Shocked by neutral line! What is wrong?


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Old 01-12-14, 04:06 AM
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Shocked by neutral line! What is wrong?

I was replacing an old worn out outlet with a new one in my shop. Breaker was off. When I touched the neutral wire I got shocked! I turned the main off to finish what I was doing, but why did this happen??

The circuit I was touching is run inside EMT with another 120v circuit, they share a neutral. The other circuit was hot. The only thing plugged into that outlet was an LED light and a cell phone charger.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 05:02 AM
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Porbably nothing is wrong.

You need to flip off the breakers for all the circuits that share the neutral.

Otherwise the neutral is still live.

Even the few milliamperes drawn by the LED light and phone charger are enough to shock you when you unhooked the neutral at the outlet box you were working on and your body completed the circuit between the loose downstream end and a grounded item or the upstream neutral end. Less than a twentieth of an ampere can electrocute you.

For added safety and to comply with code, for shared neutrals the incoming neutral end must be connected directly to the downstream neutral end. Use a short length (pigtail) of white wire to reach the receptacle, connected to just one of the silver screws.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-12-14 at 05:20 AM.
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Old 01-12-14, 06:02 AM
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The circuit I was touching is run inside EMT with another 120v circuit, they share a neutral. The other circuit was hot. The only thing plugged into that outlet was an LED light and a cell phone charger.
That explains exactly what happened, nothing wrong with it at all.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 06:38 AM
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You experienced a normal condition. The code now requires that both breakers are turned off to prevent this.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 06:43 AM
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Current code would require a handle tie between the breaker handles to provide the common shutoff PCBoss mentioned..
 
 

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