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Home wiring i have a old house circuit box has everything hook up in about 12 to14 circuits. we have a upstairs that is all connected to the kicten, hallway up and down stairs also the part of the basement. the far room in the upstairs has no power even though every thing else works. where would be the frist thing to check? is this something i can fix?

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I don't recommend tampering with any electrical wiring or circuit unless you are experienced and are sure that you know what you are doing...it is very easy to make the situation worse.
First and easiest thing would be to check all of the breakers/fuses in the circuit panel. If they use the old fuses, sometimes its hard to tell if these are blown. If you can't tell that any are blown, you may try replacing them one at a time..there may be one burnt out and hard to tell by looking. The only other thing I'd recommend for an armature would be to get a voltage meter and test the output of each fuse (only if you are confident that you know how to properly). You may be able to isolate a line with no current, which could lead you to a bad fuse/breaker, or a bad circuit in the panel.
Any other troubleshooting in my opinion should be done by someone with electrical experience. Hope this helps.

Posted on Mar 30, 2008

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Wiring 12/2 or 12/3


12/2 cable (Romex, UF, etc) consists of two insulated #12 and one uninsulated #12 conductor or wire. The two insulated wires have a black and a white colored insulation. Number 12 copper is rated for 20 amps. This cable can carry a single circuit with ground.

12/3 cable is identical to 12/2 with the exception being that it has a third insulated conductor that is colored red. This third wire allows one cable to supply 2 circuits (one on black and one on red with both sharing the white and ground wires) with one cable run. It is much cheaper to buy and install a single 12/3 cable than two 12/2 cables to get two circuits into the same general area.

Twenty amp 120 volt circuits in dwelling units are required for kitchens, dining rooms, washers, disposals, and other appliances that require more than 12 amps (but less than 16 amps) to operate. Twenty amp 240 volt circuits are typically for specialty appliances and devices such as electric heaters, pumps, etc. Generally, 20A/240V appliances devices do not need a 12/3 cable as they only require connections for Line1, Line2 and ground. One insulated conductor would be unused in a 12/3 cable serving such a device. A 12/2 cable is run instead and the white wire is taped red (any color other than gray or green, to indicated that it is no longer a neutral) at each location it is accessible, such as wiring compartments, panels and junction boxes.

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Lastly, a 12/3 cable would be run between 3 way & 4 way light switches and hard wired smoke detectors; but only if they are on a 20 amp circuit. Most circuits in the home are 15 amp capacity, especially for lighting circuits. A 14/3 cable would be run on these circuits as there is no need for the additional expense of a cable with the larger #12 wires and the increased labor to handle, install and connect the wires to device terminals.

I hope this helps. Please rate my reply - thanks!

Jan 18, 2012 | Siemens Hammering

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Home fuse box breaker issue


Hi Rex,

It sounds as if the upstairs bathroom outlet and the outdoor outlet are on the same circuit. There's a very good chance that these are GFI or "ground fault interrupter" type outlets, as these locations (and others) have required this type of protection for over 30 years. It was a common practice to run a circuit from the panel to one of these locations (or another) and then run from here to the next outlet and then on to the next. Since the GFI outlet could be purchased for around $10 instead of $30 for a GFI breaker, electricians would install outlets instead - both offered the same protection. A "regular" breaker would supply power to this circuit - but the very first outlet would get a GFI type outlet. It would be wired to the LINE terminals and the cable that feeds the rest of the outlets on this circuit would be connected to the LOAD terminals. If there was a ground fault condition, this GFI outlet would trip, but the circuit breaker would remain on. You would locate and RESET the tripped GFI outlet to restore power. The only time the circuit breaker would trip is if the circuit was overloaded. Overloads would NOT cause the GFI outlet to trip.

