10:40PM | 07/30/01
Member Since: 07/30/01
1 lifetime posts
I was testing the grounded receptacles in my house recently, and in one case, I got a strange result from my neon circuit tester. When I test between hot and neutral on the receptacle, I get a bright glow from the tester. When I test from hot to ground, it only glows half as bright. Same result when I test from neutral to ground, it glowed half-bright. What does this mean? Is the box not properly grounded?

Your help would be much appreciated.



04:48AM | 07/31/01
Member Since: 03/13/00
1675 lifetime posts
A couple of questions:
Do other outlets on the same circuit "look" different? Do your outlets have a 3rd-wire ground or is it metal conduit or some other ground method? Did you check the connections on this particular outlet to make sure they are tight and not corroded?
If this outlet has the push-in connectors, those can get get weak and loose in time. I always use the screws.


07:59PM | 08/05/01
Member Since: 07/21/00
76 lifetime posts
The recepticle is likely wired for 240 volt. You are recieving the 240 volts from hot to what you think is a neutral. You are recieving 120 volts between either side of the recepticle to ground. This is my best guess.

Christopher Sparks

03:52PM | 08/10/01
Member Since: 08/09/01
29 lifetime posts
Invest in a cheap Multi-tester. Radio Shack has them for under $24.00

An accurate voltage reading can save you a "MULTI"-tude of headaches

In addition, it has a continuity checker and an ohms feature that could come in handy sometime down the road


08:59AM | 08/11/01
Member Since: 11/14/00
333 lifetime posts
Neon testers are unreliable for testing voltage or amperage. They mostly just tell you "yes" or "no" when testing whether the circuit is connected.

That said, it does sound reasonably possible that you have either (1) 220-240 volts going to that one outlet where the white wire is not coded/marked for "hot", or (2) an incomplete/inadequate ground such that the full current is not returning through the ground. Multi testers can be tricky to use, but Home Depot sells tester plugs to test for adequate grounds, as well as voltage testers to tell you how many volts are carried by the circuit. If the two wires that made your neon tester glow more brightly are two hot wires, that is the best way to tell. If so, the outlet is probably wired for a wall A/C unit, with the ground wire serving as the neutral wire.

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