Wrong voltage in wall receptacle

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  #1  
Old 05-12-11, 03:34 PM
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Wrong voltage in wall receptacle

I have a receptacle in a kitchen island that appears on the surface to be dead. After checking with a meter I learned that the voltage is incorrect. The other receptacles in the house are correct. The readings are:

Black>White wires = 87 volts (should be 120 volts)
Black>Ground = 122.9 volts
White>Ground = 17.6 volts

I have checked in the main breaker box and everything appears to be correct & tight. My tests were directly to the wires, no insulation issues. I considered switching the ground & white connections on the receptacle but that would be wrong and out of code. This being in the kitchen, I don't want to take shortcuts. The 3 wires appear to be the last connection in a loop of several receptacles in the kitchen. The others all measure the correct voltage.

What are possible reasons for not getting 120 volts across black/white and how would you fix it?
Thanks
Ben Pace
 
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  #2  
Old 05-12-11, 03:59 PM
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Your testing is showing that there is a loose connection in the neutral. Check the receptacle affected or the one just upstream from the non-working one.

You were correct not to switch the ground and neutral. You would have created a safety hazard.
 
  #3  
Old 05-12-11, 09:21 PM
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I will check all receptacles upstream of the bad one for loose connections. The one affected is only producing 87 volts across black/white. Is a loose connection enough reason to get such low voltage?

Thanks
Ben
 
  #4  
Old 05-12-11, 10:03 PM
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If any of the receptacles are backstabbed move the wires to the screws.

The one affected is only producing 87 volts across black/white. Is a loose connection enough reason to get such low voltage?
If you are using a cheap digital meter that may be mostly ghost voltage.
 
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Old 05-13-11, 04:58 PM
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Is a loose connection enough reason to get such low voltage?
If the loose connection is on a neutral, yes.
 
  #6  
Old 05-15-11, 11:42 AM
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Thank you for your help!!! I was just about to give up when I located a receptacle behind a dresser that had a broken white wire. I repaired that wire & connected it to the proper screw and all worked properly.

Please confirm one more thing for me... in spot checking around this home, all of the receptacles have 120 volts between black/ground as well as black/white. Is that correct? I was under the impression that the ground should not have current. However, logically, black/ground is basically the same as black/white.

Thanks again!!!
 
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Old 05-15-11, 11:53 AM
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n spot checking around this home, all of the receptacles have 120 volts between black/ground as well as black/white. Is that correct? I was under the impression that the ground should not have current.
That is the correct voltage. If all is correct it wasn't carrying voltage until you created a circuit with your volt meter.
 
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Old 05-15-11, 11:56 AM
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120 between hot and ground is perfectly normal. In normal operation there is no current on ground, but the ground is there for safety so the case of your PC or frame of your stove will not have a voltage in case of a problem...it will go direct to ground and prob blow a fuse or trip a breaker.

When you measure with a meter..you are measuring the potential voltage...not current.
 
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Old 05-15-11, 12:09 PM
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Perfect... Thanks for all your help!!!
 
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