A 127 volt electrical receptacle in my kitchen in Brazil appears to have a problem. Could be a coincidence, but after moving the frig to clean behind it (it was never tilted) and plugging it back in, almost immediately a relay popped with a burning smell. The frig was repaired but before plugging it in again, I checked the voltage and the amperage in the receptacle using an old fan I could afford to lose if the receptacle was defective. The voltage looks perfect: 127 volts with hot (black) to neutral (blue); 127 volts with hot to earth ground (green) and 0 volts neutral to earth ground. The amperage reading appears to suggest a problem. 3.7 amps on the hot wire and 5.3 amps on the neutral. It’s my understanding that the neutral should be 0 amps no matter what the hot is reading. What am I missing ? Thanks, Tom

  • This is not a travel question. I think there is a better Stack Exchange site to move it to, but am not yet sure which one. – Willeke Mar 3 '19 at 19:18
  • I'm not sure what you mean by amps of a particular pin. You can only measure voltage between pins not current (Unless you're measuring the current of a plugged in device). I would assess that your issue is the fridge, because devices only draw as much current as they need. The issue is when they malfunction, they draw too much current. If the voltage is fine, this is likely sufficient for a properly working device to function just fine. – Sarah Szabo Mar 3 '19 at 19:31
  • 5.3 amps is a lot. Check cables, maybe they are old and oxidized, maybe grounding was not done right at your place. Also, check if the fridge is 127v, Some regions/towns got 220v. So some fridge models come dual volt with a sort of jump like selector. forum.baboo.com.br/uploads/monthly_11_2013/…. Sometimes you can change it by accident – jean Apr 1 '19 at 20:27

Well, it isn't unusual for neutral current flow to differ from hot current flow, when the circuit is a multi-wire branch circuit.

Brazil uses a compromise voltage of 127V hot-neutral and 220V hot-hot. This lets them be compatible with USA's 120V hot-neutral and 240V hot-hot (within 8% anyway, which is fine). This allows them to deliver 3-phase power to the house. (127 x sqrt(3) = 220).

So on a Brazilian multi-wire branch circuit, there may be up to 3 hots sharing the neutral. Activity on the other hots would account for the differing current.

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  • To add: That depends where you live, some tows/regions get 220v (hot-neutral-ground), others 127v. (hot-neutral-ground) Note there are lots of stuff dual volt on the market. Before plugging a new electro domestic check if it got a dual volt jumper/button (most of the time new stuff like fridges comes with a voltage indicator attached to the cable). Also, note, when you got 127v some people put two phases do feed a circuit making that circuit ~220v. In general it's done to plug in a 220v shower or any energy hungry device. – jean Apr 1 '19 at 20:21

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