Need help diagnosing problem

walrusOctober 30, 2010

Two 15 amp circuits, one above the other in the breaker box, and both are off now pending repair.

One faulty circuit has a conduit originating from the breaker box and if I connect a meter to it and the conduit from the ground at the water meter, it reads 126 volts. I discovered that after getting tingled (not shocked) when brushing against the conduit.

The other faulty circuit burned out a strip type GFI. Discovered that when the electronics plugged into it didn't work. Replaced the GFI with a known good one, and it instantly fizzled when I plugged it in.

The wires are maybe circa 1950's and armored, might be called BX. The breaker box is about a year old. We, and a neighbor, have 126 volts coming into our houses.

Any insight as to what's going on appreciated.

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Among other things you have a serious grounding issue. I suggest you get an electrician out asap.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 10:18PM
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The electrician is going to just want to rewire the place. I'd prefer to find and correct the fault, if there's a proper fix. Any guidance on what to look for appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 8:33AM
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Ron Natalie

Find a better electrician. Metal conduit should not be at anything other than ground potential. GFCI's should not burn out when connected to circuits. Something is seriously miswired here. It's good that you pulled the breakers on these.

Of course with problems like these, "rewiring" the two dead circuits might indeed be warranted.

Frankly, my guess is that in addition to failure to properly bond the conduit, that there is likely to be something touching it. I suspect just gross screwup on the GFCI (like totally misconnected terminals.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 8:40AM
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if you have those 2oa 120/240 1-for-all receptacles one could be wired for 240. you would still be able fit a 120v plug in, though.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 8:53AM
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