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Old 03-21-2015, 07:49 PM   #1
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Is anyone here a real life electrician?

I have a weird situation where my detached garage lost power...well actually, last month it lost half its power, now today, all power.
There's a double breaker in the house for it, it travels underground, enters the garage and there's another breaker panel in there.
I'll be attempting some amateur diagnostics tomorrow and am going to buy one of those analog circuit tester things.
Just wondering if anyone has spare time for a phone chat if I get confused or need guidance.
I've checked GFCI outlets and none seem tripped. The double breaker seems fine but I have a spare if that's the culprit but this stuff is puzzling to me.
I know the best thing is actually having an electrician come out but I'm in the sticks and also don't have money to throw at a professional right now. I'm pretty handy with most things but never really messed with electricity stuff cause I thought it was too complicated but in these times of YouTube and Interweb , I could learn to make a flux capacitor.
I moved here in my Northern NH house a year ago and don't know very many people, let alone people that know how to help with stuff like that.
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:56 PM   #2
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A multimeter will be needed. FaceTime on a smart phone may help as far as phone calls.
Please be careful, it can be so dangerous.
I wish I had the time. I will follow thread. A barter/ trade for services may work. Case of beer or something.
Good luck.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:23 PM   #3
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I've been watching some YouTube videos about it while doing my overnight shift. I'll pick up a multimeter on the way home. I'm hoping the double post breaker inside the house is the culprit. Next I'll check two outside GFI outlets that may be between the house and garage. After that all I can think of is some sort of physical break in the underground line. I don't see how that could have happened but with rain water and ground freezing here in the North, anything possible. I'll updates tomorrow night.
After watching some videos, it's somewhat less intimidating but still.....electricity.
Electricity...and mean dogs...neither one cares if you don't have bad intentions...they bite. And don't stop just because you yell owwwweeeeee.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:29 PM   #4
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Is anyone here a real life electrician?

I can walk you through but you do need to be careful. First thing to do would be to take a multimeter and check power at the 2pole breaker at the house panel and see if you have 240 volts there. I would not think the GFI outlets on the house would be between the house and garage. Also what size 2 pole breaker is it? And what is the wire size? The GFI outlets should not be on a 2 pole breaker. What I see a lot of times with detached garages and sheds is people don't run large enough wire to save money or they think they just need a couple lights and end up adding too much later.


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Old 03-21-2015, 11:49 PM   #5
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Is anyone here a real life electrician?

The 2 pole breaker in the main panel should feed directly to the sub panel in the detached garage. You can hit me up if you need to and yes I am a real life electrician.


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Old 03-22-2015, 01:21 AM   #6
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Thanks Dave, I believe the two pole leaving the house is 240 and does go directly to the sub panel in the garage. There's two trees outside also with GFI outlets under them that come out of the yard. I wasn't sure if those were somehow involved though. I'll check the size on that double post and wires and use the multimeter to get some updated info.
Also..the garage door opener, there's two sensors near the floor. And they sense a break in the beam and stop the door from closing..well those have a green light on them that's still lit up. Weird. But the opener and no lights are working.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:33 AM   #7
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Is anyone here a real life electrician?

Those GFIs should come from either the house panel or the garage sub not tapping the feed between the two. It's also possible you just lost neutral.

Edit: that may explain why those lights are lit. There probably powered by a low voltage transformer in the opener that's completing the circuit to ground. Once you check power you can start at receptacle and see if you have power to ground.
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Old 03-22-2015, 02:56 AM   #8
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Those GFIs should come from either the house panel or the garage sub not tapping the feed between the two. It's also possible you just lost neutral.

Edit: that may explain why those lights are lit. There probably powered by a low voltage transformer in the opener that's completing the circuit to ground. Once you check power you can start at receptacle and see if you have power to ground.
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Lost neutral? Power to ground? I'm not sure what that means but I'll start by using the multimeter to make sure power is leaving the house ( I may even put in the new breaker just for good measure) and then I'll check the sub panel to see if it's coming in. After that idk
The previous issue a month ago was that only half the sub panel was receiving power, like every other breaker. I didn't do anything to fix it then and now it seems like the whole garage is no power.
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Old 03-22-2015, 03:12 AM   #9
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Is anyone here a real life electrician?

Your right first thing you need to do is check power at the house panel. Quick crash course from the panel you'll have 2 Hot legs and a neutral each hot leg feeds half the panel. The neutral ties into the neutral bar of the panel along with the neutrals of all the circuits in the panel. Either hot leg and neutral is 120 volts. Voltage across the hot legs is 240 volt It could be several things once you get a meter you'll be able to figure it out


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Old 03-22-2015, 03:30 AM   #10
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Awesome, I think I understand what you're describing and it will be easier when I see it again in person. I saw something like what you're talking about on a video about replacing a double post breaker and it showed using the meter on those legs and the bar as well. I'll give this a go in a few more hours when I get home and post an update.
Thanks so much for your help so far
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Old 03-22-2015, 06:40 AM   #11
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Now, just need to figure out which holes the red and black wires plug into and which setting I turn the dial to for what I'm looking for. The double breaker is a 30. And by that I mean it says 30 twice on it. Two breakers with one bar switch.
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Old 03-22-2015, 07:05 AM   #12
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Is anyone here a real life electrician?

Good Morning! Can't read face of meter pic blurry but Black plugs into COM


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Old 03-22-2015, 07:14 AM   #13
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Is anyone here a real life electrician?

Your meter dual should be turned to Volts (V) range for AC current which is a symbol that looks like an inverted s the other V range is DC current which is a solid line with three dots.


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Old 03-22-2015, 08:03 AM   #14
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Sounds to me like the underground cable to the garage is bad . Not a hard fix just lots of digging


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Old 03-22-2015, 01:59 PM   #15
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ok. i slept due to being exhausted and was going to start on this now but while i slept, i got a text that i have to work 12 hours tonight also...im on call. so i will try all this in another day or so. Dave, thanks for everything so far, ill probably just PM you and give you my cell number so maybe i can ask about these meter dial settings. im so freakin tired! 57 hours this week and already theyre calling me in on my first day off.
Bill
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Old 03-22-2015, 03:05 PM   #16
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ok. i slept due to being exhausted and was going to start on this now but while i slept, i got a text that i have to work 12 hours tonight also...im on call. so i will try all this in another day or so. Dave, thanks for everything so far, ill probably just PM you and give you my cell number so maybe i can ask about these meter dial settings. im so freakin tired! 57 hours this week and already theyre calling me in on my first day off.
Bill

That's fine I understand


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