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Join Date: Feb 2015
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Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/06/2015 3:15 PM

There is a receptacle in my home that has 118V when the television is plugged in. However, when I unplug the television, the volts drop approximately 25% to 77V and the lights on the ceiling fan dims. I have checked the receptacle for open ground and ensured the hot and neutral wires were correct. I have also replaced the receptacle thinking it may be a bad receptacle.

In addition, I have checked the other receptacles in the room with a digital voltmeter and did not find any issues. I did find that the breaker for this room is in a subpanel in the HVAC Closet. The HVAC SER Cable is feeding the power for two ciruits in the house, as well as, my Air Handler for the HVAC. Any suggestions?

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#1

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/06/2015 3:22 PM

The circuit to the Air handler should be a dedicated circuit, with nothing else on it....It sounds like the wire is shorted or has a loose connection going to the fan...or the fan motor is shorted....

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Participant

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/06/2015 3:56 PM

Thank you everyone for the comments. I just checked the receptacle withe the fan and lights off and TV unplugged. I found that I have 120v. I turned fan on and the voltage dropped. I checked the wires in the panel and they were tight. I am going to be running to 12-2 cable from the main service panel for both circuits in the HVAC closet. It appears, like you all have suggested, that there is a lose connection to the ceiling fan. Thanks to all for their input.

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#2

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/06/2015 3:35 PM

It sounds like you have a loose wire somewhere and may be back feeding through a light bulb and that's when you get the 77 volts.

You need to check out the entire circuit that you are getting the low voltage on.

  1. Check all connections for proper torque.
  2. Look for open or reversed neutral / hot wire connections. This is very common!
  3. You may need to open every light fixture and outlet box on that circuit to verify the proper connections.
  4. If you find an issue, then you may want to bite the bullet and open every light fixture and outlet box in your entire house because if you are having an issue like that on one circuit, there are probably more issues you haven't even started to think about.
  5. Complete a full electrical survey and inspection of your feeder panel and all branch circuits. You will be glad you did.

I perform maintenance on my main panel (Torque the main lugs) every 6 months because the main conductors are aluminum wire and they loosen over time, especially when installed by untrained persons! I would not have installed aluminum wire but that is what was installed when I purchased the house.
Good Luck

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#3

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/06/2015 3:35 PM

I'll agree with Solar Eagle and Original_Macgyver, loose connection or broken conductor somewhere. Don't plug your TV back into that outlet and get the wiring checked out. Loose connections can heat up and/or arc when you try to draw a load through the connection.

Are all of the outlets in the room connected to the same subpanel/breaker? If so, check the other outlets for loose connections. Maybe the next in line is where your problem exists.

Has there been any construction, picture hanging or any other reason to put a nail in the wall? There is a possibility that something cut the wire. Maybe a mouse?

Don't put off finding this one. If it is a loose connection you want to fix it soon as it may be a fire hazard.

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#7
In reply to #3

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/06/2015 4:18 PM

Lo_Volt

Your response is very good also. I was so intent on the loose wire that I completely forgot to warn the OP of the arc and fire hazard.

OP.... Do not connect your TV again until you remedy this issue, you are risking a fire inside your walls!!!!!!

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#4

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/06/2015 3:39 PM

Sounds like a loose/broken/undersized neutral somewhere in the supply. My guess is that the TV and ceiling fan are on different breakers, which are on opposite phases. This kind of works when both are on, since they are in series (approximately) across the 220V supply. But when you turn off the TV, you leave the ceiling fan with a high resistance return path. How long has this been acting this way?

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#26
In reply to #4

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/09/2015 8:22 AM

Loose neutral is probably the answer. First time I ran across this, I was puzzled as well(600V circuit). However, after a second time (120V circuit) and after much trouble shooting/device swapping out, traced the problem back to a loose neutral on the very first receptacle in the circuit(I knew it was the first receptacle because I did the installation). And,,, it wasn't a faulty installation from the start, the problem only showed up after some years of service. Same scenario for the 600V circuit, but that one may have been due to thermal cycling.

Once the connection was tightened up again, no more problem. Make sure you check the device(receptacle, switch or whatever) for any damage as well as checking the connection.

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#6

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/06/2015 4:03 PM

that receptacle is finished, kill the power and remove it, you'll see the damage right away, replace it, you're back in business

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#8

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/06/2015 6:52 PM

Buy 10 more of those TV's and plug them all in and sell the excess power back to the power company.

OK, just joking.

You are doing the right thing by fixing the problem.

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Participant

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/06/2015 8:51 PM

Ha ha. That would be nice if that could work. I am doing a rewire tomorrow to remove the two circuits to the main inside panel. In addition, I will pulling the fan to check the wiring. If I find no signs of wiring issues, I will replace the fan. Loads of fun if any one wants to swing by and participate. ��

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#9

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/06/2015 7:09 PM

Don't know whether this applies to your region, but I'd be looking for a crossed line and neutral (and maybe earth ).

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#11

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/06/2015 9:14 PM

Check your TV on other receptacles and get the voltage reading(Voltage drop should not exceed +/-10% of nominal voltage). If it's behaves the same, your tv has to be repaired(probably be a transformer problem) or replace it with new one.

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#12

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 4:26 AM

It might seem an odd question, but from this side of the pond - what is a receptacle?

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 4:47 AM

A female orifice.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 5:02 AM

Which one? Coz there are 3

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#16
In reply to #13

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 8:24 AM

Ha ha. Can anybody give a sensible answer?

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#17
In reply to #12

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 9:50 AM

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 10:11 AM

Thanks Lyn. We live and learn! It's called a socket over here.

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#20
In reply to #18

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 10:25 AM

Ask someone for a socket here and they'll ask, "What size"?

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#23
In reply to #20

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 10:37 AM

Socket does for both over here. The context usually gives it away

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#15

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 7:38 AM

Where ever it fits comfortably, the plug device is usually sized and configured so there are no conflicts, although there is a newer stile which is confusing as it has two orifices and requires an orifice on the device trying to connect, to establish the 'ground'. I'm not sure what the politically correct term for this is.

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#19
In reply to #15

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 10:24 AM
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#21
In reply to #15

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 10:32 AM

French CEE 7/5 socket. Picture from Wikipedia.

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#22

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 10:36 AM

I would check the service ground/neutral connection, when this is loose or disconnected the return is through the L1/L2 legs and the voltage changes on L1 or L2 as the loads on L1/L2 change.

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#24

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 11:56 AM

Get one of those outlet checkers that has lights to indicate circuit faults and check every outlet in your house.

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#25

Re: Loss of Voltage in Receptacle

02/07/2015 3:47 PM

UPDATE: I pulled the circuits from The HVAC panel and ran them into the main service panel this morning. That fixed the issue. I now have 124 volts at my receptacle. When I turn the fan and lights on there is a slight drop +/- 1% to 123 volts. Thank you for all of the comments and advice.

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Anonymous Poster (4); bigg (1); Codemaster (4); Fredski (1); geraldpaxton (1); JohnDG (2); Kevin LaPaire (1); Kulas (1); Lo_Volt (1); lyn (3); Original_Macgyver (2); SolarEagle (1); SSCpal (1); strength3 (3)

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