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mom5va 05-31-2012 09:12 AM

Power to ground wire
 
Why do I have power to the ground wire in a switch that is not powered. This is in an addition. This is in the hall way between the two new rooms and has not been connected to the main yet. Bedrooms are powered but not hall.

joed 05-31-2012 12:09 PM

Maybe you do have voltage. If you really don't have voltage then it is because you are using a high impedance digital meter and it is reading phantom voltage induced on the line by other live wires running in close proximity to the unpowered ones.

mom5va 05-31-2012 06:17 PM

Well I got shocked when I went to screw the switch into the box and the power was on to the bedroom next to the hall. The switch does not turn on the light and the only reading I get on the volt meter is when I touch the ground.

gregzoll 05-31-2012 06:44 PM

Really need more info. What was the voltage reading that you were getting? Also, was the breaker turned off for these circuits? What led you to needing to use a meter to take readings in the first place? There is a lot of holes in your story, so please enlighten everyone with what is going on, and how you got to where you are in determining how.

mpoulton 05-31-2012 07:11 PM

Is this a 3-way switch? What is the ground wire connected to? It may have been improperly used as a traveler.

joed 05-31-2012 07:56 PM

If you got shocked then the switch is powered. You must have an issue at the other end of the cable.
How many wires in the switch box?
What is the other end of the cable connected to?

mom5va 06-03-2012 06:38 PM

Ok I will try to explain the situation a little better. There are 2 switches on the wall. One is for the hall light and the other is for the attic lights. They are both on the circuit with the bathroom light. That circuit breaker was off. The circuit breaker for the bedroom was on. When I touched the switch to screw it into the box I got shocked.It did not feel good!! I double checked that the breaker was off, then got the volt meter to see what was going on. There was no reading at any of the screw terminal so I checked the ground wire and got a reading of 121.

gregzoll 06-03-2012 07:18 PM

You need to trace that circuit backwards, to find out why the ground is energized. Very dangerous situation. Again, how many wires are in the box that has the hall & attic lights, if it is the one with the energized ground. Your best thing at this point, is to really have an electrician look into it, due to you are playing with fire, and risking peoples lives.

My guess along with others, is that they are using the bare ground wire to act like the neutral, or even worst a hot.

sirsparksalot 06-04-2012 02:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mom5va (Post 935455)
Ok I will try to explain the situation a little better. There are 2 switches on the wall. One is for the hall light and the other is for the attic lights. They are both on the circuit with the bathroom light. That circuit breaker was off. The circuit breaker for the bedroom was on. When I touched the switch to screw it into the box I got shocked.It did not feel good!! I double checked that the breaker was off, then got the volt meter to see what was going on. There was no reading at any of the screw terminal so I checked the ground wire and got a reading of 121.

What are you using as a "voltmeter"; digital, analog, pen light, etc.?

How did you determine 121v at the [bare] ground wire?

mpoulton 06-04-2012 02:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mom5va (Post 935455)
Ok I will try to explain the situation a little better. There are 2 switches on the wall. One is for the hall light and the other is for the attic lights. They are both on the circuit with the bathroom light. That circuit breaker was off. The circuit breaker for the bedroom was on. When I touched the switch to screw it into the box I got shocked.It did not feel good!! I double checked that the breaker was off, then got the volt meter to see what was going on. There was no reading at any of the screw terminal so I checked the ground wire and got a reading of 121.

Voltage is a measurement between two points. What are you measuring between? Is this a three way switch? Where on the switch is the ground wire connected?

k_buz 06-04-2012 05:51 AM

Could it have been a static shock?

Speedy Petey 06-04-2012 07:46 AM

If this is work in progress, and the rooms are not tied in yet, WHY not call the person doing the wiring???

mom5va 06-04-2012 08:57 AM

I used a digital meter. When I touch the ground wire and any other point on the switch I get a reading. The ground wire is attached to the green grounding screw. This is 2 single pole switches in separate boxes on the same wall. I get this reading at both switches.
I have tried calling the guy that did the rough-in multiple times, only get voice mail, has not returned any calls in 4 months. I have done all of the other switches and outlet as well as lights and ceiling fans, these are the last 2.

k_buz 06-04-2012 09:03 AM

Plug an extension cord into a known properly wired receptacle, then meter the ground wire to the ground on the extension cord. That should tell you if you really have voltage on the ground wire.

Jim Port 06-04-2012 09:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mom5va (Post 935894)
I used a digital meter. When I touch the ground wire and any other point on the switch I get a reading. The ground wire is attached to the green grounding screw. This is 2 single pole switches in separate boxes on the same wall. I get this reading at both switches.
.

Are you measuring between the ground screw and one of the terminal screws for the other wires? If so you should read one as hot with the switch off and both hot with the switch on.

You should not be able to get a reading between the ground screw and the frame.


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