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Old 11-04-2014, 03:04 PM   #521
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..........
....... He mentioned something about a bad ground at the outside main, but didn't elaborate............
Yea, you have a bad ground. The whole house gets 220 volts and individual 110 volt circuits are wired to one side of the 220 volts and to the ground (neutral). If the ground is bad, you start getting closer to the 220volts, at the 110 volt outlet. Thus the smoke.
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Old 11-04-2014, 03:42 PM   #522
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Yea, you have a bad ground. The whole house gets 220 volts and individual 110 volt circuits are wired to one side of the 220 volts and to the ground (neutral). If the ground is bad, you start getting closer to the 220volts, at the 110 volt outlet. Thus the smoke.
Thanks...
Question... Where is the ground? At the outside box? How and where to check this, and locate the problem? I had the feeling that the man I spoke with thought it could be a major project to identify. I read somewhere that the ground wire at a plug could be loose, and cause problems.
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Old 11-04-2014, 03:53 PM   #523
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Our ground went bad at the transformer on the outside pole. Lineman said water
gets into the connection and freezes loosening the connection.
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Old 11-04-2014, 04:21 PM   #524
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My ground is a long copper rod (maybe 8' long) driven into the ground next to the meter box. There's a ground wire that connects the ground rod to the electrical box. If the connecting wire comes loose there would be a ground problem. I can't imagine problems with the ground rod itself.
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Old 11-04-2014, 05:36 PM   #525
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Thanks...
Question... Where is the ground? At the outside box? How and where to check this, and locate the problem? I had the feeling that the man I spoke with thought it could be a major project to identify. I read somewhere that the ground wire at a plug could be loose, and cause problems.
I'm not an electrician or even a EE, but I'd start looking for a poor neutral connection in the main box, then in each of your service boxes.

A few years ago I split off two 110 volt outlets from my garage 220 volt outlet (for a welder) and I made a poor connection. One outlet had higher than 110 volts and the other had lower than 110 volts, and the voltage differential got worse with a larger load on one outlet than the other. It was simply a poor connection on the neutral wire.
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Old 11-04-2014, 06:40 PM   #526
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Our ground went bad at the transformer on the outside pole. Lineman said water
gets into the connection and freezes loosening the connection.
Our problem was the neutral line but it is tied to ground in the electrical box.
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Old 11-04-2014, 07:10 PM   #527
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I agree with others that a bad ground/neutral is the likely culprit. However, I find it astounding that you've blown three TVs, and continue to use this as is!

This is also a safety concern. Shut it down until it is fixed!

Seriously.


-ERD50
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Old 11-04-2014, 08:37 PM   #528
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I agree with others that a bad ground/neutral is the likely culprit. However, I find it astounding that you've blown three TVs, and continue to use this as is!

This is also a safety concern. Shut it down until it is fixed!

Seriously.


-ERD50
Yeah... done.
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Old 11-04-2014, 08:38 PM   #529
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People often use the term "neutral" and "ground" interchangeably, and that adds to the confusion. I will try to explain the problem that imoldernu experienced, but without a diagram to point to, it may be a bit difficult.

Of the 3 conductors in the Romex wire, the "ground" wire is not supposed to carry any current, or the GFI (ground fault interrupter) if installed would shut down that circuit. Current is supposed to flow only between the "hot" and "neutral" wires.

Electricity is brought into the home from the streetside transformer via 3 wires: two "hot" wires, and a "neutral". The neutral wire is grounded at the transformer or electric pole, and then again at the electric meter at the home. Usually, this is done by connection to a ground rod. See diagram below (linked from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hph.html).



The voltage between each of the hot wires and the neutral is 115V. The voltage between the two hot wires is 230V, as they are opposite in phase, meaning when one swings positive in the sinewave cycle, the other goes negative, and vice versa. High-consumption appliances such as water heaters, cloth dryers, stoves, A/C, etc... draw 230V from the two hot wires. Electric outlets and lighting fixtures draw from one of the two hot wires and the neutral, and the load is intentionally distributed between the two hot wires by wiring some circuits on one hot wire, and some on the other hot wire.

If the neutral wire connection to the power company transformer is broken or intermittent, what will happen?

If there are two appliances, one sitting between hot wire #1 and neutral, and the other sitting between hot wire #2 and neutral, what will happen is the following. Current will flow from the hot wire #1 through appliance #1, then to the neutral wire (which is now disconnected from the streetside transformer), then to appliance #2, then to hot wire #2. The effect is exactly the same as if you wire the two appliances in series, then power them with 230V.

