I moved into an apartment with an old dryer that had issues starting and getting the clothes very hot. I had to hold the start button in and the dryer would "ramp up" before it would start. Anyway, I bought a new dryer and hooked it up and it too requires the button to be held in until it ramps up and will then run. When a load of clothes is put in it, it tries to turn very slowly and will not start. Now for the voltage measurements:

at the 3 prong outlet:
240vac from leg to leg
120vac from each leg to neutral

at the breaker:
same measurements leg to leg
120vac from each leg to ground

The only other thing I noticed is that on one side of the breaker, the voltage jumped up to @180vac when I had someone hold in the start button on the dryer until it got started. Since V=IR, wouldn't that increase in voltage indicate that the current would decrease (assuming a steady resistance)? If the current going to the motor is decreasing, could that be the cause of the difficulty getting the motor to start and, if so, what could be causing this to happen?

  • Make sure the grounded (neutral) conductor is solidly connected at the service panel, the receptacle, and the dryer itself. Where are you measuring the 180 volts, at the dryer, or the service panel? What are you measuring 180 volts between, leg to neutral, or leg to ground? When you see the voltage on one leg jump up, do you see the voltage on the other leg dip? FYI: Typically in an electric dryer, the motor and heating element are 240V, while only the controls are 120V.
    – Tester101
    Oct 24, 2013 at 10:18
  • I measured the 180 volts at the service panel from one leg to neutral. Not sure if the other leg dipped or not but it seems like it did.
    – Steve
    Oct 24, 2013 at 10:54
  • Does it jump to 180 volts leg to ground as well?
    – Tester101
    Oct 24, 2013 at 11:06
  • I'm not really sure...I'll test it again later today and post my findings here. Hopefully I'll be able to find a loose connection somewhere and solve the problem.
    – Steve
    Oct 24, 2013 at 11:26
  • 1
    I'd look for an open, or high resistance neutral. Check all the neutral connections, and make sure they are clean and well connected.
    – Tester101
    Oct 24, 2013 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


Solved the problem. Figured out that there was a potential between neutral and ground of 6v. They weren't bonded at the box. Thanks for your help!

  • 1
    Not sure what you mean by "at the box" but ground and neutral are definitely not supposed to be bonded at the outlet. They should be bonded at the main service panel only. And if your neutral wasn't already bonded to ground at the service panel I would seriously question the entire electrical installation.
    – Hank
    Oct 25, 2013 at 0:35
  • At the main service panel is what I meant by "at the box". It's all good now. A licensed electrician fixed it...I just stood over his shoulder and watched.
    – Steve
    Oct 25, 2013 at 9:53
  • 1
    That's what I said... An open neutral!
    – Tester101
    Oct 25, 2013 at 12:31

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