Thread: Any Electricans in the house?
06-30-2008, 08:59 AM #1
Any Electricans in the house?
I installed a ceeling fan in my parents living room yesterday. This is the third one I've installed in the same spot within the last 5 years, the other two were the same brand and both stopped working, hoping it was just a crappy brand.
Anyway while installing the new fan I was checking voltages and I found something strange but have no idea what could be causing it. There are two switches one for the light and one for the fan. Switch #1 is a black wire Switch #2 is a red wire. White is neutral, bare is ground. I used the white wire as my reference with the meter and here is what I saw:
S1=off S2=off black=40V red=18V
S1=Off S2=on black=58v red=can't remember
S1=on S2=off black=120v red=18v
S1=on S2=on black=120v red=112v
The only time I saw no voltage is when I flipped the breaker.
What could be causing this, a loose ground? I was having some other issues and I found a bundle of neutral (white) wires was loose re-connecting them with a wire nut fixed that problem. I re did all of the other wires inside the switch box but that didn't do anything to the always slightly on issue.
06-30-2008, 10:10 AM #2
Those low voltages are being induced from another current carrying conductor running near those. The volt meter is sensitve enough and at a high impedance, meaning no load. If you hook up a light to those wires and then checked they should be zero. It's nothing to worry about.
06-30-2008, 10:32 AM #3
Thanks for the reply. Makes total sense since the rest of that room is run through that box and I had the TV and stereo going when I was checking voltages. This explains why the lights on the fan aren't dimly lit with that 40v
06-30-2008, 11:33 AM #4
were you on the AC setting on your meter?
are the switches lite?
06-30-2008, 09:13 PM #5
Are any of the switches a dimmer switch?
06-30-2008, 10:30 PM #6
These were normal on/off light switches and I had the meter on AC voltage, no dimmers. The only thing is that the entire living room comes together in that one switch box so there are a million wires in there.
07-01-2008, 05:56 AM #7
I've seen those voltages a lot of times. Anytime you run AC wires parallel next to each other that can happen. Even though the volt meter reads a votage there is no current behind it. Put any kind of load to it and the voltage will drop to zero. Tick tracers will pick up on it too and you'll think it's still energised.
07-01-2008, 02:00 PM #8
What kind of meters are you using? I have a Fluke 87 and have yet to see stray voltage in my wiring jobs. I have seen stray votage with the light stick (voltalert). Sounds like the neutral wire may be undersized for the room. What gauge wire is going to the room?? 12 I hope. If it's 14, it's too small with all the other things running.
3M Maint Electrician for the past 11 years.
07-01-2008, 05:11 PM #9
07-01-2008, 09:14 PM #10
#14 is fine for residential wiring. A poor connection between neutral and ground at the main panel will cause some unusual voltage readings.
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