How Breaker Box is wired

In trouble shooting this we found that an outside outlet had 70 volts coming through its ground. We went inside and disconnected everything but what is shown. The white is to the common, the red and black go through each side of the 2 pole 60 amp breaker. Testing from the common to ground shows that this voltage still exist. In testing continuity between black and white, we found that it tested positive. We went as far as to see that an outside halogen light was the reason for this continuity showing a solid connection.

With all power connected, everything works, I just show this voltage passing between ground. Is this a common occurrence where some voltage will pass between power and ground? My gut says no, but then I am a pseudo electrician. We have one coming, but would like to be able to tell him just about where the issue is.

  • If you test continuity between the grounded (neutral) conductor and the ungrounded (hot) conductor while things are connected to the circuit, you will indeed test positive. If you didn't, nothing would work. It's not clear from your question how you're taking the measurement that results in the 70 volts. Your meter should have two probes, when you are reading 70 volts where are the probes connected?
    – Tester101
    Dec 29, 2014 at 19:19
  • I'm not sure what a "pseudo electrician" is, but it sounds like you need a real electrician to help you out.
    – Tester101
    Dec 29, 2014 at 19:21
  • I worked on a problem once where the same thing happened but the voltage varied crazy going up to 200+ volts and then to zero (Back and forth). Turned out that a transformer on the pole has wigged out. But for a long while I thought I was losing my mind. Dec 30, 2014 at 22:05
  • I put the red on common, and I put black on the ground that lead to the metal case toe breaker box. With the meter switched to register AC Voltage, I get a reading of 70 volts passing through the common to the ground of the metal box.
    – Buddy
    Dec 31, 2014 at 13:06
  • It doesn't happen with every breaker, but I have found that one other breaker is leaking 15 volts in the ground as well. There are a total of 6 breakers in this box. The others test fine. With these two breakers I tested continuity and they both failed. One of them, the one leaking the high voltage which runs 220 to the garage, tested clear of continuity once I disconnected an outside light, but the voltage leak did not disappear once the continuity test was fixed. This outside light is a halogen light and I don't know if positive continuity is something of a norm for them.
    – Buddy
    Dec 31, 2014 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


If you have a multiple ground rods then that could be causing the issue. Everything should be bonded together; if they are not bonded then that could be the issue.


34 min video on grounding https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ypo99VRxT44

  • 1
    Thanks. We found that in our initial TS we didn't however disconnect the ground wire, so what ever is making contact with the ground has that entire ground wire run contaminated. We are going to leave this to the pro who will be here any day. My boss here seems to think that it could be possible that this voltage is normal. I have tried to reason that it is not. Hopefully the Electrician will back me up as to how serious of an issue this is. Thanks again.
    – Buddy
    Dec 29, 2014 at 22:34

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