Outside GFI receptacle trouble


Old 10-09-15, 05:36 PM
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Outside GFI receptacle trouble

Hi there-

I just bought a house, but when I tried using the outdoor outlets for the first time, they would't work... A few minutes with a screwdriver and a DMM taught me that the hot wire was spitting out the normal 120 volts to ground, but it appears that the neutral wire has a 20 volt charge of its own... DMMing the neutral wire to ground gives 20 volts and measuring the hot one to the neutral one gives a differential of 100.

Anyone know of any potential causes/fixes for this issue?
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Old 10-09-15, 05:49 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Those measurements tell you that the neutral is open/broken before it gets to that receptacle. You will need to turn the circuit off, identify everything on that circuit since it will all be dead, turn the circuit back on and see what works and what doesn't.

You'll be looking at junction boxes on that circuit. You would probably start at the closest device to the GFI receptacle that is working properly.

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Old 10-09-15, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Totally agree with PJ. I'll add that a digital voltmeter is not the best for this kind of troubleshooting because it is prone to displaying what are called "phantom voltages" (do a Google) and that is why you have the strange readings between neutral and hot as well as neutral and ground. A better tool is a cheap analog meter or (my favorite) a solenoid tester. If you go the solenoid route make sure it is a true solenoid tester and not a "look-alike" that uses light bulbs.

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