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Old 01-04-2010, 10:12 PM   #1
 
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Low AC voltages on two circuits in house


I have an outlet out on one circuit and a light fixture out on a different circuit in my house (built in 1991). Everything else on the circuits seems fine. My multimeter shows 60 AC volts on the outlet and 30 AC volts on the fixture. I am not sure these are reliable readings but I suspect there is a ground problem somewhere in each circuit but all other switches and fixtures seem to work fine, even the dimmer switches which I tend to suspect to be problematic. How can I figure out where the problem is in each circuit?

Thanks.
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:55 PM   #2
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You'd be well advised to call your power company first. The problem could very well be on their end.
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:02 AM   #3
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Loose connection.
Are these dimmer circuit? Is the dimmer turn up all the way?
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:26 AM   #4
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If there are dimmer switches on both circuits, turn off the main power to your house*, bypass the dimmer switches or install regular switches, turn power back on, then see if you get a normal reading.

(And first as said above, try turning the dimmers to fully on.)

*It is a good safety practice to turn off the main power before doing any electrical work. Some electrical boxes have power from multiple circuits in them.
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:08 AM   #5
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You tell us the voltages you read, but fail to tell us what the symptoms are? Does the light work? Does anything work when you plug it into the receptacle? I must assume something is not working because you have taken out your meter? But the symptoms, not the voltages are much easier to diagnose in this format.
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
You tell us the voltages you read, but fail to tell us what the symptoms are?
He did mention an outlet was out and a light fixture was out.
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Old 01-05-2010, 12:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnettica View Post
You'd be well advised to call your power company first. The problem could very well be on their end.
But if the voltages check out at the Service entrance?? And all other circuits seem to be fine! As I mentioned on a previous occasion, where we live (and work) the Power Co. is last on the list to be called, and you have to be 150% sure that the problem is on their end. Maybe in smaller towns, they are more flexible, in terms of making residential calls?!

Last edited by spark plug; 01-05-2010 at 12:02 PM. Reason: Inserted word for clarification
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Old 01-05-2010, 12:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnettica View Post
You'd be well advised to call your power company first. The problem could very well be on their end.
It's not POCO issue. If it was then the entire house would be out, not just two devices.
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:43 PM   #9
 
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Fixed problems


The low voltage at the outlet was due to a bad dimmer on the hall light upstairs on the same circuit. The hall light had a dimmer downstairs which was at least marginal dropping the voltage about 15 AC. Upon replacing both dimmers with 3 way switches, the outlet voltage was back up 10 120 AC.
The solution to the low voltage on the fixture was one of those that makes you feel dumb. A visitor to our house had switched off the light using a switch that I never use and did not remember controlled that light.

Thanks to everyone who viewed this post.
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plumbvoltage View Post
He did mention an outlet was out and a light fixture was out.
Yes, I should pay much better attention.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:55 PM   #11
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The outlet must not be controlled by a dimmer. If it is switched then it must have switch.
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