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Old 11-11-2019, 11:48 PM   #61
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..........Plus they scare me due to horror movies ..............
A friend at work told about his daughter rushing to him to rescue the goldfish that had accidentally slipped out of the sink and into the garbage disposal. He had a hard time seeing it, so he flipped on the light switch over the counter. Oops, wrong switch.
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Old 11-12-2019, 05:15 AM   #62
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OP, I have not read all of the replies so you may have already got the help that you needed, if not here are my thoughts. You more then likely have GFI outlet that tripped and you just havenít found it yet. Check around one more time, look especially hard behind the junk you have piled up in the garage. If not there check your mechanical room and outside, maybe even the in the air conditioner disconnect box, there may be one hidden in there. It happens to me all of the time, I will get a service call just like you describe, I try to help the homeowner out and save them a few bucks by telling them what to try first. Most shrug it off and act like it canít be that easy and they have tried resetting everything already. They think itís gotta be something super complicated. When I get there I find a GFI outlet buried somewhere and reset it and hand them a bill. Itís worth it to double check.

You should look for anything else that doesnít have power that may be fed from the same circuit. This will give the electrician some good input. If itís not a GFI issue it is more then likely a bad connection on another outlet somewhere up stream from the outlet thatís not working. I suggest plugging in a cord and shaking the plug around in various outlets close to
Where the faulty outlet is. Then check power to the outlet. This will help
Locate the connection issue.

Is there a chance that this outlet is on a switch? Sometimes we are asked to put the outside outlets on a switch so they can plug their Christmas lights in and turn them off and on from the house. Try all of your switches in the house close to that area. Look in the closets by the entry doors sometimes we hide them in there because they arenít used regularly.


Regardless of the issue this more then likely is a simple repair. It sometimes can be difficult and time consuming finding the problem but usually a quick little fix. Thankfully because have seen what electricians charge?!?!?!😀 Good luck!

Make sure to post what you learn.
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:51 AM   #63
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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?
I built my Sabtronics 2035A DMM kit back then. It is still my go-to meter now ~40 years later. That, and my Simpson 260 for analog work, are my only 2 meters that I trust. My several free HF DMMs are never used.
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Old 11-12-2019, 09:33 AM   #64
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... my Simpson 260 for analog work ...
Funny you should mention that. I have been shopping eBay and CraigsList lately for a nice Simpson 260. Digital readouts are great for some things, but that old analog meter needle is good too.

There is a reason that most quartz/digital watches have analog displays. They can be read more quickly and they provide context.
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Old 11-12-2019, 10:11 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by 427Vette View Post
OP, I have not read all of the replies so you may have already got the help that you needed, if not here are my thoughts. You more then likely have GFI outlet that tripped and you just havenít found it yet. Check around one more time, look especially hard behind the junk you have piled up in the garage. If not there check your mechanical room and outside, maybe even the in the air conditioner disconnect box, there may be one hidden in there. It happens to me all of the time, I will get a service call just like you describe, I try to help the homeowner out and save them a few bucks by telling them what to try first. Most shrug it off and act like it canít be that easy and they have tried resetting everything already. They think itís gotta be something super complicated. When I get there I find a GFI outlet buried somewhere and reset it and hand them a bill. Itís worth it to double check.
Yep!
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Old 11-12-2019, 10:52 AM   #66
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Funny you should mention that. I have been shopping eBay and CraigsList lately for a nice Simpson 260. Digital readouts are great for some things, but that old analog meter needle is good too.
I have both analog and digital meters that I use frequently. My favorite is a 40+ year old Simpson meter like the one pictured below. Hasn't changed much in all that time.







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Old 11-12-2019, 11:26 AM   #67
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you can get a good craftsman multi meter for around 10. at christmas time. I have a couple and they work well. I bought one years ago that still works all right, but then about three years ago, they had one that would test capacitors, so now I have two. Item # 03482141000 Model # 82141
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Old 11-12-2019, 12:37 PM   #68
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Out of curiosity I look and agree that the inexpensive Craftsman meter looks a lot better than the HF freebie special.

