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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The other day my night light started flicking, then it all together went out. I tested the night light in outlet on a different breaker. It worked fine. I discovers that both neutral and Black wires are now hot on a 120volt outlet. There is no neutral white to complete the circuit. (I guess that what cause the light to stop working). So far it appears that all the outlet that are on that breaker is doing the same thing.


What Cause your white neutral wire become a hot wire? There has not been any electrical work done on this house for a few years. The little work that was done was on a completely different breaker 240 Volt. So I ruled out bad wiring.
 

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You have an open neutral connection. The usual culprit is some wall receptacle that is being used as a junction for a string of receptacles on a circuit that is comprised of both phases of the power panel. Most commonly it will be a "back stabbed" receptacle that is providing that junction. You'll have to find all of the affected receptacles and take them apart one by one until you find the culprit.


See example of back stabbing below. The proper way is to connect the individual line wires together and wire net them off with a short pigtail added to connect to the receptacle. That way the receptacle is not a junction point that can fail and render any other receptacles downstream on the circuit either dead or with erratic voltages... sometimes damaging voltages.
 

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If you have very sensitive olfactory system, you may be able to sniff around each receptacle and find the bad one. Nevertheless, you should upgrade all of them if that turns out to be the problem.. If one fails, the rest will follow and why risk a house fire.
 
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AND
one or more items plugged into one or more other outlets on the same breaker/circuit.
Yes, that's a factor only when the neutral is being shared with both phases of the panel. Otherwise, it matters not what is plugged in on the circuit, the receptacle will not have an elevated voltage.

The OP is getting elevated voltage reading so the neutral is being shared with its receptacles opposing phase to other receptacles. That can help in the search for the one that has failed since it will be seen in the panel as fed from a 12/3 cable or a conduit with both phases and one neutral. The label for that/those circuit will help define where to start looking.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you have very sensitive olfactory system, you may be able to sniff around each receptacle and find the bad one. Nevertheless, you should upgrade all of them if that turns out to be the problem.. If one fails, the rest will follow and why risk a house fire.

If I understand correctly, basically there is an outlet that has gone bad that is being used as a junction for a string of receptacles? I need to find the bad one. Which I examine 2 so far. Have about 3 more to go.
 

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Yes, that's a factor only when the neutral is being shared with both phases of the panel. Otherwise, it matters not what is plugged in on the circuit, the receptacle will not have an elevated voltage.

The OP is getting elevated voltage reading so the neutral is being shared with its receptacles opposing phase to other receptacles. That can help in the search for the one that has failed since it will be seen in the panel as fed from a 12/3 cable or a conduit with both phases and one neutral. The label for that/those circuit will help define where to start looking.
The OP has NOT stated that he is getting "elevated" voltage.
He has stated that he is "measuring" (presumably, to Ground) the same voltage (120 V) on both the Line and Neutral terminals of an outlet.

We do not know the device used to measure.

If there is/are other device(s) plugged into other outlets on the same circuit, or a high impedance measuring device is being used (which may read a voltage supplied via a small capacitive connection in the wiring), this indicates only that the Neutral wire connected to the terminal of the outlet concerned is not connected to the Neutral at the Panel/Supply.
 

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I agree, I reread and don't see where he said that at all. I have no idea where I got that. :glasses:

The problem is still the same except it's less dangerous now, if there is no other line phase involved to backfeed the dead receptacles. Double checking after the breaker is turned off would be a good idea, just in case.

Hopefully the open circuit has been found and corrected and along the way corrections were made to the other receptacles to prevent a similar failure.

Best regards, SD2
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I agree, I reread and don't see where he said that at all. I have no idea where I got that.


The problem is still the same except it's less dangerous now, if there is no other line phase involved to backfeed the dead receptacles. Double checking after the breaker is turned off would be a good idea, just in case.

Hopefully the open circuit has been found and corrected and along the way corrections were made to the other receptacles to prevent a similar failure.

Best regards, SD2
The way I measured the neutral wire was using a voltmeter and measured out 120 volts give or take a few. The black wire one is supposed to be hot also measure 120 volts. I currently have the breaker in the off position I'm sure I can work on it tonight. Also I want to thank you all for your help!
 

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I know it was asked before, but not sure of your answer. How are you measuring your voltage on a particular wire? Neutral to ground? Hot to ground?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I agree, I reread and don't see where he said that at all. I have no idea where I got that.


The problem is still the same except it's less dangerous now, if there is no other line phase involved to backfeed the dead receptacles. Double checking after the breaker is turned off would be a good idea, just in case.

Hopefully the open circuit has been found and corrected and along the way corrections were made to the other receptacles to prevent a similar failure.

Best regards, SD2
I know it was asked before, but not sure of your answer. How are you measuring your voltage on a particular wire? Neutral to ground? Hot to ground?
I'm measuring neutral to ground it measures 120 volts. Then I measure or black wire hot wire to ground and it measures 120 volts.

My guess would be open neutral somewhere (check panel first) and that
hot is connected to neutral via a load such as light that is turned on.
It turned out not to be electrical outlet. My ceiling fan took a dump. The picture I included is my current tester. Entire outside housing of my fan who's conducting current
 

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I knew that all the time... just wanted to give you a hard time. Yeah, sure.. :biggrin2:

Actually, if you would have told me the fan was involved, I would say look there first since they are often out of balance and the wires in the j-box get wiggled over and over so much that it's little wonder they don't fail more often than they do. Humor me, did the fan wiggle when running?

The fan may very well be alright... just a disconnected neutral in the box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I knew that all the time... just wanted to give you a hard time. Yeah, sure..


Actually, if you would have told me the fan was involved, I would say look there first since they are often out of balance and the wires in the j-box get wiggled over and over so much that it's little wonder they don't fail more often than they do. Humor me, did the fan wiggle when running?

The fan may very well be alright... just a disconnected neutral in the box.
Actually the fan is well-balanced. But it's like 20 years old. It was a good Hunter Fan that we moved with us as we changed houses. I will take it down and see if there's some type of short but may just giving up the ghost. I didn't see this one coming. I checked the fan simply because there was nothing else to check
 

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The Hunter (original) is top deck as you know. I've heard about everything and don't remember ever hearing of a Hunter fan shorting out. They do tend to dump a lot of oil on you if you aren't familiar with how to handle them when you take them down. Don't forget, keep it level or be sorry. Sometimes people don't replace that lost oil and the fan still lasts 100 years!
 
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