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Thread: Ground Wiring

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    4

    Question Ground Wiring

    While replaceing a lighting fixture, I found that one of my ground wires in an existing circuit has voltage. Everything has been functioning properly. How can this be?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Ground Wiring

    Could you please describe how you measured the voltage? Across what wires and with what device and what was the reading?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    4

    Default Re: Ground Wiring

    There were 3 wires in the ground, and when I removed the wire nut, I noticed a small spark. I measured the voltage from the hot wire to the grounds, and it was 120V, but did not measure the voltage between the individual ground wires.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    4,045

    Default Re: Ground Wiring

    That would be normal to measure 120 volts between the hot and ground wire.

    If you were measuring 120 volts between the neutral ( white) and the ground ( bare) then there would be a problem.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    4

    Smile Re: Ground Wiring

    I resolved this myself.
    The reason the ground wires were live was because I did not shut off the circuit breaker, only the light switch. That meant that other circuits on the breaker, connecting to the return grounds were still live.
    Although there was no harm done, the lesson learned is: if there are more than 1 set of wires in a box, shut the breaker, or returns can have juice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Lakeland ,MN
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    356

    Default Re: Ground Wiring

    Bruce Job well done! I do want to point out that a Ground is green or bare wire. A return wire or neutral has a white or gray outer covering. When you were saying ground I was a bit confussed. An electrician always thinks green or bare wire when you say ground. A ground is never to have any voltage. Unless there is a fault or a mis-wired device. I am not being picky about the terminology. But, It could confuse someone trying to help you troubleshoot a problem. All is well you figured it out!!! Good Job
    Last edited by Ravens53; 04-10-2008 at 11:35 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Ground Wiring

    Raven you couldn't have said it any better. And good job Bruce. That part about a bare or green gound having voltage on it had me a little worried.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lakeland ,MN
    Posts
    356

    Default Re: Ground Wiring

    Thanks dc16

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