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Old 07-13-2012, 04:34 PM   #1
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Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


The main neutral wire coming into the breaker panel reads 5 Amps even when the main breaker is off. What could be causeing this?


Last edited by Fisher252; 07-18-2012 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:39 PM   #2
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5 amps or 5 volts?

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Old 07-13-2012, 04:45 PM   #3
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Amps ..
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:46 PM   #4
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Exactly how are you measuring the 5 amps?
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:52 PM   #5
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Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


clamp on amp meter
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:00 PM   #6
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Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


If you have current, then you have voltage.

Check each leg of the main breaker.

You could have a bad main.
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:43 PM   #7
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I flipped all of the breakers to off and still the 5 Amps...
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:47 PM   #8
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Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


Did you check the main for amperage?
Is your meter turning?
With the main breaker off, did you measure any voltage?
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:56 PM   #9
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Clamp your water pipe bonding wire or any of your grounding electrode conductors in the panel (be careful) .. do you show 5 amps total between them or any one of them?
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:10 PM   #10
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The main neutral wire coming into the breaker panel reads 5 Amps even when the main breaker is off. What could be causeing this?
PM me for a method to trace this down.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-14-2012 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:50 PM   #11
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The main neutral wire coming into the breaker panel reads 5 Amps even when the main breaker is off. What could be causeing this?
Test your ammeter on a known value. Amps is a measurement of current and it's not there unless voltage is present. Check the voltage at the mains. 5 volts with a digital meter wouln't be odd. Check for voltage with a wiggy or the like.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:12 PM   #12
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Assuming the resistance of a chunk of earth is 25 ohms, one way to do this would be to have the PoCo transformer center tap and the ground connection at your house be at a potential difference of 5A x 25 ohms = 125v.

If you go with 5 ohms for the resistance of the volume of earth then it's 5A x 5 ohms = 25v.

Sandy soil has high resistivity and clay has low, and moisture will lower the resistivity. Which do you have?
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:32 PM   #13
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:37 AM   #14
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Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


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The main neutral wire coming into the breaker panel reads 5 Amps even when the main breaker is off. What could be causeing this?
May be a neighbor with a bad neutral connection, returning neutral current through your water or gas pipes. Check current on the water bonding conductor - I bet it's the same as the neutral current with the main off. Definitely notify the power company.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:03 AM   #15
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Main Neutral is Breaker Panel Question


If there is only 5vac driving this current through the ground due to a neighborhood neutral imbalance , it's not so bad.
If it's a few hundred volts through high ground resistance, that is dangerous.

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