Ground is Hot

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  #1  
Old 08-21-05, 05:33 PM
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Ground is Hot

I have a problem that I hope someone can help me with. Using #12 wires (white, black and green) I wired two receptacles and two lights inside conduit behind a stone fireplace placing all in metal boxes. The circuit ends on the fireplace with the last light. Tracing back toward the service panel after the wire comes from the stone fireplace; I have two more receptacles which are in a Wire Mold track and then wire mold metal boxes before it enters the service panel. Once I hook everything up, I am getting a shock when I touch the metal light housing and when I touch the wire mold track or boxes. So I flipped the breaker off, traced back and everything looks fine to me. I tied the green wires together inside the boxes, until I got to the two wire mold boxes and then I tied the green to the ground tab on the receptacles, but I wired the grounds together in the metal boxes in the fireplace but not connecting them to the receptacles. After turning the breaker on, checking with an electric tester I have power to all receptacles, on one of the lights the wire is not hot when touching white and black. However that light is hot when touching white and green. The other light I reconnected and I am getting a shock when touching the metal housing on the light plus the switch (small rotary switch on the light itself) wonít turn the light off. Also is there anyway of narrowing down which receptacle is faulty without unwiring all of them? Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 08-21-05, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by PopPop
. After turning the breaker on, checking with an electric tester I have power to all receptacles, on one of the lights the wire is not hot when touching white and black. However that light is hot when touching white and green. Thanks
You have an open neutral(white wire) causing this condition.

You probably have an open ground somehwere also causing the metal to be live.
 
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Old 08-22-05, 09:58 AM
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I believe you have a short somewhere between neutral and ground wires causing neutral current to pass through anything metallic and connected to your ground wiring, i.e. the metallic light fixture bonded to your green or bare ground wire. I am not sure that you would have an open in your ground though.

This statement confuses me:

I tied the green wires together inside the boxes, until I got to the two wire mold boxes and then I tied the green to the ground tab on the receptacles, but I wired the grounds together in the metal boxes in the fireplace but not connecting them to the receptacles.
Could you elaborate more on this?

On second thought after reading this again, maybe you do have a break in your grounding path.
 
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Old 08-22-05, 12:13 PM
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Ground is Hot

To try and clarify, I twisted the green wires together inside the two metal receptacle boxes at the fireplace along with the light boxes and put wirenuts on them. They are not attached to the receptables with the grounding screw. I did this more or less because of lack of working room inside the metal boxes. I continued on to the first receptacle in the metal wire mold box. There I attached both green wires to the green grounding screw on the receptable. I continued on to the second wire mold box and did the same thing attached the green wires to the receptable. Thanks
 
  #5  
Old 08-23-05, 07:33 PM
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There are several possibilities for the problem you are experiencing.

Assuming that all receptacles are wired properly with (white) to the long
slot and (black)to the short slots on the receptacles and that your meter
reads properly zero volts between ground and white and approx 120 volts
between black and white and/or black and green, then the problem
might lie within the lighting fixture.

The hot may be wired to the threaded part of the lamp base which in turn
could be sending hot to the exposed metal parts of the lamp. The other
hint is that your rotary switch is not working suggesting that the lamp
is wired backwards.

Disconnect both lamps (turn off power first) and test all of ther receptacles,
if they are fine, then the problem would seem to be within the lamps.

e me back if you want further assistance! ELECTRI-KAL
 
  #6  
Old 08-24-05, 08:38 AM
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Ground is Hot

I have just a couple of more questions regarding this. I certainly appreciate everyone taking time to help me on this.

(1) Would the fact that I was bare footed on a cement floor contribute in anyway to the shock I felt on the wiremold moulding (slight tingling shock) and the shock on the lighting fixture (more severe shock).

(2) Is it permissible to wire the bare wires on the light fixtures and the green wires together?
 
  #7  
Old 08-24-05, 08:54 AM
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Your post about connecting the ground wires to receptacles sounded all wrong to me.

In every metal box, you must have: a single green wire attached to the metal box with a green screw, a single green wire connected to the lone green grounding screw on the receptacle, a green wire from the power feed in, and optionally a green wire to the power feed out. These 3 (and sometimes 4) green wires must be wirenuted together; and you can only ever have one wire per screw on a receptacle.

