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Troubleshooting Outlets Not Working in a Bedroom, Connecting the Feeder Wires in a Sub Panel and more

May 7, 2010

DIY Electrical Wiring Help Adam asks:
I’m not able to get electricity to any of the outlets in my bedroom after switching the ceiling light. I hooked up the white to white and the black to black as well as grounding. I also checked to make sure that I didn’t move any or loosen any other wires in the electrical box while installing. Can’t figure out why I have no power, even after remove the light and the wires, I still can’t get power…thoughts?

Are the outlets on the lighting circuit? Check the light box for loose connections or broken wires. The wires typically break right at the end by the wire nut or right where it enters the box. If everything is fine and you are certain that your connections are correct, then open the outlet. Look for loose connections, particularly from “back-stabbed” connections.

A “back-stabbed” connection in where the wires are pushed into the back of the outlet instead of being wrapped around the screws. These connections are where the wire is pinched in between 2 pieces of spring steel and they loosen up over time creating lots of problems in a home. If you have these outlets, then I highly recommend replacing them and wrapping the wires clockwise around the screws on the new outlets.


Steve Talsa asks:
I have just built a pole building approx 40′ from my house. I have 200 amp service in my house and I installed a 100 amp breaker panel in the building. My question is I was told I can run 2-2-4 triplex wire from my main box to my sub in the pole building? My main house breaker box is bonded, with a green screw. So if I use 2-2-4 where will I attach the 3rd wire? To the ground lug in the sub or to the neutral lug in the sub?

Connect the #4 wire to the neutral bar. This is a neutral wire. Since you did not pull a ground, you need to re-establish a ground. You can do this by installing 2 – 5/8 x 8′ long ground rods 6 feet apart and connecting one wire from the neutral bar in the sub-panel through both ground rod clamps (connected to the ground rods) and back to the neutral bar.

You also need to connect the neutral bar to the metal frame of the panel. This is usually done with a long green screw, a short bent piece of metal approximately 3 inches long which connects from the neutral bar direct to the frame with a ground screw. If you do not have any of these items, then you may also install a piece of #6 green THHN copper wire from the neutral bar to the ground bar.


Jill asks:
We switched our 3-prong cord to a 4-prong cord to use in our new home (there is a 4-prong outlet). The only problem is that the new, 4-prong plug only slides about halfway into the outlet…it won’t go in any further. Any ideas?????

Is the outlet the same configuration and the plug end? Try turning off the power and look to the plug sockets to see if there is something in there. If everything looks OK, then try plugging in the cord again and try wiggling it around a little while pushing it in. If all else fails, then replace the outlet. They are about $15.00 and you can get them at your local home improvement or hardware store.


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