Now that you understand how it was typically wired years ago (and still a lot of times today), you should check all the outlets outside your home, in bathrooms, basements, garages, and inside your home next to doorways that lead directly to grade of your lawn or deck. These are required places for GFI protection. Press the RESET on any tripped GFI outlet to restore power. If the outlet will not RESET, there is a condition where the hot wire (black, red or blue insulated wire) is in contact with ground, or a device or appliance connected to the circuit has a problem. Unplug anything connected to the circuit and attempt to RESET again. If still unable to reset, open the outdoor outlet again and carefully pull it out and away from the box. Inspected for damaged or crushed insulation and repair / tape as needed. Before reinstalling, try to reset again. If it holds, trip the GFI by pressing TEST button. The RESET button should pop out. Reinstall the outlet and make sure the wires are not crushed or cut. Press the RESET button again. If it trips, you will have to remove the outlet again and take more precautions against damage to the insulation. it is also possible that the GFI outlet itself has failed, in which case it should be replaced.

GFI circuit breakers and outlets are supposed to be tested monthly by simply pressing the TEST button and then the RESET button. Replace any GFI device that does not test correctly if wiring and devices / appliances connected are OK.

I hope this helps & good luck! Please rate my reply - thanks.

Jan 05, 2012 | Hammering

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We have 2 breaker boxers for my house. 2 nights ago, a breaker got tripped, (too many air conditioners i'm guessing) and i flipped it back and all we well...almost. The power was lost upstairs and came...


Your main breaker may be problematic... GO to your master panel... the one with the meter, and reset everything, and on any sub panels reset everything.... Good Luck...

Jul 23, 2011 | Challenger Circuit Breaker

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My Sylvania - ground fault 15 amp breaker (32740) is tripping with minutes of reseting. It is for 3 washrooms & hallway & is 30 years old .....does or can it loose its life span? What is the cost...


A circuit breaker can go bad, but usually not in the way that you describe. That's not to say that it can't happen, but just not typical. GTE Sylvania breakers were once popular - I installed quite a few GTE / Sylvania electrical panels in homes in the late 80's. You may have trouble finding replacements; do not put an breaker that "fits" into the panel, unless the breaker is designed for use in the panel you have.

The first thing to do is determine the source of the problem. The breaker will trip, but not indicate if it was the result of a heavy electrical load or a ground fault condition. A 15 amp circuit breaker is designed to carry up to 12 amps continuously. The greater the load, the more quickly it will trip. it may carry a 14.5 amp load for several minutes to an hour before tripping, and a 20 amp load may be carried a second or two. GFI breakers are designed to carry 5 thousandths (.005) of an amp (or 5 milliamps) to ground, or the 12+ amps to neutral before they trip.

The way I would attack the problem is to install a new GFI outlet in front of the old wiring, by "inserting it" between the panel and the other plugs and lights, switches, etc on that circuit. The GFI outlet will provide the same GFI protection that the circuit breaker provided at a fraction of the cost.

Turn off the old GFI breaker, and remove it completely. Install a new, standard (non-GFI) single pole 15 amp circuit breaker in its place. Completely remove from the panel the cable that the old GFI breaker fed. Buy a new electrical outlet box (surface or flush mount as desired) that is large enough and deep enough for a GFI plug and 2 cables (if surface mount, use a 4" square deep box and appropriate cover - or if flush mounting use a deep plastic / fiber single gang box). It will be installed in a place close to the panel, but where the old cable will be able to reach inside. Bring the old cable removed from the panel into the new box. Run a new cable that has the same number and size wires from the panel into the new box, too. Connect the circuit neutral and circuit ground to the neutral and ground bars in the panel (they are probably the same bar) and the hot wire to the circuit breaker. make sure that the circuit breaker is OFF. Twist the two ground wires together and combine an 8 inch length of bare or green insulated wire with them in a wirenut.

Next, wire a new GFI plug in the new box. Connect the green wire from the wirenut to the green terminal of the GFI outlet.

Connect the plug's LINE terminals to the neutral and hot wires in the cable that you ran from the panel to the outlet box.

