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Hey you guys real quick non-car related video. So I've got this: Outlet over here I Was attempting to put a couple plugs here. Uh, this wire runs under here and it comes into this outlet box right here. Question is: I've got my hot I've got a neutral and I've got a ground.

Can someone explain to me why? I have 45 volts between neutral and ground on these wires right here. See this is this is not good. see that one's hot. My hot wire is hot I've got current on ground and I have current on neutral I don't Uh yeah, look at that.

There's even current right here on on the ground wire. So I go hot to ground and it's given me like 70 volts. Maybe there's a ground in a neutral that are flipped somewhere or they've got a ground bonded to neutral somewhere. Let me know what you guys think.

I don't really know why I have weird voltages on wires that should not have voltage.

98 thoughts on “Electron danger”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars howardsen666 says:

    That metall boxes and wirehoses are so wired 😬
    Why?? Rest of the world is out of plastic

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars William White says:

    Oh my God a lot of bad advice. 1 main panel must be neutral bonded to ground 2. sub panels neutral and ground must be separate.
    Now it seems the ground at the main is not good enough.
    It is easyer for me to fix it than to try and explain it.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars livingdeadbtu says:

    Another thing, This likely is unrelated to your issue. The main panel straight from the meter is the only panel that should have a ground rod and be bonded. Anything downstream of the main panel is a sub panel and should NOT have a ground rod or be bonded

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars 5Dale65 says:

    Your neutral has to be grounded. Looks like it isn't and has some potential on it. Or it could be the other way – your ground is loose somewhere and some stray voltage came up to it. That could be fatal, all your grounded devices could have the same potential on their metal parts. First test you should do is to get a test lightbulb, the best for this are those oldschool incandescent ones. Connect it between neutral and ground, it will either trip your GFCI if you have one or will just do nothing. Measure the voltage between hot and neutral plus hot and ground, with the bulb still connected. It should be the full mains voltage. Then connect the bulb between hot and the ground. It should light up brightly (or trip your GFCI). If not, your ground wire is loose. Then check between hot and neutral, if it won't light then your neutral is loose somewhere. You could also find a well grounded object around you (a rod sticking up from the ground would be perfect) and then check between all the wires and that ground. This way you'll find if the neutral is loose or is it the ground wire.

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars livingdeadbtu says:

    There are several possibilities.
    1. you could have a loose wire on safety ground or it is floating (on both ends) and has ghost voltage compared to neu due to inductance from the other wires. This can be checked by powering down the circuit and checking OHMs between NEU and S/G. It should be very low, single digits unless the run is very long. If it is more than maybe 15 Ohms – or open – you have a fault.
    You can also test this with a three prong Kline circuit tester – the little three light orange tester or the fancy dancy LCD model. Of course you would need jumper leads or wire in an outlet to use it here. I prefer using a meter because I am old school LOL.

    2. I noticed two other wires going into the 4 way outlet box. This means the outlet is likely in line (daisy chained) with other circuits or outlets. Neutral is a "load bearing" ground. This means it has current flowing through it back to the panel from hot. If you have loads along the circuit in a daisy chain, the neutral will have a bias as compared to S/G. I have seen 50 volts all day long and it WILL pop you if you get between it and S/G. The funny thing is, even with a load, you will still see 120VAC (or thereabouts) between Hot and NEU even with this S/G bias.

    This is a thing I DRILLED into our young techs coming out of school when I did training. One of the things we worked on was big motors, and it is common for a NEU to have such voltages on a circuit with a high amperage motor on it. Many times we would have to work on circuits live due to the nature of the equipment we worked on. It was not always possible to kill it. During training, I would set up a test circuit with a NEU fault to create voltage on the white wire, and invariably they would catch a jolt because school always taught that NEU is ground and therefore safe. NOPE – NOT always true!!!! as you see.

    So now I am going back to my OJT teaching days

    This is a good lesson in the difference between NEU and S/G. Neutral "ground" has a load on it, and therefore because of the resistance and inductance of the wire, a voltage drop along the circuit. (think series ladder resistors only the load is dynamic actual loads) Each "in use" plug represents a "node" part of the ladder circuit with the wire itself representing the actual resistors. So there will be a higher and higher voltage at each (loaded) junction — between NEU and S/G (when the NEU wire is under load) as you work your way away from the breaker panel.

    S/G is a NON load bearing "ground" so the voltage should be zero all along the circuit unless there is a fault and current that should be going down NEU is actually going down S/G. Since it has no load on it, it should have no ladder resistor effect. which is why it is a "safety" ground. You have no guarantee that NEU is at "Earth" potential along a circuit due to a load. S/G is MUCH more likely to be at "Earth" because there is no load – hence the bias. (S/G is supposed to be at "Earth" along its entire run because of "no load")

    This is not something I have ever seen taught properly in trade schools – That is, the actual difference between S/G and NEU and why there can be voltage on NEU – enough to get you a pretty good jolt!

