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I have an appliance (stove hood) and it is hooked up to wiring that supplied the previous stove hood. It isn't working and the voltages measure 62 volts between neutral and hot, but 120 volts between neutral and ground. It was working, and an electrician put the wires back in a box (they had been left hanging by the installer) and put the ground wire back in the wire nut to ground.

What is causing this?

  • How many volts between hot and ground? Is the circuit protected by a single or double pole breaker? – Tester101 Mar 23 '16 at 17:36
  • I re-disconnected the appliance and got different voltages: neutral to appliance ground/ground wire 24, hot to ground 120, hot to neutral 62. Single pole breaker. – hkr Mar 23 '16 at 18:06
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Maybe hot miswired to neutral somewhere and your hot wire's connection is somewhere open and floating.

Panel      Fubar         Box

Hot --------.   -------- Hot                    <--.
             \                                     |
Neutral ----  '--------- Neutral     <--.          | 60V
                                        | 120V     |
Ground ----------------- Ground      <--'       <--'

The 60V is probably an induced "ghost voltage".

Typically this voltage reading may be as high as 50% of the energized voltage in the same proximity.

If things change radically when you move the wires in in the box, it might be that you have a loose connection in a wirenut or similar, plus some goofy connections.

A low impedance meter (e.g. one with a "low-Z" setting) might help with the diagnosis. I think I'd be turning power off and remaking the connections in the box and at any places upstream toward the panel.

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    Thanks. Things change based on being hooked up, but the 62 volts is from the wires in. I will check upstream for something wrong. – hkr Mar 23 '16 at 18:48
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Most likely a loose or corroded neutral connection. Normally neural has zero volts to a couple of volts on it, as it is just the power return for the "Hot" wire.

Check for loose wire nuts, or a junction where one wire is aluminum and the other is copper. There is still aluminum wire out there and should be replaced with copper if possible, as copper and aluminum react over time and the aluminum corrodes away.

If you find this problem you can re-do the connection with clean wires. but one day it will become a problem again.

If you have an aluminum / copper mix in your home, weird problems could show up in other places. Check your breaker panel to see if it has aluminum wire in it. If no aluminum, then you most likely have wire nut problems, maybe some loose or corroded connection on the neutral wire (white).

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