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Old 06-21-2008, 03:53 PM   #31
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Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?


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Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
The problem is not the drain, but it is showing you have a problem. You need to hire a real electrician to find that problem, this is not something that can just be fixed over the internet.

I wish I could just tell you exactly what the problem is, but its just not possible.

I agree Chris. The problem is tricky enough that I cant' quite finger it but, give me a multi-meter, megger and the permission to pull the meter and I'll nail it.

Current does not "come" from pipes, it "goes" to them. The only physical connection between the two is in the main panel at the neutral bar. (oh, and my first idea about the water heater..lolol)

Dude, you need STILL another electrician

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Old 06-23-2008, 07:50 AM   #32
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Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?


I shut the main breaker and tested again this morning. The multimeter is showing the same readings as before.
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:30 AM   #33
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Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?


Put your meter on DC and check again. If you get a higher reading, go out to your telephone interface, open the customer access side and unplug the "jack" Test again, no voltage then you've isolated it to your phone line. With your meter on ac you'll get a reading of 1-3 volts, on DC this will go to 30-40. I've had an issue with a phone line draped across a hot water line and the heat from the pipe eventually melted the sheathiing and conductor insulation.
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:33 AM   #34
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Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?


I think my multimeter only has AC and Ohms (its a cheapo). I can run to home depot and get a better one.
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:47 AM   #35
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Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?


Just go out and unplug the jack from your interface and see if the voltage goes away. I've just got a feeling it's your phone line

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Old 06-23-2008, 08:49 AM   #36
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Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?


I unplugged both jacks (there were two jacks) in the customer access panel with no change in current.
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Old 06-24-2008, 08:38 PM   #37
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Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?


Son of a B#@ch. I found the problem.

I shut off my electrical main, disconnected my phone and cable, and walked out and tested the water lines coming into my house against my neighbors.

Approximately 3 weeks ago when we first moved into this house, the City of Houston decided to install new wireless transmitters on all of the water meters. This allows them to read meters without ever stopping a van.



While these wireless "iTron" transmitters were being installed, someone must have improperly sealed one of the wires.
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:02 PM   #38
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Wow there is one to file away for future reference. Good catch. Where did they get power from to install the transmitters?
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:06 PM   #39
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Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?


I am not sure where the power is coming from exactly. The power lines disappear into the dirt...

My neighbor has the same current running through his water pipes, he just did not realize it.
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Old 06-25-2008, 06:45 AM   #40
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geez! cool ending and you found the problem yourself!

nice work dude,


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Old 06-25-2008, 10:47 PM   #41
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Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?


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I am not sure where the power is coming from exactly. The power lines disappear into the dirt...

My neighbor has the same current running through his water pipes, he just did not realize it.
Very interesting problem and great! sleuth work on your part.
Is it possible that all these new wireless transmitters in your neighborhood were incorrectly installed??
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Old 06-26-2008, 12:28 AM   #42
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Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?


Ok someone please explain to me how .235 volts is finding anything? This is hardly a shock hazard showing up at a showerhead. He is measuring across 2 water pipes, This would be a very normal reading on a dvm. Surely no one here was expecting a zero reading.
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:34 AM   #43
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Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?


Could it actually be stray RF energy that you are feeling? It would not show up on a DMM, since it's much higher frequency than any DMM is designed to measure.
It doesn't take much RF to cause a "shock". I used to get these little shocks from my microphone on my HAM rig until I fixed the antenna.

If the water company transmitters are always-on, then they are constantly emitting RF energy. You can get an RF potential across what appears to be a well grounded system, as higher frequencies do not "see" the low resistance path to ground that AC and DC currents do.

This said, it is very difficult to measure RF energy. You need to know what frequency range it is before you can get a reading of the amount of energy.
If you have any HAM operators in your area, check with one of them.

Try Googling the model and manufacturer of the transmitters.

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Old 06-26-2008, 08:37 PM   #44
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Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?


You have a faulty neutral somewhere....maybe the service neutral, maybe a branch circuit neutral.

I have seen 120 volts to a shower TWICE. In both cases it was a branch circuit issues (open neutral) combined with lack of bonding issues.

It CAN kill you. Get a GOOD electrician to look at it. Get the power co to look at it. Get some old guys out there NOW. If you are in AZ, I'll come out.

================================================== ==

OK....I posted before I read everything. I THOUGHT you said 120 volts at the shower head. Now it seems as though it is only a fraction of a volt from a multimeter.

Nevermind. A meter can read voltage where there is "none".

Last edited by 220/221; 06-26-2008 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:48 AM   #45
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Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?


220/221; He said he was reading 1.2V from the shower, not 120V.
He also said that when he cut power at the mains, the voltage remains.

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