The only exception in your case is that you do not need the green wire to the receptacle if, and only if, the receptacle is self-grounding. The words "self-grounding" will be imprinted in the metal strap of the receptacle if that is the case.

Originally Posted by PopPop
Is it permissible to wire the bare wires on the light fixtures and the green wires together?
Permissible and mandatory, yes. The bare wires are grounds and should be connected to green.

Did you perhaps use stranded wire as opposed to soild wire and there is a wayward strand touching the metal somewhere? Check all of your wirenuts and receptacles for strands poking out where they shouldn't be.
 
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Old 08-24-05, 11:23 AM
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Ground is Hot

In every metal box, you must have: a single green wire attached to the metal box with a green screw, a single green wire connected to the lone green grounding screw on the receptacle, a green wire from the power feed in, and optionally a green wire to the power feed out. These 3 (and sometimes 4) green wires must be wirenuted together; and you can only ever have one wire per screw on a receptacle

(I think I am understanding you to say all greens will be wirenuted together, and I will have one pigtail going to the receptacle. The pigtail will also be one of the three or four green wires?

I do not have a single green wire attached to the metal box. I thought the green wire on the receptables would take care of that. I also do not have a single green wire to two of the receptacles. Two of the metal boxes are the shiny galvanized type. I wired those wires together inside the metal box and did not either ground them to the box or receptable. Now on the other two boxes which are metal and painted Wiremold boxes, I connected the green wire to the receptacles in those two boxes only. So should I also ground these wiremold boxes with the green wire to the boxes? I think so, since they are metal also. Thanks a bunch...I am beginning to see what is wrong.
 
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Old 08-24-05, 11:25 AM
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Ground is Hot

Did you perhaps use stranded wire as opposed to soild wire and there is a wayward strand touching the metal somewhere? Check all of your wirenuts and receptacles for strands poking out where they shouldn't be

I do know I used solid wire, but i will check the wirenuts for anything touching. Another question, can I used wirenuts and then wrap the end of the wirenuts with electrical tape, i am concerned a wirenut might come loose?

Originally Posted by ibpooks
Your post about connecting the ground wires to receptacles sounded all wrong to me.

In every metal box, you must have: a single green wire attached to the metal box with a green screw, a single green wire connected to the lone green grounding screw on the receptacle, a green wire from the power feed in, and optionally a green wire to the power feed out. These 3 (and sometimes 4) green wires must be wirenuted together; and you can only ever have one wire per screw on a receptacle.

The only exception in your case is that you do not need the green wire to the receptacle if, and only if, the receptacle is self-grounding. The words "self-grounding" will be imprinted in the metal strap of the receptacle if that is the case.



Permissible and mandatory, yes. The bare wires are grounds and should be connected to green.

Did you perhaps use stranded wire as opposed to soild wire and there is a wayward strand touching the metal somewhere? Check all of your wirenuts and receptacles for strands poking out where they shouldn't be.
 
  #10  
Old 08-24-05, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by PopPop
can I used wirenuts and then wrap the end of the wirenuts with electrical tape
Yes, you can. Some people do, some don't. Regardless, make sure the wirenuts are on tight; don't rely on the tape to hold the nut on.
 
  #11  
Old 08-24-05, 05:03 PM
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I Agree That All Receptacles (even Self-grounding) Should Have
A Seperate Pigtail To Bond To The Box And Bond To The Home-run
Grounding Wire. This Is Because Outlets Should Not Rely On The
Threads Of The Mounting Screws To Be The Sole Bonding Means,
They Can Work Lose And Momentarily Interrupt.

Bare Foot Or Not You Should Not Be Experiencing Current Flow
Through Your Body.

There Is Still A Miswire Or Something Touching That Should Not Be.

Inasmuch As You Are Not Blowing Any Fuses Or Breakers, It Would
Still Suggest A Hot Leg Whether In That Circuit Or Feeding From Another Is Getting Onto The Metal Parts.

Are You Certain That The Ground Bond You Are Using Is Solid To
Earth And Cold Water Pipe?

You Could Try An Experiment And Turn Off All Other Breakers
Except For The Receptacles And Lamps With Which You Are Working
And See If You Still Get A Bite. If Not, Then Stray Voltage From
Another Circuit May Be Getting In Via Another Miswired Circuit,
Pinched Wire, Some Metals Within The Walls Touching Etc...

