120V between Neutral and Ground


A

Aaron

I have been trying to trace down where a circuit starts showing
voltage between my ground wire and neutral wire. I found the a
receptacle on the circuit that is correct where the neutral and ground
show 0V, and then a box which I believe is the next receptacle that
shows 120V between the ground and neutral. I have looked in both
boxes and everything looks correct.

1st Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 120V
N->G = 0V

2nd Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 0V
N->G = 120V

What can cause the above scenario. A short? A broken wire?
Also, is this dangerous? I think it has been like this for awhile.
 
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R

RBM

Aaron said:
I have been trying to trace down where a circuit starts showing
voltage between my ground wire and neutral wire. I found the a
receptacle on the circuit that is correct where the neutral and ground
show 0V, and then a box which I believe is the next receptacle that
shows 120V between the ground and neutral. I have looked in both
boxes and everything looks correct.

1st Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 120V
N->G = 0V

2nd Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 0V
N->G = 120V

What can cause the above scenario. A short? A broken wire?
Also, is this dangerous? I think it has been like this for awhile.
Maybe the white and black wires have been reversed between the first and
second receptacles.There maybe some other junction between these outlets.
It's not an open or short. You have proper voltage at both receptacles
 
A

Aaron

It looks like somewhere the neutral and the hot wires have been reversed.

While you are probabaly not in danger of a meltdown, do not use the socket
that has the faulty wiring.
Also something else I just thought of. Downstream from the bad box,
there is a light and the switch leg shows voltage between the neutral
and the ground when the switch is off.
 
M

mm

I have been trying to trace down where a circuit starts showing
voltage between my ground wire and neutral wire. I found the a
receptacle on the circuit that is correct where the neutral and ground
show 0V, and then a box which I believe is the next receptacle that
shows 120V between the ground and neutral. I have looked in both
boxes and everything looks correct.

1st Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 120V
N->G = 0V

2nd Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 0V
N->G = 120V
'
If you have 120 between your neutral and ground, that's good. They
don't bill you for current on either of those conductors, so if you
reconnect your circuits, you can run your electric things for free.
 
J

Jeff Thies

Maybe the white and black wires have been reversed between the first and
second receptacles.There maybe some other junction between these outlets.
I don't see how it could be anything but. Likely just switched the
wires, the ground is correct.

Jeff
 
J

jw

I have been trying to trace down where a circuit starts showing
voltage between my ground wire and neutral wire. I found the a
receptacle on the circuit that is correct where the neutral and ground
show 0V, and then a box which I believe is the next receptacle that
shows 120V between the ground and neutral. I have looked in both
boxes and everything looks correct.

1st Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 120V
N->G = 0V

2nd Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 0V
N->G = 120V

What can cause the above scenario. A short? A broken wire?
Also, is this dangerous? I think it has been like this for awhile.
It's probably because they are using a black or red wire for the
neutral. The neutral MUST be white. If any other color is used, that
wire becomes Hot.
 
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R

RBM

It looks like somewhere the neutral and the hot wires have been reversed.

While you are probabaly not in danger of a meltdown, do not use the socket
that has the faulty wiring.
Also something else I just thought of. Downstream from the bad box,
there is a light and the switch leg shows voltage between the neutral
and the ground when the switch is off.

More evidence that the black and white wires got reversed. This switch is
now breaking the neutral, and the hot is going directly to the fixture.
 
S

Stormin Mormon

Good idea to get an electrician to check that, and possibly
rewire the socket.

--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
www.lds.org
..



It looks like somewhere the neutral and the hot wires have
been reversed.

While you are probabaly not in danger of a meltdown, do not
use the socket
that has the faulty wiring.
 
S

Stormin Mormon

Can be caused by being wired backwards. Yes, it can be
dangerous. It's not a severe danger, but here's why.
Appliances usually have on off switch. If the socket is
wired bakwards, the wires in the appliance can be "hot"
while the switch is off. It's not going to kill someone
today, but it's less safe. Should be corrected, sometime at
your convenience.

--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
www.lds.org
..


I have been trying to trace down where a circuit starts
showing
voltage between my ground wire and neutral wire. I found
the a
receptacle on the circuit that is correct where the neutral
and ground
show 0V, and then a box which I believe is the next
receptacle that
shows 120V between the ground and neutral. I have looked in
both
boxes and everything looks correct.

1st Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 120V
N->G = 0V

2nd Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 0V
N->G = 120V

What can cause the above scenario. A short? A broken wire?
Also, is this dangerous? I think it has been like this for
awhile.
 
