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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been a home service type electrician for almost 12 years now. I've been in business on my own for 4 years and I've finally been stumped! I have a homeowner who says that she loses power in her bedroom on a fairly regular basis. When I show up to troubleshoot, everything tests out fine. The breaker has been ruled out because other rooms on the same circuit remain on while her bedroom goes dark. I've checked all of the devices in the other rooms on the circuit and everything tests out fine and the connections are all good. I left her with a woody over the weekend and she said when the power went out it went off (open hot). The power always goes off in the middle of the night (from 11pm to 5am) and comes back on as the day progresses. Short of her being insane, what could it possibly be?? I'm stumped.
 

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What kind of "Woody" did you leave her with ?

Checked everything on that circuit for sure right ? Change the CB just to rule that out. Sounds like either the stabs in the receptacles come loose, or CB
 

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When you test, plug a load like a hair dryer or heater into the same duplex and time that you plug your meter into.

This will help show a loose connection which if I had to guess will be found in a back stabbed device.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
"Woody" in NC is your standard 3 light plug in tester. I was thinking the same thing about the back stabbed wires. I think I tested everything. Maybe it's time to tear the rest of the house apart. Usually when this type of thing happens it is the back stabbed outlets or broken connections. However, once the power goes out, it usually stays out or at least causes some flickering of lights or something. The fact that it happens at the same time and restores at the same time had me thinking that it was a faulty transformer on a charger or computer block. Now that i know it's open hot though I'm beginning to get frazzled.
 

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Why 11:00am - 5:30am ? somethings sounds like Bs. What is she/he doing up ? I once had a crazy lady, telling me she wanted a rewire, because the wires in the walls were too close to her bed, and the magnetic field was messing with her head ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When you test, plug a load like a hair dryer or heater into the same duplex and time that you plug your meter into.

This will help show a loose connection which if I had to guess will be found in a back stabbed device.

We had lights on while we were testing and couldn't find any loose connections. I like the idea of an audible device to indicate power though. I think maybe we're missing an outlet or switch or junction box in a place that seems out of place. Any thought on the regularity of the times that it goes out and comes back on????
 

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"Woody" in NC is your standard 3 light plug in tester.
The problem with that tester is that it takes very little voltage to light the LEDs.

If you have a really bad connection the LEDs could light but when you try to run a really load off the circuit it goes dead.
 

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As you probably know, you have to go to the ones that are working. Look for those recepts in hard to find places, like for alarm systems in closets, or up on a high pot shelf somewhere.

Change the CB out also !
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Why 11:00am - 5:30am ? somethings sounds like Bs. What is she/he doing up ? I once had a crazy lady, telling me she wanted a rewire, because the wires in the walls were too close to her bed, and the magnetic field was messing with her head ?
This is what I'm thinking. Could there be more to the story that she's not telling me? I've also known crazy ladies like this. We've been thinking that she's making this up for attention. The power is always magically restored when we show up. I told her I may have to spend the night, but she just laughed. What if I pretend to fix it? Do you think that might work?
;)
 

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We had lights on while we were testing and couldn't find any loose connections. I like the idea of an audible device to indicate power though.
The noise could be helpful but I mentioned a hair dryer as they often draw 1200 to 1500 watts which loads the circuit down much better than a 60 watt lamp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The problem with that tester is that it takes very little voltage to light the LEDs.

If you have a really bad connection the LEDs could light but when you try to run a really load off the circuit it goes dead.
We did test with conventional meters. I thought this may be a little out of her comfort zone though when the power goes out so I dumbed it down the best I could. I'd love her to troubleshoot when it goes out, but it's always back on when I get there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The noise could be helpful but I mentioned a hair dryer as they often draw 1200 to 1500 watts which loads the circuit down much better than a 60 watt lamp.

Sure. The breaker is holding fine though and only her master bed suite goes dead. There's no dimming or flickering of lights. It magically goes out and magically comes back on. I replaced the circuit breaker early on but the remainder of the circuit remains live while her power goes out. That's why I checked "all" of the devices on the circuit.
 

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Face it, if she single, she's hunting. Tell her to call you back when it is out, so you can test it. And maybe use the "Woody"
 

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Why 11:00am - 5:30am...?
That's what I want to know. And how is she finding it? Most people would be asleep.

Assuming she's sane, she's almost certainly doing something that's causing this to happen that regularly.

And the other side of this is: When I did maintenance I had a lady raise holy hell about her furnace being broken. After enough trips to examine her perfectly functional furnace, I screwed a dummy thermostat to the sheetrock in her room. Told her to adjust it whenever she got cold.

She never bothered me again. Food for thought.

-John
 

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The head board of the bed is smashing the plug of a cracked receptacle.

Load it up as said, or use a meggar on the circuit.

It might also be a short on a metal hvac trunk, heat goes off at night and makes circuit back off comes back in the morning, IE just enough to expand and contract on a open hot wire. Cure; turn on heat and if all metal a tic-tester will sing at grill. (old houses are usually all metal)
 

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just some ideas

-condo, apartment, duplex, or single family home (switches/timers from other areas controlling the ckt) ?

-how long has she lived there (does the br light turn off the plug and she doesn't know that) ?

-recently divorced/spiteful exspouse ?

-dead spouse that was handyman ? (look for hidden timers that turned things off at night)

-power company power saver, water heater timer, appliance timer that's wired wrong or bootlegged into that ckt ?

-does she have 240 at the main ? (ckt backfed thru water heater when its on cause she's missing a leg?)

-it is possible some harry wired a crazy 3 leg or used the neutral on a 3 leg in an adjacent room, and some crazy hallway or closet switch is turning it off. If you really want to trouble shoot it, tell her if it goes off not to touch anything at all and call you to make a service call. It would be nice if she kept a log - what time it went off and what was the last switch or electrical item she touched, etc, to help you figure it out.

-next time it goes out if you still can't figure it out:
a) find everything that is fed on that circuit, trace wiring if possible
b) turn off everything but the breaker feeding that, check to see if there is another breaker in the panel that is backfed, trace everything out on that circuit

-swap the circuit it's fed onto another breaker, and lock it out. don't tell her the locked out breaker is the one feeding it, tell her it's feeding something else but you want to check it. put tape on the breaker that it was fed on and tell her not to touch the breakers. tell her to take a pic of the woody when it goes out. see if she messes with the taped breaker. if she's a nut case the locked out breaker will drive her nuts and/or she'll find a new problem, which may or may not be real since you've swapped the ckt.
 
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