Hot Neutral: Dividing 120 Between Neutral and Hot

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Old 07-27-15, 08:34 AM
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Hot Neutral: Dividing 120 Between Neutral and Hot

Hello and thanks to everyone here who offers assistance to others!
I have read a lot of posts searching for an answer to my problem but I'm not sure I've found anything suitable.
On most outlets in my house when measuring from hot to ground and neutral to ground I get 64 volts black to ground and 60 volts neutral to ground. Hot to neutral I have 124 volts. I have only two 120 volt circuits that seem to work correctly. I'm not sure how long this has been going on as I just bought a new, better, UPS for my computers and I started investigating when it refused to work but rather showed a wiring fault.
I found one outlet in the other end of the house that hot/neutral were reversed and I fixed it.
Also, when plugging in one of the Sperry circuit testers all three lights come on --- which there is nothing mentioned for that on the diagram.
Thanks for any suggestions!
 
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Old 07-27-15, 08:41 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Any voltage between neutral and ground means you've lost the ground to that circuit.
Since you have two circuits that are correct.... the panel would appear to be ok.

What type of wiring is in the house..... BX, non metallic(romex), etc.
 
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Old 07-27-15, 08:52 AM
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I have romex. How could I have voltage from both hot and neutral to the ground prong if there is no ground?
In 2007 I had a 200 amp box installed and removed the old fuse panel. I have a friend who does some wiring looked at it yesterday and there was no ground wire from the box to the ground rod so we added one --- no change.
 
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Old 07-27-15, 09:04 AM
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You said you had two circuits that are ok. That means it's ok at the panel or ALL circuits would show a ground issue.

Right now the ground in the bad circuits is floating..... it's not ground and it's not hot. It can change based on what is on the circuit.

Do you have a sub panel ? Issue could be there.
 
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Old 07-27-15, 09:17 AM
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The only sub panel is outside is outside at my heat pump and on double 60a breakers.
 
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Old 07-27-15, 09:34 AM
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How is a floating ground tracked down?
 
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Old 07-27-15, 10:31 AM
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"How is a floating ground tracked down?"

With the same trial and error methods and/or educated guessing used to find where a circuit went dead or where a loose connection may be found.

The ground line (equipment grounding conductor) normally follows the same path daisy chaining through the various outlet boxes of a branch circuit. At some point upstream you will probably find that hot to ground is solidly about 120 volts and neutral to ground is solidly about zero volts, with a decent load (perhaps a few incandescant lights) plugged in and switched on at the same place in the circuit as the test measurements.

In each outlet box all incoming ground wires are tied togehter. For a long time (at least through the 1980's) the ground wires coming into an outlet box were just twisted together. Today twisting is not considered good enough; wire nuts or crimp rings are needed.

Neutral and ground are not supposed to be connected together anywhere downstream of the panel where the first master disconnect switch or breaker for the house is located. So a problem with grounding would be due to a break in the equipment grounding path (sequence of equipment grounding conductors) somewhere upstream of the test point.
 
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Old 07-27-15, 10:34 AM
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Thanks. It's going to be a little while before I can get back to looking but I'll post my findings. Thanks again!
 
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Old 07-27-15, 12:42 PM
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The lack or presence of a ground rod has nothing to do with the issue.
 
  #10  
Old 08-11-15, 05:48 PM
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Thanks for the help. I have finally gotten things moved around so that I could get to hidden outlets. The circuit that led me to check everything has 8 outlets, of which none had a ground connected. The ground wires were never even connected and most were still wrapped in paper. The house was built in 1968 so there has always been a problem. Anyway, after connecting the all ground wires this circuit is working perfectly. I'll start the rest of the house tomorrow. Thanks again for your excellent help!
 
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