H

hr(bob) hofmann

Can be caused by being wired backwards. Yes, it can be
dangerous. It's not a severe danger, but here's why.
Appliances usually have on off switch. If the socket is
wired bakwards, the wires in the appliance can be "hot"
while the switch is off. It's not going to kill someone
today, but it's less safe. Should be corrected, sometime at
your convenience.

--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
 www.lds.org
.


I have been trying to trace down where a circuit starts
showing
voltage between my ground wire and neutral wire.  I found
the a
receptacle on the circuit that is correct where the neutral
and ground
show 0V, and then a box which I believe is the next
receptacle that
shows 120V between the ground and neutral.  I have looked in
both
boxes and everything looks correct.

1st Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 120V
N->G = 0V

2nd Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 0V
N->G = 120V

What can cause the above scenario.  A short?  A broken wire?
Also, is this dangerous?  I think it has been like this for
awhile.
Who did the wiring in question? If licensed, their license should be
rescinded.
 
S

Stormin Mormon

It does seem negligent. After all, a three bulb tester
would have spotted that. I looked on HF, and can't
find the item. Three blade plug, three bulbs. Typically
made of yellow plastic.

--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
www.lds.org
..


"hr(bob) (e-mail address removed)"

Who did the wiring in question? If licensed, their
license should be rescinded.
 
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R

RogerT

More evidence that the black and white wires got reversed. This
switch is now breaking the neutral, and the hot is going directly to
the fixture.
I am just curious....,

If I had a situation like that (I don't), would one way to try to figure out
where the wires got switched be to use a continuity checker?

In other words, turn off all of the power and then use a continuity checker
with a long wire and alligator clip attached, and try to trace which wire
from the first box has continuity to which wire in the second box, etc.
 
S

Stormin Mormon

Might be easier to look at the back of sockets. Black to
copper screw, white to silver screw. Some where, a socket is
wired backwards.

--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
www.lds.org
..


"RogerT" <[email protected]>
wrote in message

If I had a situation like that (I don't), would one way to
try to figure out
where the wires got switched be to use a continuity checker?

In other words, turn off all of the power and then use a
continuity checker
with a long wire and alligator clip attached, and try to
trace which wire
from the first box has continuity to which wire in the
second box, etc.
 
J

jamesgangnc

I am just curious....,

If I had a situation like that (I don't), would one way to try to figure out
where the wires got switched be to use a continuity checker?

In other words, turn off all of the power and then use a continuity checker
with a long wire and alligator clip attached, and try to trace which wire
from the first box has continuity to which wire in the second box, etc.- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -
I agree. Since you are just guessing this is the downleg box you
really don't know. Power it all down, disconnect the wires and start
checking continuity with an ohm meter or continuity checker. If it
looks like a wire leaves the box as one color and shows up in the
other box as another color that means there is a box between the two
you have not found. Or a splice buried in the wall.
 
R

Robert Green

Aaron said:
I have been trying to trace down where a circuit starts showing
voltage between my ground wire and neutral wire. I found the a
receptacle on the circuit that is correct where the neutral and ground
show 0V, and then a box which I believe is the next receptacle that
shows 120V between the ground and neutral. I have looked in both
boxes and everything looks correct.

1st Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 120V
N->G = 0V

2nd Box
H->N = 120V
H->G = 0V
N->G = 120V

What can cause the above scenario. A short? A broken wire?
Also, is this dangerous? I think it has been like this for awhile.
Wires are reversed, possibly at the outlet you're measuring at. Find the
circuit's breaker and pull the outlet and make sure green or bare copper
goes to green, black to gold and white to silver. Make sure any pigtailing
is properly done. Find all other outlets on the circuit and check them as
well. Get a 3 prong outlet tester with little neon lights to test each
outlet for correct polarity and grounding ($5)

http://www.thecircuitdetective.com/test.htm

http://www.thecircuitdetective.com/outlet_tester.gif

If all the outlets pass but the lamp switch wiring is still screwy, then I
would suspect something a little more difficult to track down. Is that
switch a dimmer, timer or other powered switch? I often find people
perplexed when installing these devices in a lamp fixture circuit that
doesn't have a neutral wire so they pull one from somewhere else, often with
very bad results.
 
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R

RBM

RogerT said:
I am just curious....,

If I had a situation like that (I don't), would one way to try to figure
out where the wires got switched be to use a continuity checker?

In other words, turn off all of the power and then use a continuity
checker with a long wire and alligator clip attached, and try to trace
which wire from the first box has continuity to which wire in the second
box, etc.
It's a little difficult. You have to disconnect the conductors from their
line and any loads first. Otherwise you get backfeeds. The problem is that
you don't have any good way of knowing that you've got everything
disconnected.
Branch circuit wiring generally goes, "as the crow flies", so you can
usually find these problems by opening all related junction boxes in the
vicinity of the problem
 
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