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    Jhoang's Avatar
    Jhoang Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Nov 28, 2005, 09:44 AM
    Neutral Wire is Hot
    I have problem with on one of the electrical outlet in my house. The problem is this, I measured from (Neutral to Ground 120V, Hot to Ground 0V and Hot to Neutral 120V). The power on this outlet will shutdown If I plug a coffee maker, radio Ect... into this outlet. Can you please advice what might cause this problem.

    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
    Uber Member

    Nov 28, 2005, 10:47 AM
    Somewhere the white and black or other color are reversed. With the power off, pull the outlet out. The black wire should be connected to a brass screw on the side with the longer slot. If it is connected to the nickel plated one, you have found the problem. Reverse them, and you have fixed the problem. If it is a switched outlet, you could have 2 white wires. Reversing them is still the fix.

    If that outlet is OK, work your way back through anything else on the circuit looking for reversed wires. Black always goes on the brass and white on the plated. Inside the breaker box is not the best place to poke around. Leave it until last. Even with the main breaker shut off, the incoming wires are still hot and have unlimited power to zap you. A black wire on the buss with all the whites and grounds should be easy to spot as well as a white connected to a breaker. Again, reverse them to fix the problem.
    tkrussell's Avatar
    tkrussell Posts: 9,659, Reputation: 725
    Uber Member

    Nov 28, 2005, 04:08 PM
    Along with Labmans good explanation of reversed wiring, I get that the power drops off exaclty when you run an appliance in.

    If I am correct in understanding this,what I think you may have is a broken neutral of a three wire feeder. Find the one breaker that does shutoff the power to the problem outlet.

    Best way to deterimine if I am right is to have the panel opened and trace that wire to which cable it goes out in. This will lead you to the cable exiting the panel, and if a three wire cable, black, red white, and maybe a bare or green wire, the problem is definitely a broken neutral.

    This repair I believe is beyond a do it yourselfer, one because of the difficulty in finding this problem, and two, opening the panel. Unless you are good with tools, have huge patience, and familiar with working with live wires, you may consider having a pro come in.
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
    Uber Member

    Nov 28, 2005, 05:26 PM
    Great post. I failed to think through the power dropping off point. Sounds like one more good reason to skip shared neutrals.
    Borewyrm's Avatar
    Borewyrm Posts: 65, Reputation: 2
    Junior Member

    Nov 28, 2005, 06:57 PM
    With a faulty neutral one should still be able to meter voltage from hot to ground. I am trying to understand what you mean by the power dropping off. If you are comfortable with basic electrical work and being in a live panel (or are OK with killing the main for a bit) then the purchase of a toner could prove invaluable for locating the feeder in the panel and isolating the problem.
    umermariner's Avatar
    umermariner Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jun 13, 2010, 03:24 PM
    I have a similar problem :(. I have some things working on one circuit, and some don't. The ones that don't work, have live neutral :(. I have disconnected almost all the junction boxes, and taken out almost all the fixtures/ appliances on that circuit, however; not really able to pin point it.
    I am confused with few things.
    1. If the neutral is short with hot wire, how come the circuit does not trip?
    2. If the neutral is hot, how come some of the fixtures on the circuit still working?
    3. What would be the best approach to solve this problem? If the problem was hotness missing, I would have just followed it back to where I had it. I have tried the same approach for this issue as well, but didn't really work :(.
    I have everything on this circuit open right now (off course the circuit is off)... I need to figure it out asap :)... any help would be appreciated.
    umermariner's Avatar
    umermariner Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jun 13, 2010, 03:31 PM

    I am a new house owner guys... and pretty handy... however, this trouble shooting is killing me... Most of the time this Sunday, I have been in the basement working on it... I am still lucky, as I have all (I think all) junction boxes in the basement (easily accessible).
    parttime's Avatar
    parttime Posts: 1,440, Reputation: 113
    Ultra Member

    Jun 13, 2010, 05:44 PM

    umermariner, you 've ask your question on a thread that is 5 years old, you really need to start your own thread and there'll be somenone along to give you an answer. Good luck
    Stratmando's Avatar
    Stratmando Posts: 11,188, Reputation: 508
    Uber Member

    Jun 13, 2010, 05:48 PM

    Problem is likely at last good box or first bad box. Good luck.
    It is a bad neutral connection.
    umermariner's Avatar
    umermariner Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jun 13, 2010, 05:51 PM

    Thanks guys.
    I did start a new thread :)... hope it works out :(.
    Take care.
    Missouri Bound's Avatar
    Missouri Bound Posts: 1,532, Reputation: 94
    Ultra Member

    Jun 13, 2010, 07:28 PM
    Seems like someone always comes along no matter how old the thread is... sigh. Is that a bad thing?
    chuckwallick's Avatar
    chuckwallick Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Nov 2, 2013, 12:56 AM
    Well I was asking for help last month after my wall started smoking.I too found I had power on my white wires.After retracing my actions over 48 hours earlier,I had hung a mirror in the master bath close to the fuse box.That damn screw went through some wires and did not give me any clue for 2 days.First my bathroom lights failed.Then the hall way and laundry room were dead.I started pulling plates and outlets and found power on white and black.Then I found a smoking hot outlet .It was really glowing.Could have burned down the house.So even if you drove that nail two weeks ago don't count it out.. Good luck, be safe

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