Now, connect the GFI plug's LOAD terminals to the neutral and hot wires in the cable that you removed from the panel and reinstalled into the new outlet box.

Secure the GFI outlet into the box and install the cover. Cover the electrical panel.

Power up and test. if the GFI trips, there's a ground fault in the circuit. If the circuit breaker trips, the circuit is overloaded.

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Here are links that show basic wiring inside a breaker box.

Please look at the images.
If you need more help, answer back and we'll go to the next step

http://waterheatertimer.org/See-inside-main-breaker-box.html

http://waterheatertimer.org/240-v-water-heater-circuit.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/Circuit-breakers.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/Color-codewire2.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/Figure-Volts-Amps-Watts-for-water-heater.html

Breaker size:
15 amp breaker connects to 14 gauge wire
20 amp breaker connects to 12 gauge wire
30 amp breaker connects to 10 gauge wire
Home Depot and Lowes have a breaker and wire size size chart next to wire cutting machine
These stores have guys who know the basic breaker size for your big appliances
Each appliance has a name plate showing wattage and voltage.
The wattage tells you what size wire.
The voltage tells you what size breaker and whether you need a 120V breaker or 240V breaker.

To lay out your home wiring:
The kitchen microwave needs a 20Amp 120V 'dedicated' line that goes just to the microwave.
The rest of the kitchen plugs are served by another 20 amp 120V breaker
When laying out rest of house, figure how much wattage might be used in an area.
For example the den might have a big 500Watt TV, and 2 ceiling fans and 4 lights.
Add up the wattage and decide how many plugs and switches you want on each breaker.
Now let's say you have a 20Amp breaker which can carry 1920 Watts for the den.
Inside the breaker box you have a 12 gauge wire for the 20 Amp breaker.
The 12 gauge wire has a black, white and bare ground.
The black connects to breaker. The white and ground connect to Neutral busbar.
The 12 gauge wire leaves the breaker box and goes to the first box in the den.
This box is your junction box.
The junction box can be a switch box or a ceiling light box.
You cannot have any junction boxes that are covered by drywall.
Junction boxes must be accessible. All boxes must be accessible.
For example, you choose a ceiling box for your junction box.
The junction box is also the same box your ceiling light connect to.
From your junction box, you branch off a wire that goes to next box.
And then a wire branches off next box and goes to next box. And so on.

If you need more help, answer back and we can help.

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20 amp 120 or 240? All 20 amps 120 must be 12 gauge wire for all connections on that circuit.. no exceptions

120- Bring wire into box securely as is done with all the other wires. Shut the breaker to "off". wire the black wire from the screw on the back of the breaker. white wire to the bar with all the other whites. copper to the same bar or separate grounding bar if available. snap breaker into place. turn breaker on

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Blown breaker


It sound like all of those go through your bathroom GFCI. I would recommend moving your outdoor circuit breaker indoors if possible or enclosing it to make it water-proof. You may also do some rewiring from your main breaker box ( if you are handy) to eliminate the outdoor box completely considering you have 100 amp / 200 amp breaker box inside your house. If you still have an old FUSE BOX with 60 amp service, I would recommend replacing it with a 100 amp or 200 amp breaker box depending on the size of your house. I would separate the laundry room by itself with 12/2 gauge wire with ground on a 20 amp breaker. You can then take your bathroom (using 12/2 gauge wire with ground keeping your gfci ) and run it to another breaker in the house with a 20 amp breaker or add a new one if there is room in your main box. Now all you have left is the porch light. You can run that separate from everything to your main breaker box using 14/2 gauge with ground to a breaker in your main box by adding a new 15 amp breaker or adding it to another 15 amp breaker that does not have a very high load such as a bedroom. In general Kitchens, Bathrooms, Laundry rooms should be on there own separate 20 amp breakers. Most every other room can be 14/2 with ground on a 15 amp breaker... hope this helps....Joe

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