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Old 07-12-2013, 08:11 PM   #1
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I just moved into a plac and noticed that most rooms have no installed ceiling lights but all have wall switches. The issue is that none of the wall outlets appear to be ran by the switches(lamp is on when plugged into every outlet in the room) but turning the switch off does nothng to any outlet.
When using a multimeter hot to neural on switch shows 0v, ground to hot and ground to neutral show ~10v at wires going to switch. When probing wall outlets i get 120v going hot to neutral, 9v from ground to neutral, and 11v ground to hot. What is going on? Shouldnt ground to hot be 120v?

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Old 07-12-2013, 08:55 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by link6204 View Post

I just moved into a place and noticed that most rooms have no installed ceiling lights but all have wall switches.
The issue is that none of the wall outlets appear to be ran by the switches (lamp is on when plugged into every outlet in the room) but turning the switch off does nothng to any outlet.
Because at some point someone has changed or just tampered with the receptacle and didn't know any better than to a) not pull the tab or/or b) use the second (switched) hot wire.

It's commonly the box CLOSEST to the door/switch.
Look inside.

Helpful pictures may be found HERE

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Old 07-12-2013, 09:08 PM   #3
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One of each room's duplex receptacles has been split. So plug in two lamps. One in the top and one in the bottom of the duplex. Go around the room with the two lamps, at each duplex receptacle, trying the switch. You'll find it.

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When using a multimeter hot to neural on switch shows 0v, ground to hot and ground to neutral show ~10v at wires going to switch. When probing wall outlets i get 120v going hot to neutral, 9v from ground to neutral, and 11v ground to hot. What is going on?
All the readings other than the 120 or 0 are called phantom voltages. It's an artifact of cheap digital multimeters. It won't show on a cheap analog multimeter. It's from inductance and will disappear under load.
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Shouldnt ground to hot be 120v?
Yes. This is a problem. If there is a ground wire in the outlet box or the box is fed by metal pipe, then you need repairs.

If there's no ground wire or pipe then the outlet should be GFCI protected and have a sticker on it that says, "no ground, GFCI protected." Or the receptacle should have no ground hole and just two slots.

Last edited by Glennsparky; 07-12-2013 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:48 PM   #4
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I checked every outlet in every receptacle and none turn off with switch. I guess i wasnt clear about that. I checked the two closest receptacle boxes on either side of the switch and both have ground wires and only three wires total to each(ground,neutral, and hot). All three wires are connected. This is a house i am renting and i keep noticing shotty work whether it is bad installations of drywall, tile, drop ceiling rails/tiles, etc. All the outlets i have checked appear to be just wired direct. There are not duplicate color wires in any box thus far. I'm so confused what they did.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:13 PM   #5
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As a rental you are not permitted to work on anything electrical. Your landlord should cal and electrician.

The problem is in one of the other receptacles that will have more than one cable in it.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:49 PM   #6
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As a rental you are not permitted to work on anything electrical. Your landlord should cal and electrician.

The problem is in one of the other receptacles that will have more than one cable in it.
The problem is that it appears as though he may be extremely cheap and either do things himself or hire some random Billy bob to work on his properties because everything in the house is quite shotty work. The two covers closest to the switch I did take off both had screws loose on all 3 wires.... basically finger tight and the wires were wrapped around the screws counter clockwise so when tightened they tried to unwrap. I mean, things like that even I learned around age 12.
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by link6204

The problem is that it appears as though he may be extremely cheap and either do things himself or hire some random Billy bob to work on his properties because everything in the house is quite shotty work. The two covers closest to the switch I did take off both had screws loose on all 3 wires.... basically finger tight and the wires were wrapped around the screws counter clockwise so when tightened they tried to unwrap. I mean, things like that even I learned around age 12.
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:59 AM   #8
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I checked the two closest receptacle boxes on either side of the switch and both have ground wires and only three wires total to each(ground,neutral, and hot). All three wires are connected.
Check what is happening at the switch.
Then open the "helpful pictures" link above.
Compare.
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by link6204 View Post
The problem is that it appears as though he may be extremely cheap and either do things himself or hire some random Billy bob to work on his properties because everything in the house is quite shotty work. The two covers closest to the switch I did take off both had screws loose on all 3 wires.... basically finger tight and the wires were wrapped around the screws counter clockwise so when tightened they tried to unwrap. I mean, things like that even I learned around age 12.
So then call the LL to fix things or move out. YOU ARE NOT permitted to do ANY electrical work in a place that you rent. Period, end of story.

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