57 volt reading

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  #1  
Old 12-02-02, 11:00 AM
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ellbeegood
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57 volt reading

Hi- I'm reading voltage at an outlet of 57-62 volts, on the hot/black side back to either neutral/white or to ground, zero volts read from neutral to ground. I thought my neutral was broken, but if so, shouldn't I still read 110 off the hot side? What has happened here?

Thank you for any information you can provide.
 
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Old 12-02-02, 11:18 AM
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Looks like you may be dealing with phatom voltages that is assuming your voltmeter is not broken or a digital meter.
First thing to look for is a GFCI that might be tripped somewhere in the house, another thing to look for is a wire that has come loose from the receptacle or the one feeding the one in question. In many cases receptacles that have backstabbed connects have this kind of problem the wire comes loose and no longer makes a connection. Another thing to check ... is it a switched receptacle I read somewhere about someone having a problem and all it was that someone had turned off a switch that everyone assumed didn't work.

Rather then check voltages with a meter it is adviseable to try and use a receptacle tester the plug in variety it might help you out.
 
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Old 12-02-02, 11:18 AM
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Phantom voltage. Readings with a digital voltmeter on an unloaded circuit that are between 10 and 100 should be treated as if they were zero.

In your case, I think the hot wire is an open circuit.
 
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Old 12-02-02, 11:37 AM
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ellbeegood
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same problem, extended

Originally, the outlet would sometimes work, which was odd enough. Old place, here. I changed out the GFI breaker (that's how old the place is!) and that didn't help. Assumed it quit working when heat expanded a loose connection.

Saw where people had drilled holes and nailed nails above the outlet, so I took out 1/2 the wall to look at the wire, it appears undamaged. The wire, not the wall!

Yes, digital meter. Yes, backstabbed outlet, and the neutral pulled out easily. I took voltage readings from the wires, not from the outlet. No, it is not a switched outlet.

Next step is to take down the light fixture and check for spare wire ends floating around up there. If that isn't the problem, I guess I'll have to take out the rest of the wall and pull new wire from the fixture, unless you have a better idea? Please?
 
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Old 12-02-02, 12:17 PM
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Could you submit a more exact description of the problem? You mention "outlet" and "fixture". Switch, fixture, and receptacles are all "outlets". We'll need to know the exact type of "outlet".Is the problem one outlet or more than one? A GFI breaker-not a GFI receptacle-is not an "indication" of an "old place". A GFI device is considered "Modern".-----What was the first indication that there was a problem with the "outlet"?-what exactly failed to operate?---
 
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Old 12-02-02, 12:19 PM
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The best bet is to check carefully for loose connections somewhere between the panel and this receptacle. if the receptacle is fed from the ceiling fixture then by all means check there. If the problem started intermediatly then I would check any wirenut connections for that is a common problem the wire is not sitting good in the wirenut and when heat increases the wire viberates looser and looser until it does not make connection at all.
 
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Old 12-02-02, 05:01 PM
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ellbeegood
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1st indication of a problem was when I moved into this place, and the outdoor standard electrical wall outlet did not work. We ran an extension cord thru the bathroom window, to access the standard electrical wall outlet there. Our power tool worked okay that day. (we were drilling holes in plywood, unrelated to house)Next day, I attempted to use my hair dryer. Hair dryer started, then quit on me. Checked breakers, no problem. Checked voltage at wall outlet, had voltage! Hair dryer ran for 30 more seconds, maybe, before quitting again....no voltage reading at outlet; again no breakers were tripped.

Next day just for giggles stuck a night-light into the outlet. It worked. Plugged in hair dryer. It didn't work. Became disgusted with the whole stupid outlet situation and went on to other projects.

Now I want the outlet to work! I have not determined whether the power is fed from the ceiling-mounted light fixture, but suspect it is, as the feed for the wall outlet runs down from the ceiling, there behind the wall. I figure if I loosen everything and pull on one end, the other end ought to move, and I hope it will move easily, in case I have to pull another piece of wire.

I have had no problems with the ceiling light fixture, nor with the switch which operates said fixture. Which switch, BTW, breaks the black/hot wire.
 
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Old 12-02-02, 05:12 PM
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There is a possibility that the outlet may be fed from an outside light too is there one in the area? If you can determine the first piece of equipment not affected before the recepacle then it should make things easier.
 
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Old 12-03-02, 09:02 AM
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If I have correctly construed your description of the problem, you have a duplex receptacle in the bathroom that "works/ doesn't work".----Is it a GFI receptacle or a "standard" receptacle.? GFI protection is required for bathroom AND out-door receptacle and you mention an OD receptacle not working.-----Eliminate you hair-dryer as part of the problem. Test the hair-dryer plugged into a receptacle you know is "alive". I would avoid voltage "readings" at the receptacle for testing purposes.
 
  #10  
Old 12-04-02, 11:47 AM
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JOK
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I had almost the exact same thing happen to me. It turned out to be a loose wire nut in the junction box that fed that circuit. Hope this helps
 
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