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Old 06-13-2019, 07:59 PM   #1
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120V on Disconnected White Wire, is that normal?


I was working on some electrical, and as I was taking stuff apart and then going to put it back together, I noticed the white wire has 120V, but isn't that suppose to have 0 (or near 0) all the time?

Currently its not connected to anything is that why its at 120V? Should I
connect it to the other 2 white wires, which are currently capped together?

TIA
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:20 PM   #2
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Re: 120V on Disconnected White Wire, is that normal?


How did you test this wire for 120 volts? Where does it come from and where does it go and what does it control?
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:23 PM   #3
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Re: 120V on Disconnected White Wire, is that normal?


With a multimeter.

It goes to behind the wall and presumably to another outlet which stopped working after I unhooked everything. Not sure where its coming from, other than the wall.

Is that normal though for it to have 120v?
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:28 PM   #4
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Re: 120V on Disconnected White Wire, is that normal?


Not unless it is part of a switch loop. With the multimeter you would touch the white wire and ground. Is that what you did? Where is the associated black wire in the group? Can you post pictures of this junction box? Is or was there a receptacle in the box?
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:42 PM   #5
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Re: 120V on Disconnected White Wire, is that normal?


Ah, it very well could be part of a switch loop.

With the multimeter I touched the red to the white wire and the black to the metal junk box. I'm not sure which black wire is part of it, could it be a blue or red wire?

Here are some photos (in the photo with the single box, its the white wire on the bottom left), and this branches another outlet and set of switches which are not pictured.


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Old 06-13-2019, 09:08 PM   #6
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Re: 120V on Disconnected White Wire, is that normal?


You can and will read voltage on a disconnected white wire if there's a load looking for a neutral.
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:14 PM   #7
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Re: 120V on Disconnected White Wire, is that normal?


Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky View Post
You can and will read voltage on a disconnected white wire if there's a load looking for a neutral.
So it should typically be connected with other neutral (white) wires?
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:23 PM   #8
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The circuit will not be completed without the neutral connection.

The disconnected neutral carries the same voltage as the hot.
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Old 06-13-2019, 11:42 PM   #9
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Re: 120V on Disconnected White Wire, is that normal?


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Originally Posted by CubsBears2017 View Post
So it should typically be connected with other neutral (white) wires?

I can't say I have no idea what you're doing. "I'm working on some electrical, I was taking stuff apart and going to put them back together" isn't enough information to answer why the white wire has voltage, or if it's a neutral, or if it should be tied in with other neutrals.
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Old 06-14-2019, 07:41 AM   #10
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Re: 120V on Disconnected White Wire, is that normal?


Is there any easy way to fix this without tearing the whole house apart?
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Old 06-14-2019, 07:50 AM   #11
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Re: 120V on Disconnected White Wire, is that normal?


Hmmm...cubs and bears...??? Chicago area? Right?

Those look like conduits, not cables.

White is used for other purposes than neutral when cable is used. White
should be used for neutral only when in conduit.


EDIT: Therefore, see post 6.

Last edited by CodeMatters; 06-14-2019 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 06-14-2019, 12:30 PM   #12
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Re: 120V on Disconnected White Wire, is that normal?


How many wires are in the left conduit, and what colors? How many wires are in the right conduit, and what colors? What is this box for and where is it? What was in this box before it was taken apart?
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