All this talk about old stuff and searching the Web for ads in old magazines brings me back to the days when you could build a lot of stuff with 741 op amps, 2N2222 and 2N2907 transistors, 1N4000-series diodes, 555 timing IC, 74-TTL and CD4000-series CMOS, etc... Darn, it's been more than 40 years.

Well, you can do the same now, but people would rather play with Arduino, and IoT thinggies.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:45 PM   #69
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....

All this talk about old stuff and searching the Web for ads in old magazines brings me back to the days when you could build a lot of stuff with 741 op amps, 2N2222 and 2N2907 transistors, 1N4000-series diodes, 555 timing IC, 74-TTL and CD4000-series CMOS, etc... Darn, it's been more than 40 years.

Well, you can do the same now, but people would rather play with Arduino, and IoT thinggies.
It's not either-or. I've been doing a few different Arduino/IoT thingies (NODE-MCU-ESP8266), and every one required some hardware interface. For me, it's a fun puzzle to do the software, and it's an equally fun (but different) puzzle to design the interfaces. Transistor switches, diode rectifiers, 16 channel analog multiplexers, opto-isolator/couplers, LEDS, voltage converters, over-voltage protection, etc. Fun, fun, fun!

-ERD50
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Old 11-12-2019, 05:16 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by 427Vette View Post
OP, I have not read all of the replies so you may have already got the help that you needed, if not here are my thoughts. You more then likely have GFI outlet that tripped and you just havenít found it yet. Check around one more time, look especially hard behind the junk you have piled up in the garage. If not there check your mechanical room and outside, maybe even the in the air conditioner disconnect box, there may be one hidden in there. It happens to me all of the time, I will get a service call just like you describe, I try to help the homeowner out and save them a few bucks by telling them what to try first. Most shrug it off and act like it canít be that easy and they have tried resetting everything already. They think itís gotta be something super complicated. When I get there I find a GFI outlet buried somewhere and reset it and hand them a bill. Itís worth it to double check.

You should look for anything else that doesnít have power that may be fed from the same circuit. This will give the electrician some good input. If itís not a GFI issue it is more then likely a bad connection on another outlet somewhere up stream from the outlet thatís not working. I suggest plugging in a cord and shaking the plug around in various outlets close to
Where the faulty outlet is. Then check power to the outlet. This will help
Locate the connection issue.

Is there a chance that this outlet is on a switch? Sometimes we are asked to put the outside outlets on a switch so they can plug their Christmas lights in and turn them off and on from the house. Try all of your switches in the house close to that area. Look in the closets by the entry doors sometimes we hide them in there because they arenít used regularly.


Regardless of the issue this more then likely is a simple repair. It sometimes can be difficult and time consuming finding the problem but usually a quick little fix. Thankfully because have seen what electricians charge?!?!?!😀 Good luck!

Make sure to post what you learn.
Great advice.

You reminded me, about a tenant that phoned to tell me the fridge didn't work suddenly.
I had him plug a light in the socket and it didn't light.
Asked him to check the breakers, he said all were fine.
So I phoned an electrician.
The guy goes to the basement and switched off then on the breakers and the plug worked !!
It was the old breaker looking ok, but actually tripped.
The fridge is still there 4 years later.

Incredibly he didn't even bill me, even though he had to drive there and spend 10 minutes fixing it, then drive back. Easily a 1 hour bill.
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:43 PM   #71
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We had our outside lights replaced . The kind that come on as you pull in . A few days later they were not working so we called the company back . We have a switch in the foyer that we never use well SO turned it off and that controls the lights . The electrician just snickered .
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:03 PM   #72
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Here's my thinking without reading the other comments: (Though this is probably the purview of an electrician)

1. The electrical run that feeds the outlet that doesn't work-- put a meter and check for voltage. If voltage, could be a disconnected neutral. Pull out inline socket and check wiring. Most likely if bad wire, will be in electrical box, not behind wall.

2. Check that 120V is present at circuit breaker box. Then check downline for 120V. If 120V, then problem is neutral line.

