Two gang switch in bathroom


Old 07-04-01, 11:29 AM
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Hi all, I have lost power to my light and fan in the bathroom. The wall outlets still work. The breaker did not trip. I checked the black wire to ground at the switches and it shows 120v. I checked the black to ground after the switch and it shows 120v. I checked the black to ground at the fixture and it shows 120v. When I check the black to neutral at any point in the cicuit it reads about 75v. I cannot see or detect any noticable short circuits. Any helps is greatly appreciated.

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Old 07-04-01, 02:38 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Can't quite line this up with all of your facts, but a GFCI trip should be immediately suspected in all bathroom electrical problems. The fact that your receptacles still work casts considerable doubts on this solution, but you should press the reset button on all GFCI outlets and breakers anyway, even though it probably won't work in this case.

When this fails, you'll need to shut off the breaker and pull out the switch, receptacle, fan, and light to look for bad connections. Start at the receptacle -- the most likely culprit. If you see backstab connections used, put the wires around the screws instead. Is this receptacle a GFCI receptacle???

Post back and let us know what you find.
Old 07-04-01, 08:14 PM
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If you have a neutral at the switch check power to that if its still 75v you know its not the wire between the switch and fan process of elimination.Also if youve done any work around the house check that area you could have damaged the wire and not even knew it .
Old 07-05-01, 08:17 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply's. I check the black to neutral on the line coming in to the wall box (there is two Romax 2 wire cables with ground coming in) and they both show 120v from black to ground and 75v from black to neutral. I did a little experiment and temporarily connected the neutal to the ground and the light and fan works. It appears that the neutral is the culprit but I don't know what would cause the low voltage. I thought electricity was either on full or off.
Old 07-05-01, 02:10 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
You have a poor neutral connection. Don't use the ground wire to substitute (other than the brief test you did, which was a great test by the way).

Check all neutral connections. You'll find one that is done poorly. If any of them are using the backstab connectors, switch them to use the screws instead. Tug on each wire going into a wire nut to make sure it is secure. Make sure there are never two wires under one screw.

Don't fret over the 75 volt reading. It doesn't mean much.
Old 07-05-01, 05:32 PM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 186
The 75 volts you saw is most likely capacitive and inductive coupling from the adjacent hot wire. It's common for a floating wire to have voltage induced onto it from an adjacent conductor.

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