Identifying the Cause of Improper Voltage Readings
How to Identify the Cause of Wrong Voltage Readings: I installed a new breaker panel in an old house that had fuses. I rewired whole house, everything works great, replaced 10-2 wire to the barn with 3 – 1 AWG wires.
Correcting Wrong Voltage Readings
Electrical Question: I installed a new breaker panel in an old house that had fuses. I rewired whole house, everything works great, replaced 10-2 wire to the barn with 3 # 1 AWG wires.
- I have them running without a breaker because the panel in barn has a main breaker.
- I am getting weird readings with the multi-meter 160 volts on one side of the buses and 110 volts on the other.
- When I put a load like a light on then the 110 volt side goes down to 70 volts.
What did I do wrong?
This electrical repair question came from a Handyman in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Thanks for your electrical repair question.
How to Identify the Cause of Wrong Voltage Readings
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools and access to the work area.
Precaution: Identify the circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing or upgrading electrical wiring should be done with a permit and be inspected.
Common Causes of Wrong or Low Voltage Readings
- Wrong Voltage
- Improper voltage readings can be caused by a number of factors, including voltage drop due to improperly sizing electrical feeder cable used in a very long span.
- Focus On New Wiring Projects
- The question is very vague and lacks a lot of details, however there is mention that a circuit breaker is not being used at a service to an out building where a distance is not provided.
- Electrical Circuit Wiring Methods
With an question such as this I have several questions of my own, most importantly:
- Were the electrical improvements installed with a permit and was all of the work inspected?
- If not then I strongly suggest that a permit be obtained, then hire a qualified electrical contractor to review all of the work, make the necessary corrections and then call for an inspection.
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.