outlet has low volts between hot-neutral

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by valleyd01, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. valleyd01

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    1
    0
    Trying to fix a inop kitchen outlet in a 30 yr old mobile home. I removed the outlet and am only getting 60 volts between hot and neutral. Voltage between hot and ground is 120 volts. This is the first outlet in the circuit I believe. I am getting 120 volts when I check at the panel and put my meter on the affected 15 amp circuit breaker screw to the neutral bus and from the circuit breaker screw to the ground bus. Next I removed all three wires from the panel and with the kitchen outlet still unhooked I used a 20 ft jumper to go from the kitchen to the panel and checked for continuity. The neutral wire shows open while the hot and ground wires check good. Not sure where to go from here. I guess I am looking at running a new wire from the panel to the kitchen outlet unless anybody has any other ideas. Do not understand the 60 volt thing.
     
  2. Erin G.

    Senior Member

    Mar 3, 2005
    167
    1
    It's pretty typical to get funky voltage readings when the circuit is interrupted some where, either due to an open, a ground, or both.

    Regardless; Yes, you're looking at having to run a new set of wires. Depending on the location of the breaker panel and the recep, you may be able to run an outdoor-rated Romex under the house. This assumes that the area under the house is not "readily accessable" as defined by the NEC. You dont want pets or kids to be able to get at it.

    In the future, with the power off, you can try connecting two (of your three) wires together at a time, and check for continuity between those two at the other end. This will save you from having to run 20 foot jumpers through the house.

    Hope this helped, and good luck.
     
  3. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
    214
    You may want to obtain one of these AC outlet tester. You simply plug it into the suspect outlet and the three lights provide a quick visual indication of the problem.

    This is just one example. They come in several shapes and colors. A number of companies make them. You can usually find them at a local hardware store. They can be very handy for a do-it-yourselfer in checking AC power outlets for wiring problems.

    Oh yeah. This tester is for standard US outlets. I am not sure if the equivalent tester is available in other countries.

    hgmjr
     
  4. techroomt

    Senior Member

    May 19, 2004
    198
    1
    the first test with hot to neu (60vac) then hot to gnd (120vac) said it all to you, an open in the neutral line. as erin said, this is a typical reading for that. before you run a new line, investigate the routing of the existing line. although it is possible the neutral opened on you, it is unlikely. i suspect there is another receptacle before that bad one, with a faulty connection. you can start by going right and left of that one, or on the other side of same wall. or track from main panel. check for a receptacle with incoming and outgoing wires. good luck!
     
  5. mrmeval

    Distinguished Member

    Jun 30, 2006
    833
    2
    Had this in a friends house and the culprit was an outlet in *another* room that made no sense for it to be connected there but it had been paralleled off that outlet. An electrician use a tester that injected RF into the line and just followed the beeping probe.
     
  6. thingmaker3

    Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
    5,072
    6
    As noted, it is very unlikely that a wire laying in the wall would open. The more likely culprit is a loose or oxidised connection.

    Have you tried reterminating the outlet in question?
     
  7. pfofit

    Member

    Nov 29, 2006
    25
    0
    I am getting 120 volts when I check at the panel and put my meter on the affected 15 amp circuit breaker screw to the neutral bus\

    The bolded text says a lot to me. You must measure at the actual neutral wire in the pair. I had this problem numerous times where the neutral wire at the bus bar has a screw loose. Before you start tearing walls and sockets apart, take five seconds to check this .

    cheers.
     
  8. pfofit

    Member

    Nov 29, 2006
    25
    0
    I guess I'm way off. Rereading, I see that you removed the wires and did your jumper thingy. Sorry.
    Like others have said, wires in walls just don't break, unless a mouse was dining on electrons.

    cheers
     
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