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Old 10-01-2008, 09:30 AM   #1
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Is "live" neutral capable of electrocuting?


Here's my situation. My "hot" service comes in from my meter to a switched panel that allows me to switch the source of the power from the street to a back-up power system. The neutral/ground wire goes straight to the panel and is not switched. If I switch the power to the disconnected state at the switch, the power to panel is killed. Is the neutral going to the panel capable of electrocution in this situation or is the whole panel dead? I'd like to do some upgrade work in the panel without having to get the power company out to kill the power.

I've done plenty of electrical work, so I'm not a newbie. Just curious about the neutral in this situation.

Thanks.

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Old 10-01-2008, 09:43 AM   #2
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Is "live" neutral capable of electrocuting?


The neutral is the grounded circuit conductor. So, as long as there are no problems on the power company side of the setup, the neutral won't hurt you. It's grounded, so no current can flow between it and anything else you may contact that's grounded.

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Old 10-01-2008, 11:12 AM   #3
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Is "live" neutral capable of electrocuting?


When everything is properly installed to code, grounded, good connections, etc. a neutral will not electrocute you as it will be at "ground potential"...

HOWEVER, things can be improperly wired, not marked correctly, connections broken, no ground or broken ground, etc. In these cases what appears to be a neutral may in fact be a hot or it could be a neutral which is hot.

THEREFORE. I think it is a good practice to work as though everything is hot, use gloves, etc.
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:19 AM   #4
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Is "live" neutral capable of electrocuting?


FYI - Since we are on the subject...

A white wire with black electrical tape wrapped around it near what it is connected to is not a neutral, but is a black hot wire!

This is done for 240 volt circuits where both the white and black are hot.
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:40 AM   #5
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Is "live" neutral capable of electrocuting?


i had some work to do on my box at the pole for my generator. i tripped the all breakers AND disconnected the neutral until i was done. probably un-necessary but what the heck. better safe than....

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Old 10-01-2008, 03:17 PM   #6
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Is "live" neutral capable of electrocuting?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
FYI - Since we are on the subject...

A white wire with black electrical tape wrapped around it near what it is connected to is not a neutral, but is a black hot wire!

This is done for 240 volt circuits where both the white and black are hot.

Correct, but some people don't label it, or it can be accidentally removed.
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Old 10-02-2008, 05:58 AM   #7
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Is "live" neutral capable of electrocuting?


Thanks for the replies.
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:02 PM   #8
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Is "live" neutral capable of electrocuting?


Some of the statements on here are misleading/wrong. The neutral CAN electrocute you if you have a lower resistance than the wire. Always remeber electriciaty takes path of least resistance to get to ground.
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:45 PM   #9
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Is "live" neutral capable of electrocuting?


Quote:
Some of the statements on here are misleading/wrong. The neutral CAN electrocute you if you have a lower resistance than the wire. Always remember electricity takes path of least resistance to get to ground.

Pudge

You just made your own misleading/wrong statement..
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Old 10-03-2008, 12:14 PM   #10
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Is "live" neutral capable of electrocuting?


I'm sorry I read the reply that I was replying to wrong. disregard my last post.

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