Very Simple Question about Voltmeter

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  #1  
Old 10-23-07, 07:34 PM
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Very Simple Question about Voltmeter

Our dryer spins but doesn't heat. Everything in the dryer tested fine (dryer fuses, thermal fuse, thermostat and heating element) Now I am trying to get a reading at the dryer wall receptacle (4 prong) to see if the problem is not getting 240V needed to run the heatin element. I get 120V at three different holes and then one hole has nothing. I know I'm supposed to get 240v...is that all at once on the meter or am I supposed to add the two 120's that I get....I know this is probably a stupid question but I'm still learning. Since I'm only getting 120v at each hole does that mean that the breaker is blown? I checked the breaker and nothing is flipped. I tried flipping them back and forth a few times but nothing changes at the receptable. Thanks for any insight!!
 
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Old 10-23-07, 08:16 PM
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You should be able to get 240 ..between the two vertical slots.

!20 will show between ground and either vertical or neutral and either vertical
 
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Old 10-23-07, 09:10 PM
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If this dryer has never worked, then you have the wrong breaker. You probably used a tandem breaker when you needed a full double-pole.

If this used to work, then most likely your dryer heating element has burned out. You can usually see it cracked when you take off the rear cover. Dryer heating elements often burn out because the vent is clogged with lint. So be sure to check for a clear vent.

If you get 240 volts and your element is not burned out (remove it and test it with an ohmmeter), then you should probably call an appliance repairperson. It might be the control unit.
 
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Old 10-24-07, 07:56 AM
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thanks! I only get 120 between the vertical slots so it looks like a breaker problem. We've already tested the heating element and dryer fuses, etc., etc. Our house is a year old and we've had other electrical problems so it's not too surprising. Is changing the dryer receptacle something I can do myself? or is it a deaper problem than this? Thanks!
 
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Old 10-24-07, 08:32 AM
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If you are actually reading 120 volts between the two vertical slots, then you have this wired wrong.

How are you measuring. What are you using for a reference?

Please tell us the whole story. We can help you sort it out. Did this ever work? Did you just wire this? Did it all of a sudden stop working?

Call the four terminals of the receptacle X, Y, N and G.
X and Y are opposite each other, G is the L shaped terminal. N is the last terminal.

You should be measuring as follows (with the voltmeter [preferably an analog one] on AC volts with a range or scale of at least 250 volts):


Between G and X (should be 120 volts).
Between G and Y (should be 120 volts).
Between G and N (should be 0 volts).
Between N and X (should be 120 volts).
Between N and Y (should be 120 volts).
Between X and Y (should be 240 volts).
 
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Old 10-24-07, 09:11 AM
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Here is what Im getting with voltmeter:

Between:

G and X = 120

G and Y = 0

G and N = 0

N and X = 120

N and Y = 0

X and Y = 0

Yes, the dryer was working fine on this outlet up until two weeks ago. When we first moved into the new house the dryer kept tripping the breaker to the upstairs and so the electrical people who wired the house came out and fixed it. It has worked for apx. 10 months but occasionally the breakers to the upstairs where the dryer was would trip and we were able to just reset them. Now the dryer turns but doesn't heat and we thought it was a problem with the dryer but tested just about all the things that would make it stop heating until I read some posts here that it could be the wiring at the wall...so now here we are. From what I've listed above can you tell me what's going on at the receptacle? Thanks
 
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Old 10-24-07, 09:29 AM
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Sounds like a bad breaker. You need to turn off the main breaker and remove the cover from your breaker panel. Careful, there are live parts even off. Check the connections to the breaker for the dryer. If tight turn the main breaker back on and check for 240v across the breaker.

It has worked for apx. 10 months but occasionally the breakers to the upstairs where the dryer was would trip and we were able to just reset them
The dryer is on a separate 30a breaker isn't it? Not sure from what you wrote.
 
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Old 10-24-07, 10:22 AM
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Since G to Y reads 0, I think it likely that the explanation is simply that a wire has become disconnected. This might have happened in the panel or at the receptacle.

Since it's simpler, I'd start by shutting off the breaker and checking the connections at the dryer receptacle.

Then move on and follow Bob's advice. Check the screw on each half of the dryer breaker for voltage to ground. Note that if you flip a breaker on and off a lot, you may eventually break it. Note also that breakers should not be tripping regularly. If you have a breaker that is tripping more than once a year, I recommend you find and fix the problem, and not merely sweep the problem under the rug by resetting it.
 
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Old 10-24-07, 02:01 PM
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the company responsible for the wiring is coming out tomorrow to check out the probem since our house is still under warranty....now that I know it's for sure not the dryer I have a leg to stand on with them. I'll post after they leave. Thanks again for the help! You guys are the best.
 
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Old 03-06-08, 07:52 PM
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Did you ever get this figure out, I am getting the same resuts on my outlet and at the breaker with my volt meter. The only thing with mine is that it never worked, I ran the circuit to the breaker box myself and I am sure I am doing something wrong
 
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Old 03-07-08, 08:40 AM
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fphilipp,

What are you reading across the 2 hot legs coming in to the panel box? If 240 there, and not 240 at a breaker - you ARE using a two-pole breaker, aren't you? These would automatically straddle both legs, to give you 240.

Something I'm adding that I forgot to mention: Often not very long test meter leads, included with a cheaper voltmeter, have it where the probes are not long enough to reach the contacts in a dryer or range recepticle, I have found. Sometimes you can briefly pick up on the current by really wiggling the probe around in there. Sometimes no matter what yo do, it will not reach. Could be potentially dangerous, thinking you have no power there! You have to actually remove the cover, if that is the case.
 

Last edited by ecman51; 03-07-08 at 11:44 AM. Reason: Added last paragraph
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Old 03-07-08, 05:54 PM
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Below are my testing results. I m using a two pole terminal breaker. My test results are identical at the breaker box and the recepical. I tested the receptical from the rear (where I can touch the screws). I am not sure if this is relevant but my breaker box is a Federal Pacific and (the neutral and goes to same bar.


terminals of the receptacle X, Y, N and G.
X and Y are opposite each other, G is the L shaped terminal. N is the last terminal.

Between G and X (120 volts).
Between G and Y (120 volts).
Between G and N (0 volts).
Between N and X (120 volts).
Between N and Y (120 volts).
Between X and Y (0 volts).

All the help I can get with this is appreciated, thanks Ecma51
 
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Old 03-08-08, 12:43 PM
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You may have lost good contact at the main breaker or have an outside problem. Since you do not have 240 at the denoted terminals where you tested at the breaker and recepticle, you have to now make sure you have 240 between the two legs at the main breaker.
 
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Old 03-08-08, 12:46 PM
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http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=337650Refer to your previous posts. Some of the guys have some quite interesting possibilities and solutions.
 
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