voltage on neutral wire

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  #1  
Old 05-22-05, 12:06 PM
JimTex
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voltage on neutral wire

I started having problem in one room with one of the outlets. When I unplugged a cord from the outlet, the whole wall lost power, which is certainly not supposed to happen, so we deicided to replace the outlet. Now that whole wall doesn't work anymore. When you test the hot wire to ground you get about 125V, and when you test neutral to ground you also get 125V, and of course that means when you test neutral to hot you get 0. Does anyone have any ideas on what could be causing this? The breaker didn't trip, and the power is on. Its not on every outlet on that breaker, just the ones on the same wall as the bad one. Do you know what would be causing this, or what to do to fix it?
 
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  #2  
Old 05-22-05, 12:15 PM
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Unplug everything on that circuit and turn off all the light switches. Then repeat the test. If you do it right, there will no longer be voltage on the neutral.

You have an open neutral. It could be in any box on the circuit, usually the result of a failed backstab (wire poked into a hole) of a white wire. Remake all connections in all boxes on the circuit, moving all backstabs to the adjacent screws and checking all wires in wire nuts.
 
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Old 05-22-05, 12:37 PM
JimTex
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results of reply:voltage on neutral, tried suggestion

After turning everything off, unplugging all of the things on it I get voltage on ouch, I found voltage on the suspect outlet as it should be. Will replace the outlet as you suggest and try again.
 
  #4  
Old 05-22-05, 03:58 PM
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You probably do not have to replace anything. A connection has come loose. You need to check all of the connections on the circuit, even those receptacles that seem to work okay. Move any backsatabbed connections to the screw terminals while you are doing this.
 
  #5  
Old 05-22-05, 06:00 PM
JimTex
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After following these steps, and after a few tests, we have made a few discoveries. The supply black wire has 120v as expected, and the supply neutral has 0v, as expected, however, when you conect the output black(which has 0v before connected), both the output hot and neutral have 120V downstream (this is with a new outlet). So would I be correct in asusming that the white wire is crossed with the black wire at some point? Or is there something else that would cause this ???
 
  #6  
Old 05-22-05, 06:09 PM
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Are you using a digital voltmeter? Put it away. Do not use it for your tests.

Did you check each and every receptacle, switch and light on this circuit?

You have an open connection somewhere. You need to find it. Forget this receptacle. Look at the others.
 
  #7  
Old 05-22-05, 06:52 PM
JimTex
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I'm not using a digital voltmeter. I have checked all the recepticles on this circuit(minus 1), and they all display the same behavior.... Though I do have an outlet I suspect, unfortunately there is a large heavy bed in the way....... though.... and assuming the wiring order is fairly logical (which our house isn't wired logically at all), thats the first outlet that displays that behavior...

Edit: I take that back... the first outlet (going counterclockwise around the room) to display this behavior is the problem outlet...

Edit again: Oh wait, when the fan switch is off the problem does not exist, so I would venture a guess that the problem lies there..?

And more editing: Ok, 12 hours later, we found the offending neutral wire, however, we don't know where its getting powered. It was in a fan switch, and when we disconnect that neutral, everything works except for the fan, so I guess that was the problem
 

Last edited by JimTex; 05-22-05 at 08:44 PM.
  #8  
Old 05-23-05, 04:32 AM
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You have to look at the receptacles that work as well as the ones that do not work. Keep looking.
 
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