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Old 12-31-2012, 03:20 PM   #1
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Elictrical Problem Please Help

Hey everyone please help here.I have a older 2 wire home, My light in my kitchen has quit working, so I took it down and went to replace it with a nice new one. Problem... My wires are now only reading 40volts, I went to the switch that controls it, only has 2 wires the hot and other. They also only read 40 volts. Just to make sure I took my reader to one of my outlets in the wall and it reads 118 volts. So I have no idea whats going on here. Any help is appreciated. Thanks so much Austin


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Old 12-31-2012, 03:49 PM   #2
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voltage drop

I am not a professional electrician; rather an automotive technician for 26 years. It sounds to me like there is a voltage drop on the positive wire, possibly caused by a faulty fuse/circuit breaker, or bad connection in fusebox/circuit breaker box. Please have this checked by a professional electrician.


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Old 12-31-2012, 04:21 PM   #3
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I would bet you are using a typical digital multimeter, right? If you turn the light switch on and measure the voltage across the fixture with a bulb in, I bet it reads close to zero, right? The 40V reading is most likely "phantom voltage" - induced voltages on unloaded wires that your extremely sensitive digital meter picks up. You would need an analog meter or a "low impedance" digital meter to avoid this problem, but once you understand it you can live with it. It sounds like the circuit is not getting power. Have you checked the breaker or fuse that serves this circuit? Are any other lights or receptacles not working?
I am a lawyer, but not your lawyer. And who cares anyways? We're here to talk construction. This is DIY advice, not legal advice.
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:47 PM   #4
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The old fixture had two wires connected and worked. The new fixture has two wires. Connect them to the two wires from the old fixture and turn on the switch. If it doesn't work come back and tell use what happens.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:44 AM   #5
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Do not measure voltage across/between* two switch terminals, or across the two wires that were attached to a switch. This may give a reading but that is useless information for general purpose electrical work.

Those of you with considerable experience can make heads or tails out of such a voltage reading.

Normally you measure voltage across a hot wire and the neutral wire, or across two wires both of which are supposed to be hot supply wires. Hot to ground measurements are also generally useful but have to be taken with a grain of salt (and/or require some electrical experience).

* The places where you touched the two meter probes.
The good conscientious technician or serviceperson will carry extra oils and lubricants in case the new pump did not come with oil or the oil was accidentally spilled, so the service call can be completed without an extra visit.

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-01-2013 at 07:48 AM.
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