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Old 10-15-2012, 11:16 PM   #1
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14-3 wire both red and black hot w/ one breaker off.


I have a 14-3 wire going to a switch box in the basement from the panel. (not connected to anything yet in the basement) The red and black wires are connected to separate breakers. With one breaker off, both wires are hot. I disconnected the black wire at the panel and found that both ends of the black wire were still hot. What is going on?


Last edited by Bill001; 10-15-2012 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 10-16-2012, 12:05 AM   #2
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14-3 wire both red and black hot w/ one breaker off.


How do you know that these wires are "hot" ??

Are you using a proximity tic-tester?

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Old 10-16-2012, 05:35 AM   #3
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14-3 wire both red and black hot w/ one breaker off.


hot cables is usually a sign that your load carries more current than the current capacity of your cable. but in your case you say even with breaker off is still hot. disconect the cable completely and see if it is still hot
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:31 AM   #4
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14-3 wire both red and black hot w/ one breaker off.


Perhaps reading phantom volts with a DMM?
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:34 AM   #5
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14-3 wire both red and black hot w/ one breaker off.


I suspect you are tracing the cable incorrectly or are using a non contact tester.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:01 AM   #6
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14-3 wire both red and black hot w/ one breaker off.


This exemplifies one of the reasons that nowadays a multiwire branch circuit (two hots, typically with red and black wires, sharing one neutral) must have a double wide double breaker with handles tied so if one half trips, the other is flipped off too.

If a 240 volt appliance somewhere else is still connected (or plugged in) to that branch circuit and turned on and you flip off one breaker, current can flow from the other breaker through, say the red wire, through the appliance and be found at the disconnected side of the MWBC, say, the black wire. The voltage would vary depending on how many 120 volt lights and appliances are still plugged in on that side of the line but could be measured as high as 120 volts.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 10-16-2012 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:52 PM   #7
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14-3 wire both red and black hot w/ one breaker off.


Hi Everyone, thanks for your help.

I am using a voltage tester pen.

I determined that I have the correct wires traced as I am able to turn off the power by switching off both breakers. If I switch either one of the breakers on both wires become hot.

It is pretty strange. At the panel I have shut off all the breakers, but the one breaker that is connected to the black 14-3 wire. I disconnected the red wire from the other breaker. In the basement, I have wire nuts on the end of each wire stretched 10" in opposite directions.

When I switch on the one breaker connected to the black wire, both the black and red wire become hot in the basement and the red wire that I disconnected from the breaker is hot too.

I took out the ohm meter to check for a short in the wires,but it is showing it open.

Any ideas?
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:26 PM   #8
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14-3 wire both red and black hot w/ one breaker off.


As KBsparky and K buz have said your using an inductive tester. With the black wire energized and the red wire running parallel to the black in the same cable a voltage is induced into the red wire. It is harmless voltage and will not be an issue. However to be sure simply use a analog type tester and lose that volatge "pen" ... it is the wrong tester for the application for which your using it.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:07 AM   #9
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14-3 wire both red and black hot w/ one breaker off.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stubie
As KBsparky and K buz have said your using an inductive tester. With the black wire energized and the red wire running parallel to the black in the same cable a voltage is induced into the red wire. It is harmless voltage and will not be an issue. However to be sure simply use a analog type tester and lose that volatge "pen" ... it is the wrong tester for the application for which your using it.
Thanks everyone!

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