    Funny thing – I been doing this stuff for almost 40 years now, and I have been popped by different voltages enough I can tell you about what it is. One time i was adding a circuit in an office building and was not allowed to shut down the circuit because there were programmers and servers that could not be turned off on the circuit. SO I added my stuff and the last step was run to the live circuit and tie into the junction box. I get my rubber gardening gloves on and hook up the S/G, then the neutral, then the hot. I always connect in that order so the last wire hanging is the hot, so I do not get any unexpected hanging hots on the wires in case there is a fault. A hanging hot is where you connect the hot, and the voltage goes through a device and comes out on NEU as full 120VAC looking for a way home. You latch onto it and ZAP. right through the coffee maker some idiot plugged into your circuit before you finished!!!!! While i was trying to get the hot tied in, I was wrangling the wires in this very full box and unbeknownst to me the wire nut on NEU popped off. I had exactly the same situation you are showing here and I got hit with about 50 volts. My forearm had brushed the open NEU and the conduit . My helper asked if I got hit, and I was like, No – I got popped by NEU, felt like about 50 to 60 volts. NEUTRAL????? (he said) that can't happen, its not hot!!! Then I explained to him the whole thing i just explained above. He didn't believe me in that I could judge the voltage so he went and got a meter so I could prove it. 56 volts!!! I'll be dipped!!!!

    So test NEU to S/G with the circuit off and if the horseshoe is a low number, its just a load on the NEU. could also be a loose wire nut, or a wire that partially slipped out of a wire nut – VERY common on NEU because people tend to cram a bunch of them under a too small wire nut, or even a loose screw on a terminal such as an outlet. If you see a red or big blue wire nut with like five 12 AWG wires shoved in it, have a look at that because one of the wires is probably slipped back from the connection. Also look out for outlets with doubled up wires under the screw lugs – a super nasty no-no!!!! Dog leg them!!!

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars G says:

    If you do not know what you are doing. Hope you have a fire extinguisher. Fire insurance will not cover amateur electricians

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars kc8ufv says:

    What do you read hot to neutral? I'm thinking there's probably a ground not connected upstream. Neutral and ground should be bonded at the first point of disconnection, which should make N-G read 0, or thereabout. If ground is floating, it can capacitively couple enough to trick your meter's high impedence input.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Tony Gingrich says:

    Strong electrical background here…

    That 45.5 vac means your neutral is NOT bonded to ground.

    That is very bad. You need to call an electrician and have them fix that asap.

    Explanations are purely academic at this point. Just get it fixed, then understand the details later.

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Rui Sousa says:

    Ghost voltages causing wonky readings. Pull a load on that circuit and test again. Should get different readings.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Robert S. says:

    I would suspect this is most likely an induced voltage that the meter is picking up, make yourself a test light with a standard AC lamp, and then check the voltage again. If the bulb even lights up.

    If the bulb lights up though….make friends with an electrician, before something you don't want to light up, does.

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Me says:

    short the neutral to ground with a 5000ohm "ish" resistor if the voltage drops to almost 0 and does not burn up right away just connect everything as normal. Explaining it becomes complicated but you can search "electromagnetic coupling" and "transmission line effects". The problem is long runs and BX cable. Isolated ground receptacles will resolve this but installing them is in the scope of a qualified sparky like me.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Hola! when rednecks unite says:

    You have a floating ground, and the ground wire is picking up Eddie currents which are inducing a weird voltage on the ground wire… if you were to hook up a light from the ground to either wire, it would not work… the induced voltage is caused by the magnetic field that is surrounding the hot and neutral wires and since all 3 wires are ran together, the magnetic field will induce voltage on the ground if its not properly grounded on the supply end

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Joe Bradshaw says:

    Try following circuit all the way back to the panel. Open all J boxes to see what is connected to what. I never run a branch circuit through other receptacles. Meaning, Always pigtail with wire nuts at each box. That way you only have 3 wires going to each duplex receptacle. Also. Is there any possibility anything got wet or water into it? Hope this helps.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ralph Baric PhD says:

    stop sticking the knife in the toaster….

    You think it is safe with the outlet switch off.

    but you proved it is not.

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars russellnc says:

    Do you have two services on this building?

  16. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars carney26 says:

    I would call a sparky if I was you, last thing you need is your shop burning down due to shonky wiring throughout your shop.

  17. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Bruwin says:

    Time to tear it all out and get fresh wiring. It's just not worth it to fix all of the problems that wiring has

  18. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Stephen Timm says:

    You should check where the neutral buss goes to ground for proper connection and make sure that no neutral wires are connected to the ground buss. Ideally you should have 110/120 Volts from positive to neutral, and 110/120 Volts from positive to ground. The ground by itself should never show open circuit Voltage.

