120V Socket only reading 85V ???


Hello
I have a single electric socket for my washer which all of a sudden is only reading 85V. The socket is on its own circuit and I have no idea why the drop in voltage.
I have removed the socket and tested just the bare wires and get the same reading. I have swapped out the circuit breaker (with a known good one) and have same problem.
What else might be causing this? I am guessing I have a short somewhere... Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Are you getting 85V at the breaker? If so, then you've got big problems, if not then the fault lies in the wiring between the breaker and the outlet.
Those big problems could be a number of oddball things, possibly power feeding back through some other device around a break in the system. But check it the breaker.

Thing is, a short that was eating that much power would result in a lot of heat. You should be able to smell the smoke if this were the case.
John
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Hello
I checked at the breaker and it was 120... I will double check the wire connections both at the breaker box and outlet again... Very strange why this happend all of a sudden. I should be able to check the entire line in the attick tomorrow to make sure it is not fried somewhere along the way... In the mean time I am keeping the breaker off.
Thanks
On Dec 11, 1:51 pm, snipped-for-privacy@westnet.poe.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

What are the other outlets reading on each leg of your 220 in? Maybe the transformer feeding your house is going bad on one leg? Check each leg and if one is very dissamaler call your power company and have them look into it.
Does the washer run OK?
Rich
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Nope, washer won't run... I thought it went bad so we ran out and bought a new one, only to find out the new one wouldnt run either. Further investigation led me to finding the low voltage issue.
I am not having power issues anywhere else in the house, just this single circuit.
G
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First, some terms.
A "short" is when something is connected, but shouldn't be. An "open" is something not connected, but should be.
Since you have a VOM, please try reading from the hot to the ground. If this gives you 110 volts, then the problem is with your neutral.
In any case, it's a good idea every couple years to take a screw driver and tighten all the neutrals in your breaker box. I know no one does, but it's a good idea. I've lived at the same adress for 11 years, and not tightened my neutrals.
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OK I will test the HOT and GROUND and see what voltage I get.
Thanks for the tip.
On Dec 11, 2:28 pm, "Stormin Mormon"

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Geoff wrote:

No. Measure hot to neutral. Ideally with some load across the pair, nearby.
Failing all else, you may want to enlist the services of a pro. Electrical power probs can get someone killed, or start a fire. Not good.
J
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I will test a few more things as suggested here... if I can't figure it out I will be calling in a pro. Don't worry, I don't want my house to burn down either. :)
Thanks everyone for their help / suggestions. G
On Dec 11, 3:29 pm, snipped-for-privacy@sme-online.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Check the voltages at your other outlets. If they read other than 120V, you might have an open neutral, with other appliances on the circuit acting as a voltage divider to create a virtual ground.
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CJT wrote:

If the OP is using a digital meter, this might also be a completely dead circuit with an induced voltage on it that will go away if, say, a lamp is plugged in (which might be a worthwhile test.)
nate
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I will check what the circuit reads when having something plugged into it...
G

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Geoff wrote:

Don't forget to turn it on! :-)

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Do you remember the Aesops fable of the man, the boy and the donkey? It applies, here.
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N8N wrote:

Have you calculated how much capacitance (and hence, how many feet of wire) would be required for that to be so?
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CJT wrote:

Not really, but I have seen readings as high as 75VAC on a DMM on a dead circuit before, so I don't think 85V is out of the question.
nate
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I fear an neutral problem, but I have to suggest one remote possibility. If for some reason the current to that socket is turned off (or there is an open circuit) and you are using most any digital meter, you may just be measuring the stray voltage that can show up on dead lines.
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wrote:

Yes, when checking housewiring that is unloaded a DMM can do this. Plug a lamp (or similar load) into the outlet and re-measure. Or, just see if the lamp will come on. Could be a bad connection in a junction box. If it was a floating neutral, I'd guess some other symptoms would be apparent.
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Have you checked your attic for squirrels?? I had one chew right through the wires, but when I turned on the light, I heard a thump in the attic...squirrel is no longer chewing..he made a mess!

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On 11 Dec 2006 11:48:58 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Measure the voltage with nothing connected and again with some load connected. You'll probably find nearly 0V with the load. In that case, you have a wire that's not connected and an induced voltage.
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