Why is voltage at electrical box 37 VAC and not 110 ?

In my house there is an octagon box attaced to which is a the type of light you pull with a string. It suddenly stopped working, so I removed the light completely and measured the voltage coming into the octagon box. Strange thing is that the voltage is 37 volts AC, rather than 110. What is likely the problem?
The wire coming into the box is the 14/2 type. No wires are exiting the box to goto another box. I have a good knowledge of AC circuts but this baffles me. Any ideas??
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ississauga wrote:

Easy. You are using one of those sensitive digital meters. They are so sensitive and have such a high internal resistance, they read the near static voltage picked up by a dead wire passing near a life wire. Recheck that line with an old analog meter or hook up a small load and it will read 0.
In short, the circuit has an open. Find the loose wire, tripped breaker or GFI or bad switch.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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On 8 Apr 2004 22:16:45 -0700, ississauga wrote:

You have a loose wire somewhere. Turn the light on, and the voltage readout will likely drop.
Last time I saw something like that, the voltage read 120 when the lights were off, and dropped down to about 90 when they were on (not that they actually lit up, of course). I eventually traced it all the way back to the breaker box. That circuit's neutral connection to the bus bar was loose. The wire it shared a hole with was melted a bit. Turning the main power off before poking a screwdriver around among all those wires wouldn't be the worst idea. And if you do end up getting to that point, you may as well make sure all the other bus bar screws are tight (on the ground bar, too).
You'll want to check each junction box between the breaker and the light box, and hope there actually is a loose wire, instead of one broken inside the insulation.
-- - Mike
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I agree with Mr. Meehan -- It is really 0 volts and your digital meter is picking up a bit of electricity capacitively coupled through adjacent wires. This capacitive coupling is not capable of delivering more than maybe 0.0001 amp. In essence, it's "stray pickup" rather than electricity.

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The voltage is real, but it would decrease a lot with a larger load.

Hmmm... 120V/(Pi60Hz20pF/footx200feet) = 0.0001 amp :-)
Nick
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