50 volts across terminals update

Thanks to all who responded to my earlier post on this subject. Those who cautioned me about "vapor volts" were right, and switching from a digital to an analog meter resulted in a reading of about 8 volts between conduit and neutral instead of 50. The bx cable in question, by the way, is just a short section of bx spliced into the two-conductor cloth covered cable and so the metal bx conuit is truly not grounded. I still haven't figured out how a circuit that shows line voltage on both sides of the fuse in the fusebox can shut itself off and then turn itself back on like this one does, without blowing the fuse. The circuit wire seems to be aluminum, by the way; I don't know if that makes any difference.
Tom Durham, North Carolina
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Tom Desmond wrote:

Unless that was a top quality analog meter, 8V is high.

Do you meant the wires in the home or just the wires coming from the pole to the breaker box.
If the wires in your home are aluminum you could have a serious problem. Unless they have been properly updated they are a hazard waiting to happen and could well explain what you are seeing.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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Joseph Meehan wrote:

Hi, 8 Volt is still too high. Sounds like you need thorough inspection of your wiring. Al wire not properly installed and disturbed can be even fire hazard. Main difference between analog and digital meter is digital one is much more sensitive having higher input impedance. That's why I have 3 different meters; analog, digital, and VTVM(for higher frequency use). And I own an oscilloscope as well. Tony
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Tom Desmond wrote:

Unfortunately, Tom, what you are experiencing is the result of many years of abuse and improper wiring by previous owners. Your wiring is to the point where it is a fire hazard and needs to be replaced. I've seen this sort of wiring way too many times in my 30 years of doing electrical work. From my experience, any time spent trying to troubleshoot/repair a wiring system such as yours is better spent just pulling in new circuits. Additionally, any repairs that you make, since the wires are brittle from years of overheating, may lead to other hazards.
IF your wiring is salvagable, and I doubt that it is, is takes an electrician with lots of experience dealing with old abused wiring to make the decisions that will result in SAFE repairs to your wiring. That wire that "looks like aluminum" is probably copper that has been overheated to the point that it has discolored.
You probabaly have a bad connection somewhere in the circuit. My guess is that you will find it where a previous owner decided to splice into cable, probably without using a box either. From my experience, you will probably find that one nightmare leads to another. When checking connections, the best thing to do is remake them....visual inspection usually does not suffice in these situations. Also keep in mind that just moving existing wiring may lead to damage because the insulation is so brittle.
This is not a DIY project! Please call an electrician who is experienced in old, abused residential wiring. I'm not trying to scare you, however, it would be irresponsible for an experienced electrician, such as myself, not to warn you of possible fire hazards.
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