I have been troubleshooting this for some time now. Any help would be great!
A friend of mine's wife plugged in a hair dryer and lost power about 2 minutes into it. A few hours later the power was back on.... nobody messed with any breaker or anything.
Now when she turns on the hair dryer the power goes out and no tripped breaker.
I'm reading 120v one neutral to ground and 120v hot to ground. During my troubleshooting I have disconnected the neutral from the bus and energized the circuit to see what I get from neutral to ground. 120v from neutral to ground at the panel.
Just to see I re-landed the neutral to neutral bus to see if it would trip the breaker, no tripped breaker.
Since no breaker tripped I tested ground bus to neutral bus and got 120v. With that being said I opened the breaker and tested neutral to ground and had 0 volts.
So, I pulled all the plugs out and inspected all the wiring and found no issues.
I can't give up till I find this issue and now the power has returned. Can anyone recommend my next step?
I'm almost thinking a staple has made its way through the insulation on the Romex.

  • 1
    OMG Not a staple through the Rolex!
    – JACK
    Aug 25, 2019 at 1:40
  • This meter you are using, is it battery powered? Is it digital? (Either a DVM or a pass/fail 120V yes or no sort of a deal)? If a DVM can you say what the exact values are (105V is a very different matter than 118V). If you plug a simple small load, like an incandescent night light (my most useful troubleshooting tool), into one of the sockets, and measure the other socket, do you get the same wrong readings? Aug 25, 2019 at 2:33
  • Sounds like a loose neutral, but your post is not very clear. Aug 25, 2019 at 2:48

1 Answer 1


When things are plugged in to different outlets in different locations, but are all on the same circuit, from that given protective device ( breaker / fuse ) and a neutral becomes disconnected that neutral will become "hot".

Try seeing how many things you know are plugged in to that circuit if possible and you'll possibly find a few things that aren't working...

Somewhere, either behind some receptacle, or in the panel itself that neutral became disconnected.

Envision the neutral as the return circuit for the hot ( which it is ) Whether it goes through a ceiling light, something plugged in it's still running hot as it travels through the neutral, when it becomes disconnected.

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