Very weird

Old 12-23-02, 12:35 PM
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Very weird

-We have aluminum wiring in our house
-The receptacle was working just fine before
-With the breaker on and nothing attached I get a reading of 103 volts
-With the breaker on and a receptable attached I get a reading of 82 volts.
-20 amp circuit

All I wanted to do was move a plug up about 2.5 feet. I double-checked the breaker, then turned it off, disconnected the plug, measured, cut a home in the drywall where I wanted the new box. Cut the wire on the joist. Stipped the wire, pigtailed it to copper wiring using non-oxidizing wire nuts, and attached it to the plugs. Turned it on, could not get the lamp to work. Did the measurements above with my volt meter. Now I have no idea why the power goes down so suddenly when I attach the receptacle (standard co/lar four post plug from levitan).

Anybody have any ideas?

Thank you,

Dale Hanks (kodijack)
Old 12-23-02, 01:05 PM
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You have a loose or oxidised connection somewhere, both voltages are very low.
Old 12-23-02, 01:08 PM
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thank you

Thank you Trinitro. I appreciate the quick response. I did a voltage reading on another outlet and got 127. Then I tried on another one and got 65 on one side and 65 on the other. I did some more research and that it appears that circuit must be bad as well.

I will trace the wire and try and figure out what could be loose.

Thank you,

Dale Hanks (kodijack)
Old 12-23-02, 02:06 PM
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What do you mean by a receptacle attached?

Resistance only comes into play when there is a load on the circuit. If the voltage changes when you apply a load, then resistance is the culprit, and it is very dangerous.

If the voltage is low with no load, then the testing procedure is incorrect.

First, disconnect your new receptacle. Then use a large load like your vacuum cleaner on an adjacent receptacle on the same circuit. Post voltage readings with the vacuum cleaner on and with it off.

I think you probably have a simple open circuit and are measuring phantom voltage. Double check all you work.

BTW, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the use of CO/ALR receptacles without pigtails or wire nuts (even appropriate ones) when dealing with aluminum wire.
Old 12-23-02, 02:13 PM
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Thank you John.

I am going to trace that circuit very carefully and report back if I can do what you asked with a vaccuum cleaner.

I am getting all sorts of different answers as to how to deal with aluminum wiring.

1)Use wire nuts with anti-oxidising goop inside of them for the pigtail

2)Just use CO/LAR receptacles directly to the alunimum wiring.

3)Only use a specific patented method that actually puts a cold weld onto the aluminum/copper connection (

4)Use regular wire nuts with anti-oxidizing ointment.

Thank you.

Dale Hanks (kodijack)

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