Electrical outlet HALF working

I have an electrical outlet that is only showing 50 volts and I have used an outlet test to check the wiring and it is telling me that my wires are reveresed. Wiring is correct as far as I can see. Replacing with new outlet didn't solve issue. Any thoughts?
Josh snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

neutral, and neutral to ground. That should tell you what is going on.
Has it been working properly up to now, or did something change? If hot to ground is 50v, then you have a series circuit of some kind. Most likely possibility is that you have a multiwire circuit with a floating neutral; but like I said, it is hard to say from here.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
airtym wrote:

I am guessing that the 50V you get are really ghost volts. That is you are using a new digital meter as opposed to the older analog meters. The digital meters do not drain off the voltage that may be produced by induction. It likely is little more than static electricity.
Do both outlets (assuming it is a standard duplex outlet) show the same readings? Have you looked to make sure the wires are firmly attached? (If it wires are attached via the back stab connections, remove them and attach them to the side screw connections.)
Is it only one outlet? Are any breakers off? Has there been any other "interesting" things going on electrically speaking?
How old is the home/wiring?
Is there a GFI on the circuit?
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Joseph Meehan wrote:

Good Morning,
I don't know much about this stuff so thanks for helping. Yes, both outlets show the same voltage on my digital voltameter. I have had this issue for sometime now, so when I started working on this again the other day I started with a brand new outlet out of the box. At first I had the wires connected to the side mount nuts and now have them into the back. This is the only outlet in the house having issues. I have no breakers out. Wiring in the home is from 1974 and is 100 amp service. The panel has the "screw" type fuses. There are no GFI in my house. I only thing I had not done yet is truly track down where this wiring leds to next/from.
Thanks for your help, Josh
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
airtym wrote:

Be sure to read John's suggestion about the night light. I suspect that will eliminate that 50V you are seeing. In fact don't be surprised that the next time you check it is 20V or 100V. I suspect it is a red herring.

Put them back on the side screw down connections. Don't use those back stab connectors, they cause a lot of problems.

I would add GFI to the kitchen, bath and any outdoor outlets.
Are the wires copper or aluminum?

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Joseph Meehan wrote:

The wire is copper.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
airtym wrote:

Good, that is one less thing to worry about.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You need to be safe and replace it.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

same branch circuit (probably at the one closest to the one you are working on). The 50V may be being fed back to the open line through a load like a lamp. If you unplug everything on that branch, I bet it goes to 0V. It could be an open hot or neutral but not the ground.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I assume it's a duplex outlet. One on top, one on the bottom. If you have 50 volts in the top one and 50 volts in the bottom one, you have a total of 100 volts. That's close enough to 110. Just use both of them at once.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There is no way to get 50 V under normal circumstances unless like the other poster said, it is an induced voltage, or you have an open neutral. Which means this 50V cannot support any load.
Measure the voltages between hot and ground, neutral and ground. Then plug in a lamp or nightlight (one that uses light bulb) of any wattage and re-measure the voltages between hot and neutral, hot and ground, neutral and ground. I would expect you to get zero between hot and neutral.
Be careful the outlet may still be live (if you have an open neutral).
Did this outlet ever work normally? Can you trace the wiring to the next closest switch/outlet? Does that one work normally?
Post your findings.
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It's always worthwhile to measure the voltage between hot and ground (or neutral and ground) too. Makes remote trouble shooting much easier.
An open neutral will usually show either full line voltage (to a DVM), and hence 0V on a hot-neutral voltage test, or "anything" (stray - floating).
A voltage reading between hot/neutral, and neutral/ground should narrow things down better.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Chris Lewis wrote:

(or neutral and ground) too. Makes remote trouble shooting much easier.
-Voltage between hot and ground is 120v and hot and neutral is 50v.
-I did some homework. This outlet is at the end of a chain of outlets. No switches. I checked all the wiring on all the outlets on the chain and found nothing. I'm thinking of unwiring that outlet from the chain for safty reasons.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The neutral has become disconnected/broken/very loose somewhere between this outlet and the previous one.
When measured with a DVM, a voltage _not_ very close to zero or 120V means that the wire is "floating" (not connected at all) and the DVM is picking up stray induced voltage in it.
You can prove this to yourself by plugging a lamp into the outlet, turning it on, and testing the hot-neutral and neutral-ground voltage again. Hot-neutral will be 0v (the lamp shorts out the induced voltage on the neutral to hot), and neutral-ground will be 120V.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Do you get full voltage at the other outlets? If not, keep tracking it back to the source. Could be a broken wire, bad connection, or faulty breaker.
If the other outlets have full voltage, turn off the power, disconnect the wires from the suspect outlet, turn the power back on, and measure the voltage across the wires. If you have full voltage, the outlet is probably just bad.
If you still have low voltage, there's a problem between this outlet and the previous working outlet. Check the connection on the previous outlet. If it's good, I would run a new wire between the two outlets.
Anthony
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.