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Old 04-07-2014, 08:41 PM   #1
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Getting 56v on neutral


Finishing up a bath remodel ... Circuits were all working fine as installed outlets and switches. At one point, after installing a GFCI, I was unable to activate it ...then noticed the switch for the exhaust fan no longer turned the fan on ...started troubleshooting and found about 56V on the neutral from the fan, which ran back through the entire neutral chain.

Generally, I've read this means there is a bad neutral connection somewhere ... When I unplug the fan at the fan wiring harness, I lose the 56V on the neutral circuit.

I'll start checking through the rest of the circuits, but wanted to see if i was missing something more obvious?

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Old 04-07-2014, 08:46 PM   #2
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Getting 56v on neutral


56 volts to what, to hot, to ground?

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Old 04-07-2014, 08:59 PM   #3
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Getting 56v on neutral


Sorry, yeah ...as measured between ground and neutral. Normal 118V (for my house) ground to hot.
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Old 04-08-2014, 02:11 AM   #4
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Getting 56v on neutral


Does your fan have a start or run capacitor ?
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Old 04-08-2014, 06:37 AM   #5
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Getting 56v on neutral


In addition to what has been noted above.

1. What type of tester are you using?
2. Are you sure the neutral is connected?
3. What are the voltages
Hot to Ground
Hot to neutral
Neutral to ground
4. I would use a solinoid type tester or a lamp and see if this voltage you are
measuring will move the solenoid or light the lamp.
5. What else is on this circuit?
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Old 04-08-2014, 07:43 AM   #6
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Getting 56v on neutral


In addition to what has been noted above.

1. What type of tester are you using? (Digital multimeter - don't think is phantom voltage since it is detectable on other parts of the same circuit in the bathroom)
2. Are you sure the neutral is connected? (Yes. I am now working outlet to outlet and switch to switch to ensure GOOD connections)
3. What are the voltages
Hot to Ground (117V at switch)
Hot to neutral (didn't measure)
Neutral to ground (56V with switch connected)
4. I would use a solinoid type tester or a lamp and see if this voltage you are
measuring will move the solenoid or light the lamp.
5. What else is on this circuit? (Most of the bathroom, outlets, lighting, etc)

NEW - disconnected from rest of circuit and checked continuity in fan from wiring without switch ... Got 154 ohms resistance between hot and neutral and no continuity between ground and neutral or hot and ground.
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:33 AM   #7
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Getting 56v on neutral


Are you showing 56 V from neutral to earth ground any where else in the house ? At the loadcenter ? At the meter ?

Sounds like you have lost or are loosing the neutral at some point ? It is a matter of tracing it down to find where ?

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Old 04-08-2014, 05:29 PM   #8
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Getting 56v on neutral


This is important

Hot to neutral (didn't measure)

4. I would use a solenoid type tester or a lamp and see if this voltage you are
measuring will move the solenoid or light the lamp.
5. What else is on this circuit? (Most of the bathroom, outlets, lighting, etc).

Do you know which neutral in the panel feeds this circuit?
Is this a multi-wire branch circuit (TWO HOTS AND A NEUTRAL)

Use an extension cord, power off and check continuity from the location of the strange reading and to each neutral on the circuit this way you would not need to remove every device.

Or
I would do as you are doing check all connections.

Last edited by Know A Little; 04-08-2014 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 04-08-2014, 07:09 PM   #9
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Getting 56v on neutral


Gah!

Traced and checked every box ...moved back towards the main panel from the bathroom. House had 220V radiant ceiling heat ...I disconnected it years ago. As I have remodeled, I converted the 220V to 110V in several rooms to try and improve balance and fix some non NEC things I leftover from that earlier era ...I had installed an accessible interconnect box using one of these circuits in the attic. As I noted earlier, everything was working 4.0 and then ....

So, after spending another 3 hours tracing today, went to attic and opened the box ... Moved wires around a bit, then re twisted the neutrals and reinstalled wire nut as tight as could get it.

I am so paranoid now, I'm afraid to say it is working ...but, it is working.

Net - a loose neutral.

Thanks for all the suggestions ...!!!!!
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Old 04-09-2014, 02:01 AM   #10
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Getting 56v on neutral


Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenson View Post
Gah!

Traced and checked every box ...moved back towards the main panel from the bathroom. House had 220V radiant ceiling heat ...I disconnected it years ago. As I have remodeled, I converted the 220V to 110V in several rooms to try and improve balance and fix some non NEC things I leftover from that earlier era ...I had installed an accessible interconnect box using one of these circuits in the attic. As I noted earlier, everything was working 4.0 and then ....

So, after spending another 3 hours tracing today, went to attic and opened the box ... Moved wires around a bit, then re twisted the neutrals and reinstalled wire nut as tight as could get it.

I am so paranoid now, I'm afraid to say it is working ...but, it is working.

Net - a loose neutral.

Thanks for all the suggestions ...!!!!!

Neutral to ground still shouldn't have shown any voltage. Neutral is connected to ground, at the load center...
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Old 04-09-2014, 02:23 AM   #11
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Getting 56v on neutral


Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle2k View Post
Neutral to ground still shouldn't have shown any voltage. Neutral is connected to ground, at the load center...
If the neutral wire from the load is making a bad connection to the neutral wire that runs to the panel, you can get a voltage reading.
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Old 04-09-2014, 06:10 AM   #12
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Getting 56v on neutral


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Originally Posted by Seattle2k View Post
Neutral to ground still shouldn't have shown any voltage. Neutral is connected to ground, at the load center...
As noted if the neutral is open it would depend which side of the neutral you are measuring at. From the panel you would read what ever voltage drop is on the neutral conductor, assuming there is load on the branch circuit. at no load the readings between neutral and ground would be zero "0" VAC.

The reading on the open portion of the neutral would also depend on what loads are connected, nothing connected the reading should be zero "0" VAC. With loads turn on (not operating) there would be a voltage reading, though I would expect a 120 VAC reading. Additionally with the open neutral there is a possibility of a phantom or ghost reading, depending on the multimeter utilized.
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Old 04-09-2014, 07:09 AM   #13
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Getting 56v on neutral


I think the circuit had lost the neutral at the interconnect box ...since the neutral is actually grounded at the panel and behaves as a neutral, this would explain the failure for any load to operate from the circuit ...there was no path back to ground to complete the circuit?
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:24 AM   #14
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Getting 56v on neutral


Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenson View Post
I think the circuit had lost the neutral at the interconnect box ...since the neutral is actually grounded at the panel and behaves as a neutral, this would explain the failure for any load to operate from the circuit ...there was no path back to ground to complete the circuit?
Then if there was any load on the circut, neutral to ground should have been 120.......

maybe phantom reading of 56????
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:34 AM   #15
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Getting 56v on neutral


Sometimes will vary between 0 - 240 VAC . If 2 hots are shareing a neutral .

God bless
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