  19. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars T Square says:

    Hey Ray! You have an outlet somewhere in your building that is cross feeding hot to neutral. Unplug all of your outlets and check the voltage. The voltage on your test leads should go away. To find the outlet plug one device in one outlet and check your test leads when you see that voltage comeback, you have found the offending outlet.

  20. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Syed Thahir says:

    Neutral wire got cut in pole

  21. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Robert Collier says:

    In some cases Ray, The ground is the metal jacket covering the wire, The green wire may have been used as a second circuit. To say that you have 2 circuits in one box.

  22. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Willie Delgado says:

    Disconnect all loads at outlet and repeat test.

  23. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Steve G says:

    Well too me the whole wiring in that place looked like a clusterfuck including the panels. You want that place safe? I would get a qualified commercial electrician in there asap.

  24. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ralph says:

    Open natural

  25. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Michael Hill says:

    feedback on neutral.

  26. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Kenneth Schilling says:

    Ray the Neutral is made for the returning voltage with AC current there is always a little bit of returning voltage it is supposed to return unused electric to the panel box. Older houses that had 3 wire 240 volt circuits if you touched them with wet hands you would get a little shock because the neutral was tied to the neutral.

  27. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Frank Hearne says:

    You have a floating neutral. Which means your neutral and ground are not bonded correctly. Work your way back to the panel from the outlets. Check all of your neutral and ground screw in your panel. Check your breakers as a PM.

  28. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars realcygnus says:

    I hate when that happens 🤪

  29. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Michael Mason says:

    Check the tightness of your neutral wire in the circuit breaker panel. And verify your earth ground is good. Safety first remove all power from your breaker panel before opening.

  30. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jim Pie says:

    Could some of your outlets be wired backwards. Try using one of those plug in testers to check this….Jim

  31. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jeff Little says:

    I once went crazy tracing down a ghost voltage on a red wire just to discover the wire I was measuring was completely disconnected. Purely an induced voltage from the other wires in the cable.

  32. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars mrdan2898 says:

    check the box from where the cable feeds from.

  33. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars DomManInT1 says:

    Disconnect all and start over. That is the nice thing about working with wires run in conduit. Try tracing down the problem in a house.

  34. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars David Wright says:

    It's real simple, put the tools down, call in a professional licensed Electrician and let them figure it out while wiring up your shop correctly.

  35. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars John Gibson says:

    Check your panel. I have seen Ground wired to Neutral in the panel before.

  36. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars gort400 says:

    Just an observation: When you touched the hot with your tester the red light came on. When you touched the ground the red light came on. When you touched the neutral the green light came on.

  37. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars NeoAndersonReloaded says:

    Loose neutral

  38. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Peter Garofolo says:

    Get an electrician Ray.

  39. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Dan House says:

    You are missing both neutral and ground. Try hot to building steel. If you have correct voltage at the last receptacle, then I would start investigating that box.

  40. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ron Sloan says:

    Hey Ray, I'm not an electrician. In my humble opinion is not good. There seems to be good advice in the comments. Please be careful.

  41. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Steve Kight says:

    Never trust those induction testers. You may only have one hot wire but the stick tester might show everything hot. Look in the other box.

  42. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Anthony White says:

    I'm not an electician, but backfeed was my first thought. If you have 110v between hot and neutral and 110v between hot and ground, I wouldn't worry about it.

  43. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Lou Alexander says:

    1. Safety first. 2. Check your electrical panel. Make sure all neutral and all ground wire connections are tight (at the panel). 3. Check the ground and neutral at the box you fed your wiring from. That should help localize the problem. 4. Visually inspect the wiring between the last good box (where the voltage between neutral and ground is 0V) and the issue box. Could be a damaged or partially damaged wire.

  44. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Laughing One says:

    Ground and neutral should be bonded at the main panel and at the pole, but not anywhere else. There should also be at least 1 good ground rod connected to the main panel with a heavy enough copper wire. Make sure the ground rod is not loose in the ground.
    You should go through the shop and test every receptacle and check every junction box for improper connections.
    Sorry for that undesirable recommendation, but what you see there could indicate serious issues in your shop.
    Tip: a simple receptacle tester that plugs directly in could save you a lot of time.

  45. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Rick Salas says:

    Take your time starting at where those wires go to the next box. Open it up, and check to see if any wires are inadvertently swapped then keep going backwards. It could also be that when you did the demolition, something might have been hit and you have a pinch that's causing the pipe to become a source of grounding. The fact that you have odd voltages is definitely a sign that you have three phase wiring there at the building and you need to make sure that there's nothing inadvertently pinched between points. Just take your time. Go from box to box. You'll probably find the problem very quickly.