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Solved: troubleshooting house wirimg


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10-Jul-2012, 02:34 PM #1
Solved: troubleshooting house wirimg
I have replaced two circuit breakers and still doesnt work. Even with the breaker off my proximity tester shows a voltage present throughout the lines. With the main off and the hot wire removed from the breaker it shows open when tested with the ground. The two lines that don't work have a common white wire, even thought they are on separate breakers. The pannel hasnt been touch in years although it has tripped frequently over the years.
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10-Jul-2012, 08:58 PM #2
Ok, sounds like several issues.

First, I'm not sure I've ever seen an "off" breaker feed voltage. So I would suggest the circuit of interest is fed somewhere else. So, is there something you're needing to fix that you are wanting to turn off?

And yes, the white wire is typically tied together to create the common.
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12-Jul-2012, 02:31 PM #3
Thank you for responding. to clarify the common white wire, when two breakers both share a common ground by code there must be a clip on the breakers so if one trips the other one will also trip. a black wire removed from a breaker will showw a short if checked to ground, unless it a item on a switch and the is switch off or a dedicated line with the item turned off. the black wire has some voltage leaking in the line.the lights and the multiple plugs that were added in the garage are now rewired on the hot side of the plug instead of the nuetral side. although now it is correct it wasn't the problem.
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12-Jul-2012, 07:00 PM #4
very confusing..something sounds amiss upstream from the plug you/someone jumped off of.
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12-Jul-2012, 11:17 PM #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1mdp View Post
Thank you for responding. to clarify the common white wire, when two breakers both share a common ground by code there must be a clip on the breakers so if one trips the other one will also trip. a black wire removed from a breaker will showw a short if checked to ground, unless it a item on a switch and the is switch off or a dedicated line with the item turned off. the black wire has some voltage leaking in the line.the lights and the multiple plugs that were added in the garage are now rewired on the hot side of the plug instead of the nuetral side. although now it is correct it wasn't the problem.
Ok... The panel must share a common ground; on that you are correct.

240 1 phase breakers ( 2 120 vac breakers) do need a connecting bar so when one trips, both breakers trip.

Now, in older houses in USA, a # 10 wire 3 conductor would be used for 240 vac. So the white wire in those cases would. E used as a hot wire.

Newer houses run 4 conductor, and in those the white is the neutral connected to the neutral bus bar.

So, is your problem fixed?
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13-Jul-2012, 10:28 AM #6
I figured it out that there is a loose neutral wire somewhere in the circuit. This is similar to having the switch being put on the neutral side of a light instead of the hot side. In this case, with the switch off the light wont turn on, but the is voltage to the light. I am now checking each neutral with a meter
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13-Jul-2012, 05:24 PM #7
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Originally Posted by Drabdr View Post
Ok... The panel must share a common ground; on that you are correct.

240 1 phase breakers ( 2 120 vac breakers) do need a connecting bar so when one trips, both breakers trip.

Now, in older houses in USA, a # 10 wire 3 conductor would be used for 240 vac. So the white wire in those cases would. E used as a hot wire.

Newer houses run 4 conductor, and in those the white is the neutral connected to the neutral bus bar.

So, is your problem fixed?
Quote:
Now, in older houses in USA, a # 10 wire 3 conductor would be used for 240 vac. So the white wire in those cases would. E used as a hot wire.
That goes back quite a long way doesn't it... black/white and a copper ground? I didn't think the bare copper was considered a conductor?
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13-Jul-2012, 06:44 PM #8
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That goes back quite a long way doesn't it... black/white and a copper ground? I didn't think the bare copper was considered a conductor?
Yea, it does go back a ways; to the 80's/ early 90's.

You're correct; the bare copper is not an acceptable conductor for carrying ampacity. However, most 220V house appliances don't have any 120Volt load; only 220 VAC. So there was no load on the ground.

As appliances began to have electronics and 120 VAC instruments on them, that neutral conductor became necessary.
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13-Jul-2012, 06:49 PM #9
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Originally Posted by 1mdp View Post
I figured it out that there is a loose neutral wire somewhere in the circuit. This is similar to having the switch being put on the neutral side of a light instead of the hot side. In this case, with the switch off the light wont turn on, but the is voltage to the light. I am now checking each neutral with a meter
Well.. technically there is no neutral side of a light (as far as functionality). A light is a resistive load. However, the neutral is supposed to connect to the outside metal portion of the socket, and the hot connect to the inside probe part of the socket. that way, one doesn't get shocked by the outside part if they happen to be touching a socket while it's "hot".

Overall, your analysis of the neutral system is correct. While the Hot wire may not have amps being pulled through it, the common may from another load on the circuit, since as you correctly state, the neutrals are connected in the circuit.

I'm still confused as to where you are having a problem. Does a light not work? Has any switches been changed out or anything?

Generally the problems occur at the light switches, the lights, and plugs.
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13-Jul-2012, 07:02 PM #10
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Originally Posted by Drabdr View Post
Yea, it does go back a ways; to the 80's/ early 90's.

You're correct; the bare copper is not an acceptable conductor for carrying ampacity. However, most 220V house appliances don't have any 120Volt load; only 220 VAC. So there was no load on the ground.

As appliances began to have electronics and 120 VAC instruments on them, that neutral conductor became necessary.
Quote:
However, most 220V house appliances don't have any 120Volt load; only 220 VAC. So there was no load on the ground.
Clothes dry comes to mind...
Quote:
As appliances began to have electronics and 120 VAC instruments on them, that neutral conductor became necessary.
Hence the change to a 4 prong plug...
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13-Jul-2012, 07:14 PM #11
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Originally Posted by wowzer View Post
Clothes dry comes to mind...
Hence the change to a 4 prong plug...
Exactly.
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