Our backyard lamp and electric outlet stopped working and I am trying to figure out what else I can try to get this working again. I've already tried toggling the switches on the electric panel. I am not sure if it is safe and appropriate to swap out the fuses (see picture). Any advice, tips, or suggestions would be appreciated.

Electric Outlet

The electric outlet used to work and somehow just stopped. I am interested to know what things I can try to bring this back online. I am used to working with low voltage at work for data and I'd like to know what I can safely evaluate.



Our lamp in the backyard used to work just fine. One day without warning it just seems to have stopped (the outlet socket is not producing electricity and the lights no longer come on).


Electric Panel

The panel seems to indicate that the electric lamp is controlled from this location. I've tried toggling the switches without getting the power back on to the outdoor lamp.


Fuse Box

Our house has one or more fuse boxes like this one. If I need to change a fuse, how would I do so safely?


Update 02/08/18

I am continuing to research this issue based on the very helpful comments and will go out today in search of the proper tools to test for connectivity (I welcome any recommendations).

Lamp Switch

On the opposite side of the electric outlet, the lamp has two switches. One feels a bit mushy when pressed and the other clicks firmly. Toggling has no visible effect on the situation.


  • That white handle in the fuse box is a disconnect. You can pull it out and safely replace the fuse. Be aware as you work that some parts of the hardware are still energized, such as the disconnect prongs. Those appear to be 40A fuses, though, which probably don't go to that light fixture.
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 20:02
  • 2
    The bottom line is that you need to find out where the light is fed from and work backward until you find voltage.
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 20:02
  • 4
    That outdoor outlet should be GFCI protected, but it's not itself a GFCI outlet and I don't see any GFCI breakers in your panel. So - do you have an outlet somewhere nearby (either inside or outside) which is a GFCI outlet (and may be feeding this outdoor one), and have you tried pressing its Test/Reset buttons?
    – brhans
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 20:24
  • 1
    I really doubt you need to touch those fuses. I came to post the same comment that @brhans did. I have a GFCI outlet in the garage that my 2 outside outlets are wired to, so the controlling GFCI could really be anywhere in the house (probably in another "wet" location).
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 20:52
  • 1
    I would look for a GFCI outlet close to the switch that operates the lighrs, many times in the past I have used a GFCI outlet in the entry close to the front door for the outside lights and receptacles. By having the GFCI inside they were not damaged by moisture but were conveniently located if the outdoor outlet or device that was in use got wet.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 0:15

1 Answer 1


I'm just sharing the answer and outcomes to this question. Hope it helps someone else. Thanks to everyone for the comments especially isherwood and Ed Beal for leading me in the right direction.

I found additional GFCI switches and outlets in the backyard shed. The original owner apparently wired this in series to the outdoor lamp.

There was a GFCI outlet with a reset button which when reset did not actually reset (the light on the reset tab stayed open):


After that, I found an electrician and pointed them to the problematic outlet. Another hint was that the outdoor light outside the shed had been displaying unusual behavior (it has a motion detector and it started to stay on all night at about the same time our lamp went out.)


Once the shed condition was repaired, the lamp and electric socket began working again. I sure would like to really understand what the technical fix was (if anyone is inclined to share some insight; it'd be much appreciated). I try to learn from each experience so I'd like to understand what could have caused this and how it was fixed.

I guessed that the original issue might be related to weather and added a flip box over the two outdoor switches.


Just not sure how the electrician resolved the open circuit in the shed.

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