3. Regarding the guy's motor running slow on indoor outlet. First check voltage at outlet before he turns on his motor. Then have him turn on his moter while still checking for voltage. See if there's a voltage drop. If a big drop, problem could be your service. Also can depend on time of day too.
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Old 11-12-2019, 08:21 PM   #73
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you can get a good craftsman multi meter for around 10. at christmas time. I have a couple and they work well. I bought one years ago that still works all right, but then about three years ago, they had one that would test capacitors, so now I have two. Item # 03482141000 Model # 82141
I have had the Craftsman 82141 for quite a few years. Mostly used to test batteries, but nice to have around. Also good to diagnose whether or not the power block for a laptop is working and things like that. I donít do work in the main panel, but I did use it with instructions from an electrician friend so he knew what was wrong before he came out when the transfer switch on my generator wasnít working.
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Old 11-17-2019, 07:13 PM   #74
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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.
And?
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Old 11-18-2019, 07:15 AM   #75
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Update

Several of you have PMd me to find out how it went. I waited till I had time to give a full report.

First, everybody was right. The culprit was a GFI outlet in the laundry room. I had pressed the buttons on that outlet (as on all the others) several times, but seemingly not hard enough.

Now, this was a homeowner's warranty visit (cost to us: $75.00), so the electrician wasn't allowed to work on any other items; but since he'd only been there about 3 seconds, he took some time to go over light switches and outlets with us. He advised us to replace every GFI outlet in the house with ones that light up when tripped. He said we could learn to do this from Youtube, or buy the switches and pay a handyman to install them.

Also, he noticed all our ceiling lights are on dimmers. I dislike them because husband never switches them off completely. Electrician dislikes them because they cause problems. In fact, the home warranty doesn't even cover dimmers, because they cause so many issues. So he advised us to swap out all dimmer switches for regular on/off switches. He said to buy 3-way switches, since dimmers have 3 wires.

Additionally, he said to
*swap out all the incandescent ceiling lights for LED bulbs to save electricity - from the lights themselves, and from the A/C running more due to incandescents' heat output.
*buy only better-quality LEDs, because the ones from Walmart or the dollar store are cr@p.
*even for a non-dimmable switch, you should always buy dimmable LEDs, b/c a power surge can cause non-dimmable LEDs to strobe.[LIST]
*there is a difference in the shape of the end of an LED ceiling bulb and an incandescent bulb, which can cause the LED bulb not to make sufficient contact. He had a suggestion for this, but I didn't quite understand it.

So, there it is. Any thoughts?
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Old 11-18-2019, 07:27 AM   #76
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I think things worked out well here, for only a small cost.

We once called the appliance repair people because the range hood would not work. It was a tripped GFI on the other side of the kitchen. I would have thought the GFI right next to the range (which I tripped and reset) would have been the proper one, but it wasn't. Ours don't light up, so the only way to have known was to have cycled every GFI in the house. Who would think to do that?

FWIW, I agree with the guy about the LED lights. We replaced all ours and the electric bill went down quite a bit. And the cheap ones do burn out faster. We use GE Daylight ones, because we like that spectrum of light best.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:01 AM   #77
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... He advised us to replace every GFI outlet in the house with ones that light up when tripped. He said we could learn to do this from Youtube, or buy the switches and pay a handyman to install them. ...

So, there it is. Any thoughts?
Seems like overkill to me. Unless you regularly trip the GFCI (then you should find out why), this should be a rare event. And now you know how to deal with them.


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... So he advised us to swap out all dimmer switches for regular on/off switches. He said to buy 3-way switches, since dimmers have 3 wires.
...
That makes no sense. You use 3-way switches in a 3-way circuit. Period. A "3-way" circuit is a misleading term - it means a light controlled independently by two switches (like a switch at each end of a hallway). An electrical/electronics person calls theses single pole-double-throw switches. Electricians call them 3-way switches. Maybe because they have 3 terminals instead of two? But each switch routes the current two-ways.

So unless your lights are controlled independently from 2 switches, don't spend the extra money for 3-way dimmers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
... Additionally, he said to

*swap out all the incandescent ceiling lights for LED bulbs to save electricity - from the lights themselves, and from the A/C running more due to incandescents' heat output.

