Today I switched out an receptacle and when I turned the power back on and checked the outlet with my receptacle tester, everything was good. I switched out another receptacle with no issues that is on the same circuit and then checked both of the receptacles again. This time when I tested the first receptacle, a spark flew and the circuit was tripped. I am not positive, but I think I tested the second outlet on that receptacle this time.

You can see that the second hot terminal is the one that is burnt. Also, the I took a picture of the original receptacle along with the new one. The other odd thing is that the original receptacle had the hot wire attached with a wire nut and an extra inch of wire, even though there is plenty of wire in the box.

Any thoughts about what happened and what needs to be done?

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You have a metal junction box. It is properly grounded.

When you plugged in the tester into that receptacle, the receptacle moved a bit inside the box, and the screw came into contact with the side of the metal box. Or possibly a ground wire was bent up somewhere it sbould not be.

Solve it by wrapping the outlet in a couple turns of electrical tape, after screwing down any unused screws as Tester101 mentions.

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  • The original receptacle didn't have screw terminals, is this why it wouldn't have had screws? However, I did wrap the new one with tape and you can even see the singe mark from the terminal that sparked. Would there be any other reasons for this happening or maybe I didn't tape it well enough? – junta Jun 15 '17 at 15:00
  • @junta Proper electrical tape should have stopped it for sure unless it was being forcibly pinched by being screwed down. I generally go 3 layers. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 15 '17 at 15:37

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