3

There's 146v on one hot pole, 106v on the other and the neutral wire has 36v on it. My tester at some of the outlets in this trailer (made in the 80's) says hot/ground reverse and hot/neutral reverse. I checked the wires at the box on the pole it all looks correct, could it be a cross up at one of the receptacles maybe? This trailer is old, just bought it and it looks like many hands have been on it.

4
  • 2
    What are those voltage measurements relative to, and where were they taken at? – ThreePhaseEel Jan 31 at 16:10
  • 1
    You might have a LOST NEUTRAL. Need more details. Where are you measuring 146/106/36? What kind of tester are you using to get hot/grd/reverse, etc.? – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Jan 31 at 16:27
  • On those 3-light testers... the 3 lights are very useful. The fact the red one is lighting is helpful. However "the little sticker that says what the 3 lights mean"... is wrong and useless information. Peel it off and you'll have a more useful tester lol. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 31 at 17:02
  • Neutral has 36v on it in reference to what? Ground? If that's the case, in addition to your likely lost neutral that Harper explained, you should make sure your neutral/ground bond in your main panel is correct. That bond should ensure that neutral and ground are never more than a few volts away from each other, and it sounds like it's not doing its job very well. – Nate S. Feb 1 at 17:02
8

Is this on all your circuits? Are half your circuits under 120V while the other half are over 120V by about the same amount?

If so, turn your main breaker off IMMEDIATELY. Call your power company and report an OUTAGE.

It actually is a genuine outage. One of the wires from the pole has broken.* It's a 30-minute fix for a power company boom truck, happens all the time, they know what to do. Nobody else can do it.

Call the emergency outage number and report your power is out. **

When it happened to us, they had somebody out in an hour on a Sunday.

Fix it right away. Don't fool around with it.

What's happening is that without a neutral wire, your voltages are a "teeter-totter". It's like all the 120V loads on one leg are on a teeter-totter with all the 120V loads on the other leg. When the loads are inbalanced, one goes down, the other goes up, and then it destroys appliances that are only made for 120V.

This teeter-totter changes instantly based on load. The coffeemaker auto-starts, and boom!

When it hit our complex, several people had their microwaves and refrigerators destroyed.



* Because of the weird way North America does electrical power, all single wire breaks don't seem like outages. Both legs will work but with weird voltages. Above I describe how lost neutrals behave. When a hot wire is lost, the dead leg will still work (weakly) because power is backfeeding through 240V loads like water heater. Some people observed their lights come back on when they turn on their oven. That makes sense.

** DON'T go so far as mentioning that the power is out because you turned off the main breaker :) We've had reports of service agents telling people that because their lights partially work, they don't have an outage. That's wrong. The agents don't understand what I just said above.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.