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david_winters 12-11-2005 12:41 PM

92V AC in two rooms
I am not a licensed electrician but do work with 3 phase temporary power generation and distribution at work. I'm trying to diagnose a problem before brining in an electrician.

House was built in 1968, California, and has push button circut breakers. Two rooms have multiple outlets that intermittently jump from 119v to 92v. Most of the time they are at 92v. When at 92v incandescent light bulbs burn out instantly, last night it fried my Powerbook power-supply. The 92v curse also cooked my alarm clock last year. Could a faulty circuit breaker cause the voltage to drop? The polarity is correct on all outlets. Both legs on the panel meter at 119v when the the outlets are at 92v. I'm stumped.

mdshunk 12-11-2005 03:33 PM

A voltage of 92 volts will not blow out an incandescent light bulb right away. It's a technical impossibility. The light will illuminate, but slightly dimmer than normal. Low voltage has absolutely no deleterious effects on resistive loads, such as incandescent light bulbs. Electronics, on the other hand, can't cope with less than designed voltage, and will fail.

You obviously have a loose, corroded, or burned connection someplace on that circuit. You need to turn off the breaker that serves this circuit in question and remove and examine ALL the connections in each device on that circuit. The problem may not exist in the first receptacle in the chain with low voltage. It may exist in the last receptacle with proper voltage. If there are any light switches or light fixtures on this circuit, the problem may lie with one of the connections in one of them. This is a fairly simple problem to solve, but involves lots and lots of troubleshooting time. It will be a loose connection somewhere, possibly a bad backstab. If you find that your devices are backstab wired, take the time to re-do those connections and wrap them around the terminal screws.

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