Open neutral or something else?

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  #1  
Old 05-15-14, 09:20 AM
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Open neutral or something else?

Last night me and the wife where whatching tv in the living room. Out of nowhere the living room started erratically cycling power about 3-4 times. (lights, ceiling fan, tv, etc.) End result being my living room is now dead...

ALL other circuits (rooms) in my home where completly unaffected and are fine. It was only my living room experiencing the freak out.

I went straight to the panel. Breaker was not tripped, so I cycled it which was no fix... I took my digital multimeter and I had 120v out the breaker with it closed and none with it open as it should.

Checking a few outlets in my living room show 120v on both sides of the outlet. (hot to ground / nuetral to ground)

I replaced all the wall plates when I first bought the home and I do have the screw down connections and NOT the push-lock style. I also pulled a few plates off last nigh and did not see any loose, broken or shorted connections.

I left the breaker off and I am at work now. When I get home I will follow the hot wire from the breaker to the bundle in the panel and see from the bundle where the nuetral is connected to the panels block. Hopefully it will be there. A quick once over last night did not show anything obvious.

Any ideas?
 
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  #2  
Old 05-15-14, 12:33 PM
PJmax's Avatar
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Welcome to the forums.

You are going to have to check each location that is dead for a problem neutral. I would start with the device/junction box closest to the panel.
 
  #3  
Old 05-15-14, 01:23 PM
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Checking a few outlets in my living room show 120v on both sides of the outlet. (hot to ground / nuetral to ground)
Ok...am I denser than normal? How is this possible?

Wait...something on the line (lamp, timer, etc) feeding 120V potential through it to the neutral?

If that's true, wouldn't there be one outlet or fixture (or a series of them) where the readings would be 120 to ground but 0 to neutral? And then one of those would be the problem area?
 
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Old 05-15-14, 06:09 PM
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If you have and open neutral someplace in the circuit, and you have a load that is on (such as a light) the same circuit, you will read 120 volts from neutral to ground. The load would be in series with the rest of the circuit.
 
  #5  
Old 05-16-14, 09:38 AM
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Alright guys found the issue yesterday after work. I took the cover off the panel and traced the hot (black) wire from the breaker to the romex bundle at the top; then followed the neutral (white) wire back down from that bundle to the panels neutral/ground block. Sure as anyhting the neutral wire was burnt up about 3" back from the tip. I was able to simply/easily pull it out of the block. I cut the "dead" stuff off, stripped and reconnected to a new terminal lug. Good to go!

I heard the 60hz is a "slow pulse" and actually induces and slight vibration that over time will do exactly what happened... The house was built in 03. I know hospitals have a time complience/preventitive maintenance schedule to tighten them down ever so often. I did just that and tighten ALL my neutrals. To my surpise a few needed tightning.

Learn something everday! Thanks all!
 
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Old 05-16-14, 10:50 AM
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Very good job. Thanks for letting us know.
 
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