electrical wiring

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Old 03-30-11, 10:54 AM
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electrical wiring

hello.. i just helped my brother wire up his house and i have a question. when we wired the ceiling fan up to a switch i brought the power to the switch and a switch leg to the ceiling fan box. it was working fine. couple days later after we bought the ceiling fan i went to turn the switch off so the switch leg its hot but my ticker is saying the switch leg is still hot. so i shut off the pwer and installed it. the switch works perfect on and off but the ticker still says its hot when thw switch leg of turned off and on but the fan goes off and on too. is there a reason why the ticker is pickin up a reading?? we have two plugs on that curcuit too.. is that a problem

thanks tim
 
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Old 03-30-11, 11:09 AM
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By "ticker" I assume you mean a non-contact tester. As you have just discovered they are not a reliable way to determine voltage. False positives are common. You need to use a test light or meter.

Non-contact testers only measure the presence of an electromagnetic field not actual usable voltage. What you may be seeing is an induced electromagnetic field. Note cheap digital multimeters may also show these ghost voltages so it is best to use an analog meter or more expensive dvm that puts enough load on the circuit to kill ghost voltages.
 
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Old 03-30-11, 11:33 AM
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The tester is probably picking up induction from the adjacent hot or neutral wire. When the switch is off, the wire is not "hot" in the sense you are thinking, but as long as the breaker is on it is still possible to get a shock from the neutral wire. The tester is right in signaling not to touch wires in that box.
 
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