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Replaced electrical outlet not working

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May 31, 2010 2:21:40 AM

I have an electrical outlet i replaced that is not working, and it has caused no electricity in the room next door.

This is a 1950's house with a new circuit breaker box. The wires in outlets look original - they are thick copper with a semi-frayed kind of fabric around them...probably due to age.

what i did: I began by replacing a lightswitch and an old two-prong outlet that is controlled by same lightswitch in my office room. I replaced two-prong with 20 amp 3-prong outlet. The old two prong electrical outlet had no ground (i believe)...just two wires (capped into one) attached to one screw on one side of old outlet, and then a single wire attached to other side of old outlet. I divided capped wires and screwed each into the screws on one side of new outlet, and screwed single wire onto one screw on other side of outlet. I did not use the ground screw.

Then I went to the outlet on a different wall in the same room that is now not working. It has been working fine beofre I started this, but I did not check it to see if it was still working after replacing the first outlet on the other wall. Could it be that the feeder part to the former outlet caused this one and the others down the line not to work...? Or did I do something wrong with this particular second outlet replacement?

Regarding this second wall outlet (no companion lightswitch) There were four wires coming out, two pairs...no ground, I believe. I replaced to look the same as the one i removed. The oulet did not work, and the electricity in the room nextdoor (bedroom) now does not work. I tried numerous times switching the wires from either side to the other side of the new outlet, but nothing has work. Very frustrating!

I understand I believe my electrical system feeds from one box to the next and this is why the electrical in next room is affected, but i do not know what to do! The light switch and companion outlet I first replaced still work.

I hope someone can help me, as i cannot afford an electrician.

Thanks for your time.
February 5, 2011 6:07:11 PM

I believe that in the first outlet where you fastened the two wires seperately to the receptacle which had been wirenutted together, you may have put them on a receptacle where someone had broken off the little tab connecting the two screw areas to each other.
This tab is between the two screws on each side of the receptacle and connects them together. It is broken loose when it is desired to switch one part of the receptacle but not both sections of it such as with a wall switch.
If you have kept all the wires connected to each other as they were at the beginning of your work, then that is about the only possible way it could have been done. In rare cases there might have been a wire break loose and still be inside the insulation near a point where it fastens to a screw or is wire nutted to another wire. Be sure the circuit breaker is really back on too and not still in trip position.
Ken
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