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Old 07-22-2011, 11:48 AM   #1
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Lost neutral on a/c fan


I have, I think, lost my neutral. I have a 120v 1/3 hp. fan motor on what I think is a dedicated plugin ckt.The relay chatters loudly when I turn on the fan. I plugged in a light, & the bulb is very dim, but a plugin tester shows the ckt is good/ wired correctly. This is in a residence built in the late '50s & is a 2 wire ckt..I have crawled part of the ceiling looking for J boxes but to no avail ... how can I temporarily get this thing to work until I can hire an electrician to troubleshoot this problem?.. Could I scab a neutral from a nearby ckt to use it temporarily??.. P.S. I am NOT an electrician.. but I have worked with one as a helper while installing new wiring before..


Last edited by daveincali; 07-22-2011 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:09 PM   #2
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Lost neutral on a/c fan


OK, OK.. I KNOW some won't touch this because of possible code or some other violation may be involved.. but is it plausible to accomplish safely as described? My family, as many others are, struggling with the heat... I can't afford to hire someone for a couple weeks, and this IS only a temporary measure.. I NEED HELP.. if you wish your answer to not appear here.. my email is daveincali@sbcglobal.net. I am desperate & could use some help.. I am not an inspector nor trying to spam or troll... just attempting to get some help.. Thx in advance

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Old 07-22-2011, 01:52 PM   #3
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Lost neutral on a/c fan


I would try to plug in something else with a heavier load like a vacuum cleaner on that circuit and see if it works. Then you'll know for sure whether it's the circuit or the motor.
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Old 07-22-2011, 02:12 PM   #4
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Lost neutral on a/c fan


I already installed a new motor, capacitor, & relay before I discovered the neutral issue.. expensive way to find the neutral issue.. should have mentioned it in orig. post, but thx for the suggestion.. any other help out there?
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Old 07-22-2011, 04:10 PM   #5
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Lost neutral on a/c fan


Technically you could. All neutrals lead back to a common point in the panel. How far away is it from your breaker panel? It is not on a gfci outlet is it?
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Old 07-22-2011, 04:50 PM   #6
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Lost neutral on a/c fan


I'm not understanding if this fan is in a central AC unit in the house or in the outdoor unit? If so, it likely runs on 220v I would think. The relay/contactor could be bad.
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Old 07-22-2011, 05:34 PM   #7
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Lost neutral on a/c fan


If you are sure the motor is 120v,
Then use a near by neutral to test,
This will soon tell if the neutral has been lost.
But dont leave it connectted this way.
As this just imposes extra load on a circuit
that might not be able to sustain it.
Once you know for sure what the problem is,
Then it is easier and safer to fix.

What sort of circuit tester did you use to test ?
A non contact type tester ?
Or one of those plug in type testers ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by daveincali View Post
I have, I think, lost my neutral. I have a 120v 1/3 hp. fan motor on what I think is a dedicated plugin ckt.The relay chatters loudly when I turn on the fan. I plugged in a light, & the bulb is very dim, but a plugin tester shows the ckt is good/ wired correctly. This is in a residence built in the late '50s & is a 2 wire ckt..I have crawled part of the ceiling looking for J boxes but to no avail ... how can I temporarily get this thing to work until I can hire an electrician to troubleshoot this problem?.. Could I scab a neutral from a nearby ckt to use it temporarily??.. P.S. I am NOT an electrician.. but I have worked with one as a helper while installing new wiring before..

Last edited by dmxtothemax; 07-22-2011 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:34 AM   #8
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Lost neutral on a/c fan


First off.. Thanks to ALL ..for taking the time to respond my query...This is a central air inside fan unit..120v... It is not on a gfci type ckt..I used a plug in type tester originally & it indicated a normally connected ckt. I then plugged in a spotlight & it was extremely dim.. I tried using an amprobe AT2400 test kit to troubleshoot & I had no luck using it ( not enough experience I guess). I then consulted an electrician/ friend for advice & he said " its going to take alot of ceiling crawling & opening Jboxes one by one". I crawled as far as my 60 y/o, 200lb., 6 ft. body could reach in a half hour in the 90 plus temps & gave up without finding any jboxes. Until I can afford hiring him, I just need to get by for now.

Last edited by daveincali; 07-23-2011 at 12:43 AM. Reason: more info added after reading ALL responses.
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Old 07-23-2011, 04:31 AM   #9
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Lost neutral on a/c fan


A goof! Good Luck.
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Old 07-23-2011, 09:45 PM   #10
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Lost neutral on a/c fan


A positive test with an circuit tester,
And a negitive test with a load means
you have a currant limit in place.
This is why i asked how you tested.
A bad or loose connection is most likely,
Or a back feed due to an open circuit somewhere.
If you feel you cannot fix this yourself,
you should consider hiring an electricain.
Dont forget to get back on when you find the prob,
And let us know what it was !
But I suspect most good electricains already know
the most likely cause.
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Old 07-24-2011, 07:34 AM   #11
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Lost neutral on a/c fan


if you LOST the neutral to the furnace air handler then the transformer isn't fed either just with the black HOT showing to ground....you have to confirm if you have 120V on the primary of the transformer then we go from there.....if you have no 120V at the TR primary with the unit off from the stat but the toggle and CB in the on positions...bring a neutral over with a extension cord pop the CB panel and check the furnace breaker for its neutral from the wire run from the furnace should be a "home run" no wire nutted neutrals in the ceiling 1900 boxes...FYI the condenser and furnace are wired with seperate CBs and wire run outs....you need to use a meter with leads catch the hot/black to ground "any metal" 120V, then see if you have 120Vs black to white all within the funace.the chatter relay sounds like it is getting the HOT 24V side of the TR but again no neutral back to the CB panel..lets hear back
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:13 AM   #12
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Lost neutral on a/c fan


Quote:
Originally Posted by thorguy57 View Post
Technically you could. All neutrals lead back to a common point in the panel. How far away is it from your breaker panel? It is not on a gfci outlet is it?
Do not follow this advice. Using a neutral from another circuit would be a code violation. It could lead to overheating the neutral and cause a fire.

Have you checked the connections at the receptacle? Large loads like A/C can cause the backstabs to fail.
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Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:29 AM   #13
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Lost neutral on a/c fan


I didnt say I would advise it or it was a good idea. I just said that technically if he did it, it would work.

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