11 posts / 0 new
Last post
bdub46
Circuit not Working

I live in a 25 year old Double-Wide Trailer (Manufactured Home).

I have an electrical circuit that's not working (it has at least three outlets - no switched circuits - on it).

None of the Breakers have tripped. I have no access to the wiring in circuits (they are buried in the walls and there are panels covering the bottom of the house). I have traced out the circuit breakers to determine what's on them and they all have live circuits on them.

I have also done a Voltage check at the wires connected to the outlets and the circuits are dead. Bad outlets is definately not the problem.

So, how does one check for what's causing this problem??

Fixing this problem I expect will be a whole lot easier than finding it.

Thanks for the help.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Circuit not Working

First, how did you check to see that the circuit is dead?

Many times it is assumed that a circuit is dead when it is the neutral that is missing. If the wires are in the stab connectors (in the holes in the back of the receptacles) rather than on the screws they may not be making contact.
Jack

NEC
Re: Circuit not Working

Where are the receptacles located?
Typically there will be more than three receptacles on a circuit so it may be that this is the end of a run of several more. You might pull the receptacles out and see what the wiring looks like. It could be that two of them have two pairs of wires in them and one has only one pair. If that is the case then I would suspect a problem between the receptacle furthest from the receptacle with only one pair and the next nearest receptacle to it that is still hot.

Also, many manufactured homes come as plug and play meaning the two halves have the circuit wiring plugged together when they are set up.

If you find what I described above and find that the nearest hot plug is on the other half of the home it could be that a connector failed.

bdub46
Re: Circuit not Working

I pulled the outlet and put a meter on the wires. There are two sets of wires going to the outlet I examined and whose wires I tested. This is the outlet that is closest to the Main panel.

I did not just stick something into the outlet and see that it did not work.

All of the wires are dead (including the Ground).

To be sure I replaced the plug entirely.

bdub46
Re: Circuit not Working

The outlets are all on the same side of the Home. I have not done much with the other outlets as they are further from the Main Panel. I know of no Junction Boxes on any circuit anywhere in the home so I feel that I have eliminated that as a cause.

However, just to go through the process of elimination I will double check the other outlets as well. I just feel that the further a dead outlet is from the Main Panel the less likely it is to have a live set of wires in it. Particularly if there are closer outlets.

bdub46
Re: Circuit not Working

I forgot to mention the wires are indeed in the Stab Connections. However, I checked the wires themselves (all of them - including the ground) so I feel something like a bad connection is not the cause.

A. Spruce
Re: Circuit not Working

Just as in a real house, a trailer will have (or at least should have ) all electrical connections contained within a box. When the two halves are mated together, there are two junction boxes under the trailer where all of the wires dead end. The installer connects these two boxes with jumpers when the trailer is set up.

As you said, the trick will be finding the problem. If you've checked your outlets and the connections are all good there, then it's time to go under and hunt for the main junction boxes. They should be pretty easy to find. Locate the service panel where the power comes into the house, usually the junction boxes are straight in from there.

bdub46
Re: Circuit not Working

The only problem I have with your solution is that unlike a regular house I do not have open Joists under the Floor. They covered them up with some kind of Paneling at the factory.

I know that all Junction Boxes are supposed to be accessable, but I have yet to find any in this place.

However, I will go back to the crawlspace and continue checking. I'll let you know what the result is. This could take a while; so, please be patient.

A. Spruce
Re: Circuit not Working

The junction box should be accessible, none-the-less. The bottom of my trailer has a fabric sheet hiding all things above the steel frame, with the exception of the junction boxes which must be accessible for when the two halves of the trailer are joined.

bdub46
Re: Circuit not Working

Partial information - only - I will need more time to finish the inspection underneath. Might not get back to you folk for a few weeks. Bear with me there.

I looked closer, and like your trailer there is fabric there not paneling, as I erroneously thought earlier.

I found two Junction Boxes (without Covers on them - don't know why - but this is both not good and suspicious).

But before I go ripping into the fabric covering (to trace the circuits back). I want to be sure that I can restore the covering to at least as good as it is now.

And I also want to have a helper up above to let me know which Circuit Breakers (assuming that I have live wires in there - and I had best have 'some' live wires there) go to these two Junction Boxes. So, I can mark the Covers for their respective Circuit Breaker(s). Find it and fix it as I go is my current plan.

Right now I don't know if Ihave found all of the Junction Boxes that I need to (too dark, too cob-webby, too many pipes, and other things obscuring vision). So, my plan is to keep searching the Trailers underside until I get to the area under the last Outlet to be sure I've found them all - although I'm thinking that most likely the real problem will be in a near Junction Box not a far one. Safe is best - a little exrta time now could save a lot later.

A. Spruce
Re: Circuit not Working

What, you're not impressed by exposed electrical and open boxes? Personally, I wouldn't read too much into the lack of cover plates on the junction boxes. I've been under more than a few trailers and to be honest, you're lucky if you do find a cover plate.

A little information on trailers that you may or may not know. First and foremost, there is absolutely no one that is responsible for the trailer other than the final owner. The manufacturer passes all liability on to the sales lot when the unit leaves the plant. The sales lot is no longer responsible once it leaves their property, and the contractor who installs it is no longer responsible when his truck leaves the driveway because all of it was built by someone else. How's that for a chain of passing the buck? It's set up this way for good reason, trailers -ALL OF THEM - are garbage! They are built with substandard materials with substandard workmanship. Just how bad are they? Local building departments WILL NOT ALLOW contractors to build a structure this bad!

I'm currently reroofing a double wide, you want scary? The two halves are lag bolted together with 5" lags, at a very steep angle, through the plywood deck. The deck is only 3/8" plywood. The ridge "beam" is one strip of 3/4" plywood. Half of the bolts were loose - could be removed with fingertips. Two bolts were on top of the deck and just roofed over, these too were removed with fingertips. The trusses, if you can call them that, have a 2x2 top cord, 1x2 webbing, and a 2x3 laying flat for the bottom cord which is also what the ceiling drywall is hanging from.

Sorry for the rant, but not only should it be criminal for these things to be built, the manufacturers should be put out of business and slapped so hard that their great, great, great, grandkids feel it.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.