I am trying to connect my new dishwasher to the electrical cable coming up into my kitchen from down in the basement. This (white) cable actually houses 3 smaller wires inside of it:

  • A white wire (hot?)
  • A black wire (neutral?)
  • A bare copper wire (ground?)

It looks nearly identical to the top cable in this diagram labeled "NM flat".

It appears that I need to connect the white wire from this power cable to the white wire on my dishwasher, the black wire from this power cable to the black wires on my dishwasher, and the bare/GND wire from this power cable to a grounding plate+screw on my dishwasher.

My circuit breaker is in my basement. I have turned off what I believe is the circuit for my dishwasher, and I have confirmed that I can't turn it on by pushing its various buttons. Also it usually has green lights lit up indicating power, and those lights are now off. I'm 99.99% sure the power is off, but...

Just to be 100% sure I'd like to test the power cable with a multimeter. The one I have has a setting for AC voltage. I don't think this should matter but my exact model is an Innova 3320.

I'm looking for the exact procedure for testing. I assume I want to:

  1. Turn the multimeter on and set it to ACV (AC volts). I expect to have it show me a very small amount of voltage since (IIRC) there's always a little bit of "electricity in the air"
  2. Touch the black lead to the black wire (inside the power cable)
  3. Touch the red lead to the white wire (inside the power cable)
  4. Confirm that I get 0.0V

Am I missing anything here? Any critical steps or other tests I should be performing?

  • 1
    I think you are taking this project on with way too little knowledge. 120v electrical is different from anything you have worked on, with its own set of rules and idioms (called NEC or Code). Get a book that feels accessible to you and devour it, so you're very comfortable with the Code way of thinking about electricity. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 13 '16 at 19:56
  • The "proper" way to test a line voltage electrical system does not involve a multimeter. - Electric shock - was I stupid, unlucky, or a combination of both? – Mazura Jan 3 '20 at 6:25

Your test procedure is a good start. However, you should confirm 0 volts between all possible combination of wires, including ground. And if your water lines are copper, test between that and the wires, too.

Also, you are wrong about the function of the wires. Black is hot, white is neutral, and bare is ground. You got white and black backwards.

  • Bam - GD I love the internet – smeeb Feb 13 '16 at 18:47
  • They make non-contact voltage testers that are probably the tool you want for this. They rely on AC fields to detect presence of voltage. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 13 '16 at 19:59

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