*buy only better-quality LEDs, because the ones from Walmart or the dollar store are cr@p. ...
LEDS do save energy, but if someone sees a big reduction in their bill, they must keep a lot of high watt lights on for a long time each day, and/or pay very high rates. But yes, the A/C cost is an added saving factor for places with a lot of A/C use.

Finding a "good" LED can be challenging. Another big problem is getting a "good" LED work with a "good" dimmer. I had problems, and my research showed a lot of people found they had to max/match certain "good" brand LEDS with certain "good" brand dimmers. You just can't count on every brand name dimmer working with every brand name LED. It's madness!

I ended up having to add a regular old filament bulb to the fixtures with 2 and 3 bulbs in them. That filament bulb provides a better load for the dimmer, and makes it work properly. But that's defeating some of the benefits of LED. More madness! They actually sell a resistor to add to fixtures for that purpose. You know what a "resistor is"? A light bulb that makes no light at all! Essentially a zero efficiency light bulb. But it is a 100% efficient heater (A.C effect).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
... ....
*even for a non-dimmable switch, you should always buy dimmable LEDs, b/c a power surge can cause non-dimmable LEDs to strobe.[LIST] ...
That's insane.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
...

*there is a difference in the shape of the end of an LED ceiling bulb and an incandescent bulb, which can cause the LED bulb not to make sufficient contact. He had a suggestion for this, but I didn't quite understand it.

So, there it is. Any thoughts?
I guess it all depends on the fit. He's probably talking about screwing in a little extension thing?

-ERD50
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:06 AM   #78
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He said to buy 3-way switches, since dimmers have 3 wires.

So, there it is. Any thoughts?
My thought is that this makes no sense. Three way switches are for situations where there are two switches controlling the same light. For example, at the top and bottom of a stairway. There will be a switch that will work the same light. The switches you buy to replace those switches are three way switches. They are different than the basic switch used in the other situation. Like when you enter a room and there is one switch that turns on the ceiling light.

I donít know of any commonality electrically between a three way switch and a dimmer switch. I do know that if you have a dimmer on a three way circuit, like the stairs where you want to dim or shut off from either switch (upstairs or downstairs), you have to buy a certain type of dimmer for that application.

If you chose to do the work yourself, you just have to buy the right switches. For any situations like the stairs, you buy two three way switches. For all other switches, you just by a regular switch. There may be other switches in the world, but for a homeowner and their lights, I know of only those two.

Yes, itís a simple job to replace all those things, but not always easy. Iíve replaced all of my switches and plugs since I bought my house a couple years ago. Physically itís a little difficult to get the receptacles near the floor. Kneeling and sitting on the floor and working that low to the ground is a bit of a challenge for me. But, it can be done. Buy the kit below and make sure your power is off when working and make sure your receptacle is wired correctly when done.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-To...dle1/305010045

I would start with the GFIíS. Make sure you get a 20amp GFI if itís on a 20amp circuit.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:10 AM   #79
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Oh, and while you’re at it, draw a map and document the circuit that everything is on. That way you’ll always know what breaker controls each light and receptacle.
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:44 AM   #80
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Several of you have PMd me to find out how it went. I waited till I had time to give a full report.

First, everybody was right. The culprit was a GFI outlet in the laundry room. I had pressed the buttons on that outlet (as on all the others) several times, but seemingly not hard enough.

Now, this was a homeowner's warranty visit (cost to us: $75.00), so the electrician wasn't allowed to work on any other items; but since he'd only been there about 3 seconds, he took some time to go over light switches and outlets with us. He advised us to replace every GFI outlet in the house with ones that light up when tripped. He said we could learn to do this from Youtube, or buy the switches and pay a handyman to install them...
Yes, the new GFCI outlets are nice...replaced a failed GFCI outlet in the master bath and discovered the new one would not reset.

Finally figured out that the original was wired backwards, with the load & line pairs switched.

There are several downstream bathroom outlets fed from that GFCI outlet since there is only one (outlet) circuit for all of the bathrooms.
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