voltage on neutral wire

Old 05-11-02, 08:34 PM
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voltage on neutral wire

My neighbor has a perplexing problem. After using an electrical outlet to run a belt sander and dremel tool, the breaker for this outlet tripped when he attempted to use a vacuum cleaner. After resetting the breaker, the outlet no longer worked. After removing the outlet a voltage meter showed 109v to ground on the black and 10v to ground on the neutral. How is this possible?
Old 05-11-02, 08:58 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
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There are a number of ways that this is possible. If, as you say, the outlet no longer works, the most likely explanation is that the overload caused the neutral connection to be broken somewhere. The 109 volts is within the range of normal, and the 10 volts is simply a phantom (i.e., capacitively coupled from an adjacent wire on another circuit) voltage. I suggest you check all connections on this circuit, especially the connections of the white wire. Check the connections at every receptacle and switch (not just the one with the problem). If any connections are made with push-in connectors, move the connection to the adjacent screw for a better connection. Make sure all wire nuts are tight. If the problem is still not solved, then carefully check the connections in the panel.
Old 05-15-02, 09:48 AM
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Wink voltage on neutral

found a receptacle that had been boarded over during original construction. started to open up walls after exhausting all other possibilities. outlet had an insecure neutrl pigtail. thx for your input
Old 05-15-02, 10:57 AM
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The code requires all junctions to remain accessible. Now that you have located that receptacle you must keep it accessible. If you know you won't ever be using it, you can remove the receptacle, wirenut the connections and install a blank faceplate over the opening.

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