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franko 12-07-2006 05:02 AM

Installing GFI problem
Dear Expert Members,

I am instaling a GFI outlet in the bathroom of a old home. The wire from a dedicated bathroom run to the breaker is testing out with a charge on all three wires white, black and ground. At the pannel the black is attached to the breaker and the white and bare ground are attached to the neutral bar. I was under the impression that only one wire, the black, should test out as hot. Can anyone advise me on what the challenge may be?

Thank you


mdshunk 12-07-2006 05:55 AM


Originally Posted by franko (Post 26178)
Can anyone advise me on what the challenge may be?

Picking up the phone book.

KUIPORNG 12-07-2006 10:32 AM

I was told there are "ghost voltage" on neutral/ground before... and it is normal... I mean as long as the voltage is real low like < 10volt...

Christopher 12-07-2006 02:57 PM


I am optimistic that what you are seeing is exactly as KUI****G described, a "ghost voltage" on the long neutral/ground runs. To a neon test lamp or sensitive voltmeter this leakage current will appear as a voltage. Actually, it is leakage current as a result of capacitive coupling of the neutral and ground wires to the line wire. This current is so small that it is completely harmless and consumes no power.

You may wish to prove that it is a "ghost voltage" and not a short, here is how: Make a tester out of a 4W or 7W incandescent night light to use in place of your neon tester. This will completely suppress the "ghost voltage" and the lamp should only light on the black wire.

When installing the GFI outlet, take the time to read all the instructions, they are quite good and necessary.


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