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Old 05-11-2011, 06:15 PM   #1
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Couple Voltage Issues in Circuit...


Ok so we just bought a really old building, and part of it was recently finished as a one bedroom apartment.

Nearly every single wall is on its own circuit. Literally. And the place is max 500sq ft.

The bathroom and kitchen share a wall.

Two outlets one on bathroom side, one on kitchen side both pull 150 volts at the outlets (GFCI) then two more in the kitchen on a seperate wall (supposedly seperate circuit) only pull 89 volts.

Both walls being exactly 30 volts under and 30 volts over....

Also when one breaker is turned off the other circuit still pulls between 5-11 Volts, when both circuits are off they pull zero?

I discovered all of this trying to figure out why the GFI's werent working, but now ive got a whole new problem?

Also, the two outlets pulling 150 are closest to the breaker box, and before the other two 89 volt outlets if they do share some kind of line.

Im kind of at a loss as to why this would happen, and what to do to fix it?

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Old 05-11-2011, 06:25 PM   #2
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Couple Voltage Issues in Circuit...


Sounds like you have an open neutral and its on a mwbc. When you tested for power, did you go from hot to neutral? If yes, try hot to ground. If this reads 120 +/-, you have an open neutral.

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Old 05-11-2011, 06:40 PM   #3
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Couple Voltage Issues in Circuit...


Yes I tested hot to neutral. Will test hot to ground tomorrow when im back at the building.

What is MWBC?

By chance if it is an open neutral what are the steps to tracking down the issue? I.E. something other than tearing the walls/ceiling off looking for junction boxes?
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:43 PM   #4
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Couple Voltage Issues in Circuit...


Mwbc = multi wire branch circuit. as in, they ran 12/3 bx. Easiest place to start is to check the panel. Find the cable that is giving you the problem and find the cooresponding neutral. You say its a commercial building? If yes, im assuming you have a drop ceiling. Pop some tiles up near that kitchen/bathroom wall and investigate for a splice box. Also, it might be located in the device box as well Kmost likely in the ceiling)
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:44 PM   #5
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Couple Voltage Issues in Circuit...


Also, check from neutral to ground....i bet you have 120volts (which you shouldnt). This would be a dead give away to an open neutral.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:51 PM   #6
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Couple Voltage Issues in Circuit...


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Originally Posted by heartlessmcfly View Post
Mwbc = multi wire branch circuit. as in, they ran 12/3 bx. Easiest place to start is to check the panel. Find the cable that is giving you the problem and find the cooresponding neutral. You say its a commercial building? If yes, im assuming you have a drop ceiling. Pop some tiles up near that kitchen/bathroom wall and investigate for a splice box. Also, it might be located in the device box as well Kmost likely in the ceiling)
Yes its a commercial building, but it was built in 1907(so says the cornerstone) This little apartment was done off in the back of the building somewhat recently. No drop ceiling.

Device Box = Junction Box?
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:52 PM   #7
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Couple Voltage Issues in Circuit...


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Also, check from neutral to ground....i bet you have 120volts (which you shouldnt). This would be a dead give away to an open neutral.
Doing that first thing in the morning.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:54 PM   #8
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Couple Voltage Issues in Circuit...


The area in which ur having a problem with is in the apartment area where there is no drop ceiling? If yes, you might have a hard time tracking it down. Device box = where the receptacle is.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:54 PM   #9
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Couple Voltage Issues in Circuit...


pop the circuit breaker panel and read the 2 legs coming in front the pole...to ground of panel or a white neutral should be 120V(+ -) keep the meter on the white and check alll the breakers where the wires tie into per breaker.....make sure the wires on the sockets are not using that pushed in hole but screwed on

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