Hot_Ground reverse

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  #1  
Old 01-13-06, 05:23 AM
mark2817
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Hot_Ground reverse

A friend of mine is having a electrical problem. Here is how it started. His wife turns on a switch that controls a plug in for a lamp and the bulb blows so he changes the bulb and the lamp still doesn't work then he notices about 8 of his plugins are not working plus his front porch light is not working. I loaned him my volt meter and plugin tester and here is what he gets. Plung in tester shows hot ground reverse.... with volt meter it shows 0 from hot to neutral 120 hot to ground 120 neutral to ground. The plugins are on two different circuits. Don't know what would cause both circuits to do this at the same time. It is a modular home about 20 years old. Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 01-13-06, 05:55 AM
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He has an open neutral.

The reading of 120 to ground on the neutral is a false reading, reading through devices plugged in to the circuit. Unplug everything and remove an light bulbs in fixtures and you would read nothing on the neutral wire.
 
  #3  
Old 01-13-06, 06:41 AM
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Bob is correct in that you have an open neutral.

However, the 120 volts on the neutral wire is not a false reading. Grab that neutral with your fingers and you will indeed get a nasty shock. So don't do it when the power is on.

It takes two things to make a circuit work. You need voltage, and you need a complete circuit. You have voltage, but you don't have a complete circuit because the neutral is open. Search this forum for "open neutral" and you'll get a lot of reading material. It's a common problem.

I'm not sure how you determined that the "plugins are on two different circuits," but are you sure about that?
 
  #4  
Old 01-13-06, 07:51 AM
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Okay, my term false reading was not the best term to use. Yes, you are reading 120 volts. And yes you will get a shock if you allow your body to complete the circuit (so please don't).

What I meant was that you don't have a complete circuit. As John and I both stated, the circuit is open, somewhere before the actual location where you get these strange readings. While you do indeed read voltage, there is nowhere for the current to flow, so nothing works.

However, you can make the 120 volt reading on the neutral line go away. Unplug or turn off everything on the circuit. Turn off all lights and all items plugged in. Unplug everything that does not have a true off switch and draws current even when turned off, such as televisions and other electronics. After you do this you will no longer read 120 volts on the open neutral wire. You only get this reading now because you are reading back through one or more devices, most likely light bulbs, and you are actually reading the 120 volts on the hot wire.
 
  #5  
Old 01-13-06, 08:06 AM
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You have an open enutral and since you said this a modular home it could be in one of the connectors they use to put this house together. Normally it is in one of the receptacles, lights swtches or junction boxes. And it still could be in your case.
 
  #6  
Old 01-13-06, 08:23 AM
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John... I had this happen to me once years ago when I first started in the trade in a home that I was doing receptacle changes. She didnt want brown receptacles anymore and wanted ivory This was in a home built about 25 years ago. I went down and turned the breaker off to what I thought was that circuit. I stuck my voltage tester in the receptacle halfs and no power. So started to change it out, it was back stabbed, and couldnt for the life of me get one of the neutrals to release from the backstab. Anyway in that process I decided to heck with it and grabbed my cutters. When I cut the neutral the refrigerator stopped running and I noticed a little spark when I cut it. Turned out that it was a multiwire coming off of two single pole breakers in the panel but they werent tied together. I only had one leg deenergized and the neutral landed on the receptacle for feed thru. No way to know with the panel cover on. And the house was before gfci days. I had missed the red wire in a wirenut in the box with the receptacle.
Anyway to further confuse me (easy to do in those early years) When I tested that neutral I cut it had 120 volts on it. I'm going what the hay!!

Anyway it took awhile but discovered it was a multiwire, to further confuse my young mind with the refrigerator off and plugged in and that breaker on that leg turned on (this is before I figured things out) I had 120 volts on the neutral. Unplug the refrigerator and the voltage reading went away.Turns out that in a refrigerator there is a heater that runs all the time (I forget what they call it) so I was getting the 120 feed thru from that on the neutral. And yes it would indeed nail you if you touched it. I wont tell you how I found that out.

Anyway this sounds a lot like that situation I was faced with many years ago.

No Bob there wasnt a panel index to warn me......
 

Last edited by Roger; 01-13-06 at 08:38 AM. Reason: Spelling and clarifications
  #7  
Old 01-13-06, 05:59 PM
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You have an open enutral and since you said this a modular home it could be in one of the connectors they use to put this house together. Normally it is in one of the receptacles, lights swtches or junction boxes. And it still could be in your case.
Joe do you remember what they call those junctions? Its like a big giant plug where the two halfs of the house come together. Cant remeber what they call it....maybe somebody recalls?
 
  #8  
Old 01-13-06, 08:03 PM
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Never seen one personally. I have only read about them. From what I have read they usually have an access panel over them. The panel often gets covered over when the house is sided or remodelled. You need to know where it is or bypass that section of wire.
 
  #9  
Old 01-15-06, 06:10 AM
mark2817
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Thanks to all !!! Problem has been fixed. Was a bad conection on pluggin
 
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