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Out of the blue my oven/stovetop, my microwave and various other appliances along with some light fixtures stopped working. Making a long story short, it has rained here for days and I don't know if that has anything to do with it just figured I'd add that detail in first. Anyway, I've had the power company come out and test the meter outside and to make sure that everything is right on their end, they tested and said that all's good outside. I'm no electrician but I do have electrical experience, mostly doing new construction electrical not remodeling/repairing so forgive my lack of using proper names for what im trying to describe... So, In the main breaker box, two wires from the meter come in and attach to the top of a double 100amp breaker in the main panel box, a third wire comes into the panel box and attaches to a neutral bus bar. When I test the two wires that are hooked to the 100amp breaker, one side shows about 124V and the other only shows about 110V. The guy from the electric company said that it seems like there's something wrong from the meter to my main electrical panel box and it's my responsibility to fix that not theirs. We don't have much money to buy new wiring or whatever may be needed and definitely don't have enough money to hire an electrician to find and fix the problem. My wife's elderly mother and my dementia having dad both live with us and are under our care and I'm afraid that if I don't get this issue fixed that a fire could possibly start and I'd never be able to get both of our parents out safely along with their pets and my wife and myself. I'm hoping you good fellas would be kind enough to lend some of your great knowledge and advice on my electrical situation. Anything is more than what I've come up with so far. OH as far as the main panel, it has 16 slots with another area where the double 100amp main breaker is. When I test the power going into each breaker individually, there's a pattern of the first 2 breakers have good power at 120V, the next 2 breakers only show about 110V, and then it repeats that pattern through all 16 breakers. My oven lights light up but it doesn't heat up, the breaker that it's on is a double 40 amp breaker but half of it is on the part of the main bus that isn't getting the full 120V. Please Help!

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  • What you've described could indicate multiple problems. Consider getting a professional inspection of the home by an electrician Apr 7 at 11:57
  • Since you have elderly parents living with you, the government or electric utility may have emergency programs to get your electric supply fixed now, and you either pay on account later or get it covered by government programs. Apr 7 at 12:15

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When I test the two wires that are hooked to the 100amp breaker, one side shows about 124V and the other only shows about 110V.

The heavy imbalance between one voltage and the other indicates that one of the three power wires coming from the meter box to your trailer home is bad. There is a good possibility it is a lost neutral, definitely an unsafe condition that may fry your electronics depending on what items you turn on in the home.

I deduce you have "split-phase" power common in North America and some other places on Earth. Split-phase is two power wires giving a nominal 240V AC, with a neutral wire exactly in the middle, allowing 120V AC from either power wire to the neutral.

The neutral connection is a very solid connection to the "center" of the power supply, with very high electricity flow available, so that there is often very little imbalance in voltage between one power wire to neutral vs the other power wire to neutral. You could have most if not all of your electric loads on one side of the power-to-neutral and have only a volt or two imbalance.

When the neutral connection is bad (corroded, fatigued, etc) so there is poor electricity flow on the neutral, the voltages can imbalance by several tens of volts or much higher. This could put dozens more volts into one side of your power and starve the other side. The starved side may simply not run. The boosted side may burn. You may find that the amount of imbalance changes as different loads turn on and off. Sure sign of a lost neutral.

This is a dangerous condition, and you need to have it fixed. You'll have to get the war chest beefed up soon (talk to the local government, pass the hat, however you do it), and have an electrician come out. A quick test our utility did when we had imbalancing voltages was to wire a suitable-size temporary neutral from the meter box to the neutral bar in the main panel. Immediately the imbalance went away, and we ponied up for a new set of service wires.


(There is a possibility that it is actually one of the power wires that is bad. In this case one side will remain at 120-ish V AC with at most one or two volts variation, and the other side only will drop voltage depending on the load attached. Turn off all 240V loads for this test.

In this case you could rearrange your circuit breakers to put all your essential 120V loads on the spaces in the breaker box where the voltage does not fluctuate, and put all the other non-essential devices on the other spaces, with the breakers turned off. 240V loads will not run well if at all: their breakers should be turned off too. This could at least get you more time to live in the home while you save up for an electician.

Rearranging breakers is not a safe work-around in a lost-neutral condition. The only safe way to work around lost neutral is to fix it properly and not use any electricity until it is fixed.)

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  • First I want to say thanks to the people that answered my questions and that gave their experience and knowledge to me about my situation, thank you guys it's greatly appreciated...... Ok so here's what's going on as of now.... I know it's not the right or the safest way but I went ahead and moved my "need" utilities wires and breakers to the spots in the panel box that actually show 120 volts.... So now when I test the double 40amp and double 30amp breakers, both screws on both double breakers show about 125 volts but I still don't have any power to my water heater or range?¿!¡ What is wrong? Apr 10 at 9:30
  • @CodyShowers "What is wrong?" "There is a possibility that it is actually one of the power wires that is bad. In this case one side will remain at 120-ish V AC with at most one or two volts variation, and the other side only will drop voltage depending on the load attached." "240V loads will not run well if at all: their breakers should be turned off too." Apr 10 at 11:32
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By first 2 breakers, you mean the top two left and right side, not top and bottom?

It sounds like a loose or dirty connection on the low side between the meter and main breaker or the main breaker not making a good connection on the low side.

Seeing all these connections are not breaker/fused, you want the power company to turn off the power before sticking your fingers in there.

You need a torque driver to tighten the connections to the correct value.

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    One thought to consider: we had a lost neutral due to water incursion, and the neutral corroded. The connections were tight, though. Apparently, the trouble was inside the cable jacket, not fixable by just tightening the connections. Apr 7 at 12:18
  • This is a mobile home and the panel box isn't like the "normal" ones that I'm used to, it's laid out like this..... Apr 10 at 9:34
  • @CodyShowers If you add a picture of the panel to your question it might help. It seems like 240v split phase system, so each half of the panel should have ~120v, a double breaker crosses both halves to give 240v.
    – crip659
    Apr 10 at 11:04
  • @crip659 I've searched the site and I've tried everything I can think of but I cannot figure out how to add a picture to my post on here? Apr 10 at 16:47
  • @CodyShowers It is hidden in the edit button. There you find a mountain/sun icon to add pictures.
    – crip659
    Apr 10 at 18:04

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