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Old 08-24-2015, 01:00 PM   #1
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Electrical Outlet Question

The outlet in my kitchen started acting up this weekend. Only the bottom plug would work and the top one would not. I took the outlet out, checked the wiring and then put in a new outlet. Now, neither one of them work (the old or the new one). Reset breakers etc....and no success.

I thought about it overnight and it occurred to me that there is an outside outlet on the trailer just behind the one on the inside in the kitchen. Is it possible these two are wired together? We have had a ton of rain in Colorado this year and I now suspect that, if they are wired together, maybe the outside outlet is causing the challenge. All other outlets in the trailer work fine.

Any insight is appreciated
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:14 PM   #2
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Is the outside outlet working? Also check your main breakers to make sure all are set.
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:22 PM   #3
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All the breakers are fine. I am going to test the outside outlet when I get home this evening.
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:27 PM   #4
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The outlets are (should be) wired in parallel. That way one is not dependent upon the other to work. If the new outlet didn't work, it may be a line problem. Also check the wiring attachments on the outlet. Some have a removable brass strip so that you can feed each individual plug in from another circuit. Don't ask me why. I have seen it. If that is missing from the outlet connection, it will cause what you describe.
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:41 PM   #5
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I have aluminum wiring in my trailer. Would the brass strip still apply and could you describe a little further what you described? I am "electrically challenged"

Thanks
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:43 PM   #6
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If the outside outlet is a GFCI, and the downstream outlet is the one in the kitchen, then if the GFCI outlet has tripped, the kitchen outlet will not work either. If the outside is not a GFCI, and it works, then you probably have a wire loose or broken that's feeding the kitchen outlet.

Regarding the removable brass strip on outlets, yes they do exist. I have removed the one on the hot side so I could make one of the two outlets controlled by a wall switch. Pretty common to have an outlet controlled by a wall switch in rooms with no ceiling lights. The strip allows you to wire only one outlet to the wall switch, leaving the other outlet live all the time.

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Old 08-24-2015, 01:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by centennialman View Post
I have aluminum wiring in my trailer. Would the brass strip still apply and could you describe a little further what you described? I am "electrically challenged"

Thanks
Make sure you use outlets and other electrical fasteners that are rated for Aluminum wiring. Yes, the strip is still there. It's a break-away strip or tab between the two outlets. It will connect the two screws together on each side of the outlet.
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:51 PM   #8
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Any suggestions for where to get an outlet/fasteners etc... rated for aluminum? Are they generally available at Home Depot/Lowes? Thanks for elaborating on the break away strip or tab.
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:52 PM   #9
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If the breaker isn't tripped then it's an open somewhere. Have you used a multi-meter to check the voltage at the outlet wiring? If one of the plugs was working and now neither, the first outlet was defective. With a replacement outlet being dead on both plugs, either the new one is defective too, it's not wired properly or there's a loose wire in the wall.

I'd (carefully) check the voltage at the wiring in the outlet to make sure it's hot. If you have voltage then either the new plug is bad or not wired properly. I've had issues with the kind that you just push the wire into the connection hole. I always use the screw connectors; better contact.
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Any suggestions for where to get an outlet/fasteners etc... rated for aluminum? Are they generally available at Home Depot/Lowes? Thanks for elaborating on the break away strip or tab.
Yes, aluminum rated outlets and fasteners are available at Lowes or Home Depot. Just ask one of the electric dept. folks to help you find them.

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I grabbed this picture of the internet and drew a red circle around the tab we were talking about. There is one on each side of the outlet. I find a picture is worthwhile most of the time.

Chris
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:11 PM   #11
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Awesome! Thanks so much...off to Home Depot...I will report back when I have figure out what's up with the outlet
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
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If the outside outlet is a GFCI, and the downstream outlet is the one in the kitchen, then if the GFCI outlet has tripped, the kitchen outlet will not work either.
Chris
Oh boy, should I have remembered this. When we first moved into our new house I had a GFCI in the guest bathroom that was defective and would just pop on it's own. It provided the power to another outlet in our bathroom. The guest GFCI popped and I didn't know it. My wife complained her hair dryer quit in our bath. I figured it had popped the breaker, but it hadn't. I spent the rest of that day, even buying one of those circuit tracer devices, to trace the wire through the attic down to the guest bathroom. I felt like an idiot when I pushed the reset button for the guest GFCI and the hair dryer came on in our bath.

So an outside plug, even if not an actual GFCI plug, can be getting power from another GFCI in the trailer. (Our bath plug is not a GFCI but is protected because of the one in the guest bath.)
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Old 08-24-2015, 04:20 PM   #13
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I dont know what type of outlet is in your trailer but my 2001 had a one-piece combination outlet and box that is used in RVs. I had exactly the same symptoms. The way it is made there are spring contacts and one of the contacts on one of plugs in the outlet had broken. One would work and one wouldn't. Big box stores had nothing like it. I bought one at a local RV dealership for $7. After that I found them on eBay for less than half the dealer price. If you cant find one elsewhere google "RV power receptacle" or if you can read a manufacturers number google that.

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Old 08-25-2015, 07:56 AM   #14
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Update - Went to the Depot and got an aluminum outlet. The outside outlet on the trailer is definitely wired in with the kitchen outlet. I confirmed that. The wires and outside receptacle are in really bad condition. They are now capped off and I disconnected them from the outlet in the kitchen. Still no luck though. My neighbor is an electrician and he is going to come over and take a look this evening. Electricity is my phobia (some people have spiders etc...) and I would have made a good pioneer living off the land with kerosene lanterns. Anyway...cross your fingers that there is success this evening.
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