Let Me Know What You Find

Electri-kal
 
  #12  
Old 08-24-05, 06:16 PM
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Using one's body as a voltage tester is potentially deadly. I would not recommend it in any way, shape or form.
 
  #13  
Old 08-24-05, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ELECTRI-KAL
I Agree That All Receptacles (even Self-grounding) Should Have
A Seperate Pigtail To Bond To The Box And Bond To The Home-run
Grounding Wire. This Is Because Outlets Should Not Rely On The
Threads Of The Mounting Screws To Be The Sole Bonding Means,
They Can Work Lose And Momentarily Interrupt.

Bare Foot Or Not You Should Not Be Experiencing Current Flow
Through Your Body.

There Is Still A Miswire Or Something Touching That Should Not Be.

Inasmuch As You Are Not Blowing Any Fuses Or Breakers, It Would
Still Suggest A Hot Leg Whether In That Circuit Or Feeding From Another Is Getting Onto The Metal Parts.

Are You Certain That The Ground Bond You Are Using Is Solid To
Earth And Cold Water Pipe?

You Could Try An Experiment And Turn Off All Other Breakers
Except For The Receptacles And Lamps With Which You Are Working
And See If You Still Get A Bite. If Not, Then Stray Voltage From
Another Circuit May Be Getting In Via Another Miswired Circuit,
Pinched Wire, Some Metals Within The Walls Touching Etc...

Let Me Know What You Find

Electri-kal
This is actually the only circuit i have ran in the cabin. It is all going to be new wiring. The main power box outside is grounded by two ground rods driven in the ground. The outside meter hub, and box, then the inside breaker box was done by an licensed electrician and passed inspection. There are no metal water pipes yet, and I expect that I will put all plastic water lines in when i do the plumbing. Thanks again for everyone's help.
 
  #14  
Old 08-24-05, 08:48 PM
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Good Comment Rodeko1,

The Body Tester Is Never A Good Idea But Apparently He Has Done It
Within This Scenario Several Times Already.

Better To Use A Meter Or Test Lamp From Your Metal Parts To Ground
And See If There Is Still A Voltage Potential Present That Should Not Be!

Please Let All Of Us Know What The Final Outcome Was.

This Is A Good Head-scratcher And Useful For Future Encounters

Good Luck, Electri-kal
 
  #15  
Old 08-28-05, 02:53 PM
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Ground is Hot

Well, I followed the advice of the forum. I went back rechecked everything disconnected and reattched all the wires. Everything works like it is supposed to now. What I think originally happened is the screw that attached the receptacle to the metal box was longer than normal. This screw pierced the hot wire causing the boxes to have some voltage to them. Thanks a bunch for everyones help.
 
  #16  
Old 08-28-05, 09:22 PM
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If that is the case then you need to check your ground connections. It should have tripped the breaker if the ground was good.
 

Last edited by joed; 08-29-05 at 02:40 PM.
  #17  
Old 08-29-05, 09:34 AM
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Ground is HOt

I am not 100% positive, but when I went to reconnect everything I noticed the one screw was extra long and it was pressing against the black wire. After pushing the wire further back in the box and getting a short screw, everything went as planned as is working fine. Thanks for the update.
 
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Old 08-29-05, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by PopPop
I am not 100% positive, but when I went to reconnect everything I noticed the one screw was extra long and it was pressing against the black wire. After pushing the wire further back in the box and getting a short screw, everything went as planned as is working fine. Thanks for the update.
This is a common mistake. Screws too long or clamps too tight causing the ground or metal becoming hot.

You need to make sure you have a good ground path to avoid this problem. The circuit should have shorted out but did not meaning you had no ground.
 
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Old 09-12-05, 07:13 AM
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Ground is Hot (Did I overkill)

My first problem is solved with the hot ground. I meant to ask this earlier, but it slipped my mind. While going back through all my boxes working on this problem I went ahead and grounded all my boxes and receptacles while I was there. By that I mean I ran a green grounding wire to each box that were metal. I grounded all the receptacles via the green grounding screw. I then wirenutted all the greens together. Was this overkill? I guess what I am getting at is I have more wiring to do and is all that necessary. Thanks in advance for the help.
 
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Old 09-12-05, 08:43 AM
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No, it's not overkill. It's required.
 
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Old 09-12-05, 10:13 AM
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Ground is HOt

Thanks John...
 
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