Outlet has hot ground???

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  #1  
Old 07-23-15, 04:52 PM
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Outlet has hot ground???

My kitchen circuit (decades old) feeds three things that I know of: oven, exhaust fan, nearby wall outlet. Recently, it started acting up: entire circuit going dead and coming back to life a few seconds later without tripping the breaker. Finally it went altogether (unplugging the stove didn't help).

After volt meter said I was getting voltage at the breaker, I investigated the outlet (the box is plastic). It's apparently the end of the line because there are only 3 wires: black, white, and bare copper ground (which was indeed connected to the ground screw on the outlet). Sounds simple enough, but here's what I found with the volt meter:

-- measuring black to white shows no current
-- measuring black to ground shows 120 volts
-- measuring white to ground shows 120 volt
-- connecting black to ground trips the circuit
-- connecting white to ground restores the circuit (stove and fan work)

There must be a short somewhere else, right? Any other ideas? (we have seen signs of mice recently)
 
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Old 07-23-15, 05:06 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

No.... not a short..... an open. In your case an open neutral.
A short causes a breaker to trip.

If you only have two wires and a ground at the receptacle then the problem is not there. You have to keep working backwards thru all the devices to find the problem.

There is probably a receptacle behind the oven that will need to be checked.
 
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Old 07-23-15, 05:43 PM
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In addition, you have a STOVE and other items on the same circuit?? What is the amperage rating of the breaker associated with this circuit? Is the stove 120 volts?
 
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Old 07-24-15, 06:35 AM
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It's gas stove, so all it powers is the display, igniters, sensors, etc.
 
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Old 07-24-15, 10:48 AM
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-- connecting black to ground trips the circuit
THAT was a short!

Yes, you have an open neutral probably at one of the receptacles or the connection to the neutral bus in the panel.
 
  #6  
Old 08-01-15, 06:56 AM
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Called an electrician. Turns out in the panel, one of the neutral wires in the bus was loose. The sheathing was melted onto the wire next to it. I never traced the correct matching neutral through the spaghetti where the bus is on one side of the panel and the breaker on the other.
 
  #7  
Old 08-01-15, 08:33 AM
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Thanks for letting us know the outcome. It may help someone else.
 
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