Hot / Ground Reversal

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Old 12-15-20, 07:58 PM
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Hot / Ground Reversal

Tennessee, 2017 NEC. I am not an electrician, but have experence doing electrical work.

Tools I have include a plugin socket tester, a VoltAlert pen for detecting voltage at the outlet and a volt ohm meter (digital). The circuit consists of 4 receptacles (one controlled by a switch), one outside light and one inside light. The breaker is fine, and both the pen and meter detects electricity.

When I plug in the tester into a receptacle I get the two lights indicating correct connection. I add a lamp to the receptacle, turn it on (load) and the plug tester show Hot/Gnd Reverse. Remove the lamp (load), goes back to normal (two lights). Turn on either of the overhead light fixtures the tester again shows Hot/Gnd Reverse. Turn off the lights, back to normal.

I suspect a white neutral wire nut has become loose at one of the lights. Any other ideas before I go ripping into the light fixtures?

Thanks in advance.
 

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12-15-20, 09:24 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Doubtful it's at the lights. They both have the same reaction.
Try this.... put a lamp into the socket and turn a light on.
Now measure voltage from hot(small slot) to ground and neutral (large slot) to ground.

An open neutral is usually traceable to a push-in connection at a receptacle. I would check the connections at the receptacles first. If you have any wires pushed into the device.... move them to the screw terminals.
 
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Old 12-15-20, 08:37 PM
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Hot ground reverse is most often an indication of an open neutral.
 
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Old 12-15-20, 09:24 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Doubtful it's at the lights. They both have the same reaction.
Try this.... put a lamp into the socket and turn a light on.
Now measure voltage from hot(small slot) to ground and neutral (large slot) to ground.

An open neutral is usually traceable to a push-in connection at a receptacle. I would check the connections at the receptacles first. If you have any wires pushed into the device.... move them to the screw terminals.
 
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Old 12-15-20, 10:09 PM
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joed...This is what I was thinking also. With the lights off, the receptacle shows a correct circuit. The neutrals (white wires) are properly connected... no break. When you turn on the light the tester shows the hot/gnd reverse... which indicates to me the neutral (white wires) AT THE LIGHTS are the problem. The only issue that confuses me is when I plug in a lamp (bypassing where I think the issue is, the lights), the circuit switches from "correct" to hot/gnd reverse.

I hope I am making sense in describing the problem I am having...
 
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Old 12-15-20, 10:19 PM
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PJmax... thanks, I'll try it in the morning when I have more light and get back to you.
 
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Old 12-16-20, 06:26 AM
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The problem could be in a working device on the same circuit.
 
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Old 12-17-20, 01:19 PM
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Finally got it done (I need a new multi meter...).

Light switch off. Hot to Ground shows 120 V.
Neutral to Ground show 0.

Light switch on. Hot to Ground shows 120 V.
Neutral to Ground shows 110 V.

Suspect a neutral (white wire) is loose somewhere, but don't know where to look.

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 12-17-20, 01:35 PM
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Yes.... you have an open neutral wire. As I previously mentioned..... finding pushed-in wiring is the number one cause of all intermittent problems. I am constantly on calls where I find melted/burned/loose wiring due to push-ins.

Pull out and inspect the wiring on the receptacles.



 
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Old 12-17-20, 07:50 PM
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Will check the entire circuit. Thank you for the advice.
 
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Old 12-17-20, 08:04 PM
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If you know how the cables are routed, The problem is in the last working or the first dead device.
 
 

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