I uninstalled some fluorescent tube lighting in my living room because I didn't like the quality of the light. After uninstalling it I wired up a standard 15A outlet on the wires that previously went to the light fixture.

The problem: I tested the voltage at the fixture both on the terminals and in the slots with my multimeter and am only getting 60 volts.

I removed the transformer that was hooked into the lights so it is no longer on the circuit, so that can't be it. Also, it was a standard 3 wire (white/black + ground) configuration.

Am I missing something? How/why would an outlet in a home even be wired for 60 volts?

Additional Info: It is on a circuit with two ceiling fans, both of which are operating normally. It is not switched.

  • 2
    Do you have any other circuits you can check? I ran into a similar problem, but the low side was 90 volts and the other circuit was 140 volts. My 220v source was unbalanced!
    – fred_dot_u
    Dec 28, 2020 at 0:48
  • 2
    Yes, please do check the voltage on other circuits in your house! Dec 28, 2020 at 2:06
  • I'll check, but there are a couple of ceiling fans and light fixtures on the same breaker that seem like they are getting enough current unlike my new outlet which produces a very dim light when I plug a lamp into it. Should I test a circuit on the same breaker?
    – JohnFx
    Dec 28, 2020 at 3:15
  • 1
    Well, I plugged a lamp into that outlet and it barely lit up. Even if the meter isn't accurate, there is clearly something wrong with the outlet.
    – JohnFx
    Dec 28, 2020 at 16:13
  • 1
    To me it sounds like an open circuit (quite common) if when rewiring white was treated as a neutral when it was part of a switch leg this could cause problems. With a light barely lighting was there a second light in the room doing the same? Lights in series is another possibility (the lights and fixtures are wired in parallel.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 28, 2020 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


I would proceed VERY carefully after finding this kind of situation (at least, if you measured the 60 volts when the fixture was on!). This can point at several really unsafe conditions:

  • Floating neutral (this is really dangerous: it means you have 60V here and 180V somewhere else in the worst case!)
  • non standard circuit (eg centre-tapped 120V, or you accidentally turned a partially disconnected transformer into an autotransformer, or some load is in series).
  • high wiring resistance
  • something severely overloading that circuit,
  • something wired in upstream (dimmers, transformers, rectifiers (eg old school half-brightness switches)) that you are unaware of
  • a broken or wrongly used meter (also, very dangerous!)

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