GE dryer won't start, what do these unusual voltages reading mean?

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Old 08-17-14, 10:31 AM
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Question GE dryer won't start, what do these unusual voltages reading mean?

I just moved into a new rental home that did not come with a dryer, so I picked one up off of Craigslist, a GE 5 cycle/large capacity dryer, and it came with a 3 prong cord. The outlet I have in the home is a 4 prong outlet, so I went to Lowe's, bought a 4 prong cord, and replaced the 3 prong cord.

I cannot get the dryer to start, and after following many YouTube videos online for diagnosing the dryer, I'm getting the feeling the issue is either with the cord itself, how it's wired to the dryer, or the wiring behind the wall. I've read that I should be getting 240 volts between L1 and L2, and 120 volts between L1/L2 and N. Below are the voltages I am getting:

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I'm getting 0 volts between L1 and N, and 240 volts between L2 and N, though I do get 240 volts between L1 and L2. Could this be why my dryer isn't starting? What do I need to do to get this dryer running again?
 
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Old 08-17-14, 11:54 AM
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You have an open neutral. What are the voltage readings at the wall receptacle? What is the model number of the dryer?
 
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Old 08-17-14, 12:09 PM
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Here are the GE dryer model and serial numbers:

Model: DCXR453EV0WW
Serial: VV721187A

To avoid electrocuting myself, can you tell me how to safely measure voltage from the wall receptacle? I'm not very experienced with a voltmeter, so would I literally just be sticking the prongs into each of slots on the wall receptacle? If so, which slots specifically? For reference, this is the receptacle:
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Old 08-17-14, 12:24 PM
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Yes, just stick the probes into the slots of the receptacle. Between the top and bottom slot should be 240vac and between top and right slot as well as bottom and right slot should be 120vac.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 12:38 PM
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Thanks for your continued help with this!

I measured voltage at the receptacle, and this is what I'm getting:

Between top and bottom, it'll flash between ~1500-1900 (when the voltmeter is set to 600 vac?) and either infinity or 1, can't really tell which.

Between the top/bottom and far right, it reads ~90vac.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 01:05 PM
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Inconclusive based on your readings. Have an electrician check out the dryer receptacle. You either have an open neutral in the power cord, unlikely since it's new, or something is amiss with the wiring to the receptacle.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 02:15 PM
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Just in case...

Fairbanks was referring to the slot positions as they appear in the photo here. Most times that receptacle is oriented with the rounded opening to the bottom. Sometimes pic's get flipped when they are posted, don't know why.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 02:28 PM
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The image hasn't been flipped, the receptacle is exactly as it appears in the photo. I did test the slotted positions, though I also tested the rounded one after I got the funky readings with the other three.

I wouldn't doubt something funky is going on with the wiring in the home - I've had to have a few things fixed upon moving in. I'll contact the landlord tonight and see about getting an electrician out here this week. I appreciate all of the help guys!
 
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Old 08-17-14, 02:37 PM
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Oh...and are you sure about your meter settings? Seems like I remember some older ones where you had to reposition the probes at certain voltage settings? Or was that for current?

Anyway, if you read voltage at the back of the dryer, you should have voltage in the receptacle. Your probes may not be making good contact.

Btw, did you ever see the dryer run? I'm not understanding 240V between white and black on the dryer. With an open neutral, I'd think you'd read zero from either hot.

Also, did you change the strap in the dryer going from 3 wire to 4? I can't remember if you attach it or remove it.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 02:39 PM
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Oh crap....didn't even ask if it was a rental and missed that you said it in your first sentence. Yep, thats the right thing to do.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 04:28 PM
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I'm not understanding 240V between white and black on the dryer. With an open neutral, I'd think you'd read zero from either hot.
With open neutral and timer on, L1 will backfeed through dryer wiring and appear at the neutral terminal on the cord connection block.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 04:52 PM
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I have not seen the dryer run, but I've been testing components - thermal fuse, door switch, timer, etc. and they all seem fine.

Regarding the strap, I meant to mention this in my initial post. There was no strap between N and a ground point. I found this odd as all of the guides I've seen had one that was removed during the 4 cord conversion. In my case there were just three wires going to the terminal block, and I chose the screw/mounting location for the ground wire you see in the previous picture.

I spoke with the landlord, and he wasn't very clear on what had happened with the previous tenants and the dryer receptacle. It sounds like the receptacle or something had melted, he had an electrician come out, but by the time it was fixed, the tenants had moved out and taken the dryer. Perhaps this electrician did not properly wire the replacement receptacle? Regardless, I should have an electrician coming out this week to look at it.

I appreciate all of the help guys.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 05:05 PM
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With open neutral and timer on, L1 will backfeed through dryer wiring and appear at the neutral terminal on the cord connection block.
Ahh true...I wasn't considering timer on. I just was thinking w/o the start circuit being energized there would be no potential. Are timers 240V?

A measurement from L1 and L2 to ground would probably have helped me.

Cashel...w/o messing with the wiring you could always just turn off the breakers and remove the receptacle cover to check wiring colors at least.
 
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