Receptacle circuit ground is hot

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  #1  
Old 11-26-13, 08:33 PM
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Receptacle circuit ground is hot

So I added a new circuit 20AMP for receptacles in a home addition. The circuit is 12/2 w. grd. It has 8 receptacles (4 are double gang in office) has 2 light fixtures tied in as well.
my initial problem was when I connected my grd. to the bus bar, the breaker tripped. So I removed each receptacle from the boxes to inspect if a grd. was touching a hot, all was clear. Then, suddenly I can connect the grd. and it not trip the breaker.
Now, I discovered that when I touch the grd. I get a shock. When I use my volt meter, I touch the neutral and hot I get 120volt When I touch the hot and grd, i get nothing. When I touch the neutral and grd. I get 120Volts.

I am not sure why my grd. is hot, or how to trouble shoot. I did inspect each resceptacle to ensure the grd was not touching a hot. All of them were clear.

a little advice is appreciated

Mike
 
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  #2  
Old 11-27-13, 03:30 AM
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Mike, sometimes wires get nicked when we strip off the sheath, and if the black gets cut and touches the ground, it energizes it, and should set the breaker off. However, with the switches/receptacles pulled you may be stretching the wires and taking them out of proximity of each other. Cramming them back in the box may cause them to touch again. Look at the base of the wires where they go into the sheathing.
 
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Old 11-27-13, 05:55 PM
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when I connected my grd. to the bus bar, the breaker tripped.
I'm a little concerned that you were connecting the ground in the panel with the circuit on ?!?!?!

The breaker should be off when connecting anything in the circuit.
 
  #4  
Old 11-29-13, 07:20 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I figured somewhere a hot had to be in contact with a Grd . Also, I may not be an electrician, but I do have enough working knowledge to connect my neutral & Grd to the bonded bus bars prior to connecting the hot to the breaker. I read my post and see how you could draw that conclusion. So after all connections are made and switch the breaker, it trips.
Now I have to figure out where the contact is happening.

Why wouldn't the breaker trip if the Grd is hot at the receptacle?
 
  #5  
Old 11-29-13, 07:56 AM
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Why wouldn't the breaker trip if the Grd is hot at the receptacle?
The breaker doesn't trip because as far as it's concerned nothing is shorting.

Your ground in your circuit is not properly connected to ground. It's not at ground potential so technically if the hot hits what should be, ground nothing would short.

If your ground is connected at the panel then you have to check at the first junction box for it.
 
  #6  
Old 01-02-14, 01:05 PM
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I decided to disconnect all receptacle from the circuit and add 1 back at a time to determine exactly where the problem is.

ok, so after furthur testing, I have discovered the following:

1. the line enters the 1st receptacle box and with hot, neutral and grd working correctly w/ out tripping the breaker after the receptacle is connected.
2. I connect the load of the following receptacles which is a double gang box, after both receptacles are connected this circuit continues to function normally, ie. the breaker does not trip.
3. Not until I get to the 3rd double gang box do I run into problems. I can connect the 1st recptacle and all is good. When I connect the 2nd receptacle with pigtails all is good. Not until I connect the load to the 4th double gang box does the breaker trip.

Easy enough... so i thought.

4. So I go to the 4th double gang box, connect the hot & neutral w/out grd. the breaker does not trip. As soon as connect the grd. to this receptacle, the breaker trips. If I disconnect the grd. this receptacle and the remaining 3 receptacles work without tripping the breaker.

I need help figuring out what might be going on here.

Thanks,

Mike
 
  #7  
Old 01-02-14, 02:03 PM
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Ground is hot

Assuming plastic boxes and romex, if you say when you connect the romex that supplies the fourth box you have a problem then IMO the romex between box three and four has been nicked and the hot is in contact with the ground. Going to the fourth box and connecting devices without the ground tells me that the problem happens when nothing is installed in the fourth box, but when you energize run to the fourth box. Did you do as Chandler suggested and check at the base of the romex where it was stripped? If its a short distance between box three and four, string some romex across the room and make your connections and see if taking that run out of the circuit removes the problem.
 
  #8  
Old 01-02-14, 02:06 PM
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We cannot rule out the receptacle unit being bad,

With the receptacle completely unhooked from the circuit, measure resistance (or continuity) between the mounting strip (yoke) and a short prong slot. Should be no continuity, or infinite ohms resistance.
 
  #9  
Old 01-02-14, 02:10 PM
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I didnt think about running romex between the 2 boxes to see if it still trips. If so, then I know it is my receptacle. If it doesn't trip, then I know it is my roemex in the wall. a friend of mine actually suggested that possibly when I stapled the romex to the studs, I may have nicked a wire.

If this is the case, then I guess my next step is to fish in a new piece of romex between the 3rd & 4th boxes, is that correct?

Mike
 
  #10  
Old 01-02-14, 02:14 PM
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ok, I will do this this evening. I have an extra receptcle if it is bad. As a noob electrical DIY'er, and not being familiar with ohm readings, should I be looking for the needle to remain in place or should it peg out to the right of the meter if there is "no continuity"?
 
  #11  
Old 01-02-14, 05:03 PM
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a friend of mine actually suggested that possibly when I stapled the romex to the studs, I may have nicked a wire.
I suspect you have either a drywall nail or screw in the cable touching the black and bare ground wires.
 
  #12  
Old 02-13-14, 06:51 AM
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Just an update, there was a nail from the sheeting that pierced the romex. I was able to run a new piece between the 2 receptacles an voila`. we have a receptacle that is not tripping the breaker when grd is connected.

Thanks for the input!!

Mike
 
  #13  
Old 02-13-14, 06:58 AM
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Good detective work and repair. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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