliable hand-held digital multimeter in 1977 and represented a key point in history of the meter"!

My first digital multimeter was purchased from Radio Shack, circa 1985, and had a really large LCD display.
I looked on the Web, and yes, I now remember the Fluke 8020A. It was offered for $169 at the end of 1977 ($715 in today's dollars). Yes, it had a LCD.

And I also found the LED DMM in kit form I talked about. The brand was Sabtronics, and the price was $69.95 in 1980. They also offered an LCD version, at a higher price of $89.95.

It was the $69.95 DMM that I thought of buying, but never did. We just got married, bought our 1st house with a 14% FHA mortgage, and I could not see myself spending on non-essential items while I already had a VOM.

So, my memory was not as good as I claimed, but perhaps I still deserve a C?
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:31 PM   #60
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Well, while we're waiting for Amethyst to hear from the electrician, let me hijack the thread a bit. I was hoping the collective expert consciousness here could steer me in the right direction.

We have a nice double sink in the kitchen, with a garbage disposal on each side. For whatever reason we've barely used the left side sink, and almost never have turned on the left side garbage disposal in 12 years. DW recently decided we should switch sides, as the right side is showing some wear.

So now when we turn on the garbage disposal on the left side, it works, grinding stuff up as it should. However the motor makes a loud pulsing sound, as opposed to the other one which is a nice smooth hum/buzz. I've felt around inside, no blockages. I looked underneath, and everything seems to be copacetic. I haven't done any more mechanical troubleshooting as I've been pretty busy. But if anybody has run into something like this before I'd like to hear about it.
I've never had one, as they are (IMHO) an unnecessary thing, and sooner or later break. Which then leads to a replacement and the cycle continues.

Plus they scare me due to horror movies

We simply throw the scraps of whatever in the garbage pail before washing.
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