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FarmBoy

04:07AM | 10/24/00
Member Since: 10/23/00
4 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
I recently purcahsed a 50 yr old farm house. It has 100amp fuse box. My problem is that 2 of the bedrooms wall outlets are on the same circuit and at least 2 or 3 times a week the circuit goes dead for only a few minutes. I have checked the fuses, none are blown or loose. Checked the outlet for shorts and have not found any. I don't know what else to do. Additional information is it happens only late at night Midnight to 5:00am, it is only the bedroom outlets. Should be no additional loads at that time of night, no train tracks, or outside influence. Only thing left on at that time is our childrens night light, 2 alarm clocks, 1 cordless telephone and occassionally a fan.

[This message has been edited by FarmBoy (edited October 24, 2000).]

rpxlpx

06:56AM | 10/24/00
Member Since: 03/13/00
1678 lifetime posts
A few questions:
Is it the same time of day each time?
Symptoms - lights go out? clocks slow down? ?
This happens nowhere else in the house?
Is there any source of vibration, train track, heavy equipment, etc. in or around the house? Or a heavy-use drain on the power attached to this circuit?
Can you verify that it's the ENTIRE circuit, and not a part of it?

[This message has been edited by rpxlpx (edited October 24, 2000).]

FarmBoy

07:20AM | 10/24/00
Member Since: 10/23/00
4 lifetime posts
It is very late at night when it occurs, only way we know it has happened is the cordless phone beeps to let us know it has lost power. This morning all that was on was a night light, fan, 3 alarms clock and 1 cordless phone. The power stayed of for approximately 6 to 10 minutes. I checked the fuse box all fuses were good. I tried tightening each one and did not find any loose. Shortly after the power to the outlets were restored. I am planning on checking all outlet and fuse panel grounds this evening. Just seems very odd it happens a couple of times a week, late at night, with little items left on.

rpxlpx

08:27AM | 10/24/00
Member Since: 03/13/00
1678 lifetime posts
I have no answer, but maybe someone else can come up with it.
One thought though. Put that cordless phone in another part of the house - on another circuit and see if it ever beeps there. If you have two, switch them. Maybe the voltage for your house is dropping just enough to make that phone act up, but not enough to affect anything else.
Do you have any large applicances on timers to run late at night, such as dishwasher?

ElectrcBil

02:26PM | 10/24/00
Member Since: 07/21/00
76 lifetime posts
This is very puzzling. Is there any possibilities of having rodents or pest in your attic? Rats have been known to knaw through insulation on wire. It could be that a wire is pinched in a structual member of the house and the house settles. Another possibility is that one of the outlets has gone bad inside and the other feeds through that first outlet. Why it only happens sometimes could just be that the outlet heats up and an open circuit condition occurs and then the device cools and the circuit is closed. Whatever the situation is I am sure that there is a logical explanation and definately a cure. Good Luck, Bill

FarmBoy

04:45AM | 10/26/00
Member Since: 10/23/00
4 lifetime posts
Well I replaced all the outlets last time and the power did not go out. So I assume I had a faulty outlet. Now my problem is I purchased an outlet tester and every outlet in the house shows No Ground. I checked the fuse boxes and they all have grounding wires connected to the grounding bus and the main wire coming down from the meter head is grounded to the bus and an outside copper rod in the ground. Could the line from the power company be broken to cause me to get the NO Ground indication when using the tester. By the way I tried the tester at a neighbors and it is working properly.

rpxlpx

05:55AM | 10/26/00
Member Since: 03/13/00
1678 lifetime posts
Do your outlets have 3 wires or 2 wires?
If only 2 wires, you can see this result.
Also, are you certain you put the black and white wires on the correct lugs?
Black goes on the gold (smaller), and White goes on silver (larger).

FarmBoy

06:02AM | 10/26/00
Member Since: 10/23/00
4 lifetime posts
Yes, wires are installed to the appropriate studs and original wires are 2 wires, but I add a ground wire from the receptacle to the wall box.

rpxlpx

09:22AM | 10/26/00
Member Since: 03/13/00
1678 lifetime posts
The obvious next question is:
Is the wall box grounded? To what?

(Sometimes people will connect a ground wire to a screw on a painted metal surface, believing that's a good ground. It isn't.
Also metal conduit from one box to another isn't a good ground.)

ElectrcBil

01:46PM | 10/26/00
Member Since: 07/21/00
76 lifetime posts
If you only have two wires entering the outlet box then you do not have an equipment ground. The fact that your house is 50 years old leads me to believe that there is no equipment ground. If you have ground wires coming into the the panel it may be that the panel was replaced and some new cable may have been run to parts of the house but probably not down to each receptacle. Grounds are very important to have, they do more than offer protection from shock. Read the post about self grounding outlets from yesterday.
You should not have replaced the two holed receptacles with three holed. This is a violation of code. You should have used gfci receptacles if you cannot provide a good path to ground.
As far as the utility company's ground is concerned, No they do not even supply a ground wire to your house. They provide a neutral wire which is center tapped from the transformer. When this is bonded in your fuse box and also bonded to the grounding electrode then you establish a ground.
You can ground those outlets to your existing grounding conductor by adding an extra wire, but it must be continuous all the way back to within 5 feet of where the service enters the house, Or you can take it back to the fuse box and ground it to the neutral bar. Let me know if you need more help.

[This message has been edited by ElectrcBil (edited October 26, 2000).]

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