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Harryc 06-22-2008 02:49 PM

Sudden low voltage from electrical outlets?
Today while I was using power tools on the deck, my saw decided to stop working. Turns out that the outlet it was plugged into suddenly lost power along with 2 others in the house. I checked the breaker, and it was fine. I did decided to replace it however (its a 15a). Strangely enough, not all the outlets that are on the circuit stopped working. There is an outlet that my computer and TV reciever are plugged into, and they work fine. They are reading 117 volts, while 2 of the dead ones are reading 17 volts, and the one outside which is a safety outlet, is reading a measly 4 volts. I replaced all 3 outlets with no luck. I am at a loss. What could be wrong?

inspectorD 06-22-2008 04:13 PM

Call an electrician
One of your main lines/legs comming into the panel may be loose. Does your electric stove work, if you have one?
Be careful, it can cause a fire.

Harryc 06-22-2008 04:32 PM

I do not have an electric stove.
Let me explain a little more in detail as to what happened. I was sawing wood using a rotary miter saw when the saw just stopped. It was plugged into a gfi outlet on the outside of my house. Also, all the clocks in my master bedroom stopped working, as did the hallway light. All the outlets read zero volts when I put the 15 amp breaker in the off position, and read 17.6 volts when the breaker is switched on. Keep in mind however that it is only these 3 outlets plus a ceiling light that is not working. Other items on the same breaker work fine...(this computer for example). I replaced all three outlets and tested the wires with the outlets removed to make sure it wasn't a bad outlet. The bare leads all read 17.6 volts. I am guessing that the saw did somthing...what I don't know. I just don't know where to look at this point. What would cause a trickle of voltage to just three outlets, and full power to the rest on the circuit?

hondadrv24 06-22-2008 07:14 PM

maybe the wires going from the last one that works to the first one that doesn't got loose?? sounds like a dangerous situation, hope you get it figured out quick or definitely get an electrician out there to inspect and repair.

kok328 06-22-2008 07:50 PM

I'm thinking you burned up some wire. What is the amp rating on your saw?

glennjanie 06-22-2008 08:23 PM

Hello HarryC:
I'm going with the burned wire in a junction box somewhere along the line, Or perhaps a wire has slipped out of a wire nut.
This is the sort of thing that happens frequently with aluminum wire but I shudder to think you have that problem.

Harryc 06-29-2008 12:16 AM

problem solved!
problem solved.

A wire nut in a ceiling light did not have its wires twisted together, but rather just stuck in the wire nut and screwed on. This appearently caused some resistance and the wire nut melted, hence creating a poor electrical connection. Last place I looked too. :-)

hondadrv24 06-29-2008 09:24 AM

funny how its always the last place we look that we find the problem and solution:D :D

robsvtwin 04-02-2013 04:23 PM

HarryC, I had the same problem. two out of five receptacles had showed 105v the other three were 120v. I opened all the receptacles and one of the 105v receptacles had a slightly melted wire cap. I re-tightened the wires and added a new cap with nocks goo. Thanks for your post!

CallMeVilla 04-05-2013 12:12 PM

Had your circuit been protected with an arc fault (not the GFCI), it would have tripped. As I read the responses from you and other folks, it sounded like an intermittent disconnect along the line somewhere. DANGEROUS.

Re-twist the nuts and tape them off. I would check others laong the circuit to make sure there are no more loose connections. The electrician probably got sloppy or tired when the house was built. If the wires gague can handle it, you might consider a 20A breaker on the line too. Sounds like you potentially have a lot going on!

Now, get off the computer and get back to work on the deck ....... :D

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