[Homeroast] Outlet lost power...

Brian Kamnetz bkamnetz at gmail.com
Mon Aug 27 10:59:26 CDT 2012

Hi all,

I finally have my patio outlet problem figured out.

A recap: I moved into a condo at the end of July. The condo has a
concrete patio in back with an outlet right next to it. The patio is
shaded in the morning and seemed like a good fair-weather place to
roast. Shortly after I moved in I roasted a pound on the patio and
everything went fine.

A couple weeks later I tried to roast again and the outlet was dead.
There are a couple switches on the wall inside the patio door and I
fiddled with them but it didn't help. I strung a 12-ga extension cord
out from an inside outlet and roasted, and came to work and posted my
first question. There were many helpful replies, several mentioning
GFCI outlets. The patio outlet isn't GFCI, but it was mentioned that
several outlets can be strung together with one of them being GFCI and
controlling the whole circuit. I have an electric alarm clock with a
face that lights up when it is plugged in; I went around with that
testing outlets in the house.

Right away in the bathroom, which is right next to the patio outlet,
there was a GFCI circuit that was blown. I reset it and confidently
headed to the patio, but that outlet was still dead. I tried all the
others, finding a couple GFCI outlets that were blown, but resetting
them did not solve the patio outlet problem.

I had checked all the breakers in the breaker box, but advice here was
that sometimes a breaker is thrown even though it appears to be ok. I
went to the breaker box and reset nearly all of them, but that didn't
help either. I was looking at the breaker box again when I noticed a
GFCI outlet nearby. It was blown, but resetting it didn't help.

Well, a few days later, I tested the patio outlet again, and it was
working. I had no idea how that could be, and spent a few days
scratching my head. At least I now was able to find out that an inside
switch controlled the patio outlet, and I now knew which way was "on".
But I didn't know why the outlet worked sometimes and not other times.

I've been busy and didn't get back to the problem until this morning.
Of course, this time, instead of trying to find something that made
the patio outlet work, I was looking for something that turned off
power to the outlet. This morning, instead of walking out to the patio
with my alarm clock after each change, I ran an extension cord from
the patio outlet to inside the condo and plugged in an old boom box
radio, so that I could tell immediately if the power was off. That was
a BIG time saver. I went around the condo resetting the GFCI outlets,
each time listening for the radio to stop, but it didn't, until I went
out into the garage and tried the one next to the breaker box. Went
back into the condo: No radio. Reset the GFCI, went back into the
condo, and the radio was playing. So the riddle was solved.

To summarize, the complicating factor of having a switch inside
controlling the outside outlet, and also having the outlet controlled
by a different GFCI outlet, made it difficult for me to diagnose the
problem. But thanks to the advice from you all on the list, I was able
to finally figure it out.

Thanks again!


On Sun, Aug 26, 2012 at 3:59 PM, Rich <rich-mail at octoxol.com> wrote:
> Helpful hint... 120vAC 60 Hz is deadly and is more than capable of killing
> you quite dead.

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