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Bad outlet?

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  • Bad outlet?

    I was at my friends last night in his shop. He plugged in a 2gal compressor in the same outlet he always does. When the compressor kicked on it completed first cycle. When it kicked on the second time it just hummed and sparked(fried). He also just fried a dremal in the same outlet two days ago.
    He's been using this outlet for 5years with no problems.
    In between dremal and compressor he used chop saw and drill with no problems.
    He thinks saw dust is getting into outlet so he keeps it covered with tape when not in use but some still gets in.
    No breakers have been tripping.
    We were thinking maybe a short in wire but wouldn't this cause the breaker to trip?
    Also thinking lose wire but wouldn't this just cause outlet to lose power and not work.
    Could it be just a coincidence and nothing wrong with the outlet?
    We were also talking about how handy the little compressor was and how its compact size makes it so easy to move around, then all of a sudden , POOF. I think the outlet was jealous and killed the compressor.
    INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
    Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

  • #2
    Re: Bad outlet?

    It's possible that the wires in the outlet have become loose (most likely the neutral). Turn off the circuit breaker that supplies the outlet (an easy way to verify that it's off is to keep a lamp plugged into to, when the breaker is off the lamp will be also) and then remove the outlet from the wall.

    Most likely the wires are just pushed into the back of the outlet. Cut them and strip them out and wrap them around the screws on the sides and tighten the screws down good and tight. Replace.

    If there are any further problems it would be best to call in a pro to further troubleshoot.

    Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Bad outlet?

      I'd replace the outlet.Yes the wires might have come loose but if several things fried in it another possibility is the tension in the outlet is likely no good anymore..old age sets into everything and if the outlet has been used a lot it might no longer grip a male plug enough for good contact...bad contact equals heat ..heat equals more heat and heat in metals transfers fast.So change the outlet and as suggested land the wires on the screws
      Sam

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Bad outlet?

        Before you toss the compressor check a few things.
        You say there is lots of dust in the shop, it may be packed in the capacitor start switch in the back of the motor. It is a centrifugal switch that introduces a capacitor to the windings to start the motor, if the switch does not make the motor just hums.
        The other possibility is that the unloader is not working, this is in the pneumatic circuit of the compressor and is responsible for removing the pressure from the cylinder when the compressor stops, it is the burst of air you hear when a compressor shuts off. If the compressor will run when the tank is empty and then fails on recharge it is likely the unloader.

        Never hurts to put in a new receptacle, I always use spec grade receptacles in my shop due to the heavy loads and constant use with different devices.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Bad outlet?

          Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll mention a new outlet and landing wires on the screws to him. He's VERY CHEAP. He even saves all his used nails and pounds them back into shape. He didn't buy one nail to build his entire garage. You'd think he went through the depression or something. He salvaged the outlets from a 1970's Mobil home. When I tell him you guys say he should upgrade he'll probably end up salvaging from a 80's Mobil home.
          I've always used the screw to attach my wire to the outlet because it just seems like a much better hold. Are you guys saying that the push in shouldn't be used?
          INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
          Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Bad outlet?

            As far as I know, you can only use the "push-in" on a 15 amp circuit with 14 ga. wire. I have seen people force some 12 gauge wire in them as well (thats a violation).

            Personally, I do not use the push-in terminals, I've seen too many of them that have failed and allowed wires to back out.

            regards,

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Bad outlet?

              If at all possible, don't use those back stab push in terminals, they're just ----
              in my book. I've taken apart way too many devices where they were used. They work loose from the constant heating and cooling that electrical devices go through. And I've seen them where the wires have actually gotten so hot that they melted the insulation off the wires and began to burn. (Yes, this really is how electrical fires start). I insist that devices be wired with the wire wrapped (two bites of meat is better than one) around the screw terminal in the correct direction so as you tighten the screw, the loop is constricted around the screw's axis. Klein even has a screwdriver with a stub just beyond the plastic handle to help make the loops but any long-nose pliers will form a perfect loop every time. Do it right the first time and you won't have to ever worry about your connections. Also pigtail inside the box for your hots and neutrals, no using the device as the pass-through to the next device. Jim Don

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Bad outlet?

                Originally posted by JimDon View Post
                Also pigtail inside the box for your hots and neutrals, no using the device as the pass-through to the next device. Jim Don
                Your'e getting some good advice here,

                Regards,

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Bad outlet?

                  Originally posted by biscuit View Post
                  As far as I know, you can only use the "push-in" on a 15 amp circuit with 14 ga. wire. I have seen people force some 12 gauge wire in them as well (thats a violation).

                  Personally, I do not use the push-in terminals, I've seen too many of them that have failed and allowed wires to back out.

                  regards,
                  Yes, the old receptacles used to take 12AWG in the back stab connections. Now days, receptacles only accept 14AWG wire, so they are limited to 15A circuits.
                  I've seen way too many loose and disconnected back stabbed connections. They are just not a good idea.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Bad outlet?

                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by JimDon
                    Also pigtail inside the box for your hots and neutrals, no using the device as the pass-through to the next device. Jim Don

                    Your'e getting some good advice here,
                    Holy crap now that is overkill. Do it if you want but it's not at all necessary.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Bad outlet?

                      Originally posted by GilBeQuick View Post
                      Quote:
                      Originally Posted by JimDon
                      Also pigtail inside the box for your hots and neutrals, no using the device as the pass-through to the next device. Jim Don



                      Holy crap now that is overkill. Do it if you want but it's not at all necessary.
                      Actually, its not a bad idea to do this!! It might be overkill, but you don;t loose every outlet on the circuit if a wire comes loose or breaks on one outlet. This separates the good electricians from the best of them. Lou

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Bad outlet?

                        No no, you're absolutely correct it's not a bad idea at all and is definately a higher quality install. I am a quality oriented electrian and do well above average work. IMO, this is one place that I wouldn't put the extra time into.

                        Comment

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