I removed a data receptacle from my living room, and all the outlets to that room (the alarm system) and garage door are not working. After trying to diagnose the problem I’m left very puzzled!

  • the receptacle has two different data cables and one Romex cable
  • Data cables are both white,green,blue,orange, white/green
  • Romex is green,black,red,yellow.
  • nothing is tripped in the box
  • testing 120v on every breaker with a Volt meter
  • the receptacles that aren’t working are reading 0volts
  • all GFCI in the entire house have been reset and are working
  1. Is it possible one of the GFCIs is defective even though the outlet itself works?

  2. Does disconnected data cables have anything to do with loosing power to the entire room?

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  • what were those data cables for, did you just cut them off or disconected from what ?
    – Traveler
    Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 2:48
  • 2
    Why do you have a garage door in your living room? Are your electric(120v) outlets working or not? Is it only your low voltage(alarm, door bell,data) that stop working?
    – crip659
    Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 12:07
  • "all the outlets to that room (the alarm system) and garage door are not working." All the data outlets or all the 120v power outlets are not working. You've shown us a picture of low-voltage wiring, not 120V household AC wiring.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 12:16
  • Can you show us a picture of the "data receptacle" that you removed? I'm not familiar with any one "receptacle" that would have all these wires connected to it. Can you show us a picture of the receptacles that are no longer working also? And explain why you "removed" it .... when you appear to have also disconnected a bunch of wires without knowing what they are. The obvious answer would be to reconnect them. Did you note how they were connected before? A LOT more info is needed here.
    – jay613
    Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 12:27
  • 1
    ALL the cables/wires you've shown us in this picture are low voltage. The one on the right with the white/cream sheath looks like POTS phone wire. The two on the left look to be newer (they have some cord in them to improve bend/break resistance, and the colors look different), but they're still LV wiring. Probably for the alarm system.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 14:58

1 Answer 1


Romex is a brand name, but commonly used to refer to NM (non-metallic) sheathed multi-conductor cable for 120V/240V wiring.

What you have in the picture are 3 low voltage (i.e., telephone and/or networking) cables. Red/Green/Black/Yellow is extremely common for 2-pair telephone cable (Red/green for the first pair, black/yellow for the second pair, used for either two phone lines or a phone system with one pair for voice and one for control signals).

So none of that is what is commonly referred to as "Romex", and none of that should have anything to do with your 120V circuits. The insulation is almost certainly not rated for 120V, and the wires are way to small for even a basic 15A circuit. In addition, low voltage cables (phone, network, cable TV, burglar alarm, etc.) are never supposed to be in the same boxes, conduits, etc. as 120V circuits.

My best guess is that you have a loose connection somewhere near the data receptacle that you worked on, and now it has come apart, breaking the circuit. But it is also possible that it is a coincidence and totally unrelated.

GFCI is often a factor, but if a GFCI receptacle works then anything connected by the LOAD terminals should work as well. Possibilities (GFCI or not) include:

  • Loose screw connection
  • Bad backstab (and if you find one, replace the receptacle or at least move the wires to screw terminals)
  • Loose wire nut
  • Mouse chewed through a cable (evidence will include a dead toasted mouse)
  • Flipped switch - a switch can control a receptacle or a whole chain of receptacles. Not generally recommended, but stranger things have happened.

Keep hunting. And along the way, make a map of your circuits for the next time.

  • Thanks!! I thought the black,red,green,yellow was for delivering power. (I was confused why all three were connected to one Ethernet receptacle). I’ll start digging a little deeper, appreciate the thorough response! Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 14:53
  • 1
    It ended up being a faulty GFCI in the garage - Thanks again for all the information. Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 0:47

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