strange power loss

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Taylor, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. Taylor

    Taylor New Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Northern Joisey
    I'd appreciate if anyone recognizes these garage door is hanging open until I figure it out or get an electrician in tomorrow....

    Working in my basement (cutting footings, pretty routine day) when the receptacle I'm using dies. Not the circuit. All other receptacles between this and the panel are fine. It appears everything "downstream" of this is dead. Replaced the receptacle, got rid of pigtails by screwing into the back of the receptacle....still dead. What's even stranger, even though a light plugged into this receptacle is dark, the voltage detector claims it has juice. The light works fine in another receptacle in the same room (different circuit).

    As I said, any advice welcome. I realize I'll probably have to call in an electrican, but I'd prefer to fix it now so I can close my garage. Any suggestions for what to check with a multimeter are appreciated.

    Now excuse me while I run out and get a riser clamp to support my CI waste stack, whose support in the slab appears to have been undermined by a mason who was in here recently....

    Hope everyone's having a GREAT weekend.
  2. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Oct 20, 2005
    New Hampshire
    Most garage door openers operate by plugging into an outlet. If that is the case, plug yours into an extension cord connected to an outlet that works.

    You could have a loose connection at the last receptacle on the circuit that works. If there are any GFCI receptacles on the circuit, test and reset them.

    If you can't get a GFCI receptacle to work, try connecting the extended part of the circuit directly, bypassing the GFCI part of the receptacle.

    If you plug an incandescent light into the receptacle that doesn't work but shows voltage, does it still show voltage when the light is plugged in and turned on? If you measure voltage when the light is off, but none when the light is on, you probably have a bad connection in the hot or the neutral wires.
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  4. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Nov 8, 2005
    Hansville, Washington
    Bob's covered the electrical bases. Most garage doors also have an emergency mechanical disconnect to allow you to open the door whe the power fails. It will also allow you to close it.
  5. Taylor

    Taylor New Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Northern Joisey
    Thanks for your help!

    The "downstream" devices have started working as mysteriously as they stopped working. I think it's pretty clear we have a loose neutral someplace "upstream." I will go looking for it, hoping that it isn't buried in a wall someplace (I've had to rescue boxes buried in walls and ceilings).
  6. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Jun 15, 2007

    Here we go again blaming the poor neutral again.:D Unless you are reading voltage to ground and not to neutral, you have a loose/open conductor
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