If the two appliances are identical, such as two 100W bulbs, they act as a voltage divider, and each will share 1/2 of the 230V. However, if one has a higher consumption than the other, it behaves as a lower resistance, and the voltage divider is no longer balanced. The device with the lower resistance will have a lower voltage across it, and the device with the higher resistance will have a higher voltage than 115V.

In the case of Imoldenu, I think the neutral connection is intermittent, and that caused the TV to blow up as it draws a lot less current than the electric heater that is sitting on the other hot wire.


PS. The bad or intermittent connection of the neutral wire may be at the meter or even at the transformer, in other words anywhere along the path from the streetside transformer into the power panel box.
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Old 11-04-2014, 08:42 PM   #530
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^^^ Good diagram and explanation of the function of the neutral wire as a lot of people do not understand this..
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Your recent repair?
Old 11-04-2014, 09:58 PM   #531
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Your recent repair?

I was told that with AC the idea of a hot and neutral wire was not really true. Any comment?
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Old 11-04-2014, 10:30 PM   #532
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Most house A/C are large units that run off 230V, meaning off the two hot wires. So, the A/C wiring does not need a neutral wire, as that is used only when you need 115V. The A/C wiring still has the ground wire, which is used to ground the metal enclosure of the unit.

The reason for the ground wire is for connection to the metal enclosure of any appliance or device. If there is a fault causing a current leakage to the enclosure that may be touched by the user, the attached ground wire will divert that current and saves the user from electrocution. The ground wire is therefore not to be used for normal operation of the device, meaning it is not to be used for the function of the neutral wire if the latter is needed.

PS. And because the ground wire is used only to shunt off any leakage current and not to carry the normal operating current, it is usually of a smaller gauge, and not insulated.
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Old 11-04-2014, 10:42 PM   #533
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Thanks...
Question... Where is the ground? At the outside box? How and where to check this, and locate the problem? I had the feeling that the man I spoke with thought it could be a major project to identify. I read somewhere that the ground wire at a plug could be loose, and cause problems.
If you have a multi meter read the voltage on the plugs. If a 3 wire outlet test both the hot -neutral and hot- ground connections (you should get about the same voltage). If you have the trailer you might measure the voltages there also. It is possible that the wire between the main box and the inside box has become disconnected. Note that in general ground should run to the main box.
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:54 AM   #534
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Most house A/C are large units that run off 230V, meaning off the two hot wires. So, the A/C wiring does not need a neutral wire, as that is used only when you need 115V. The A/C wiring still has the ground wire, which is used to ground the metal enclosure of the unit.

The reason for the ground wire is for connection to the metal enclosure of any appliance or device. If there is a fault causing a current leakage to the enclosure that may be touched by the user, the attached ground wire will divert that current and saves the user from electrocution. The ground wire is therefore not to be used for normal operation of the device, meaning it is not to be used for the function of the neutral wire if the latter is needed.

PS. And because the ground wire is used only to shunt off any leakage current and not to carry the normal operating current, it is usually of a smaller gauge, and not insulated.
Minor correction. Even 220 air conditioners need the neutral plus the ground wire of course. The relays are 110. As are the fan motors.
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:56 AM   #535
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In the case of Imoldenu, I think the neutral connection is intermittent, and that caused the TV to blow up as it draws a lot less current than the electric heater that is sitting on the other hot wire.
Many thanks for an excellent explanation. I had to read it through three times, but now I understand what is probably happening. I didn't originally talk about this, but I tried dozens of different combinations of appliances, lights, different on/off breaker box switches, as well as unplugging a separate 220V connection at the main that wasn't used any longer. Every time, every change... it looked as if the problem was solved. Now I see that the relative resistance probably allowed a time period before blowing the circuit... I hadn't allowed time to build up enough resistance to trip the breaker.

So now, will be knowledgeable about the problem... The handymen who service our campground are pretty good, but most learned all the trades, and aren't sharp enough to know "how" and learn by trial and error. The only really good electrician retired two years ago, and most of my neighbors shrugged, when asked to recommend a good one.

Thanks to all for your input... am convinced this website beats the all the fixit sites on the web.
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Old 11-05-2014, 08:04 AM   #536
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It is possible that the wire between the main box and the inside box has become disconnected. Note that in general ground should run to the main box.
That may be a possibility. I looked at the bare ground wire that attaches to the inside breaker. It connects to the metal frame of the trailer. I don't know if there is another wire that goes to the main outside box. I'll be there when the "electrician" is working... just in case he's as confused as I was.
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Old 11-05-2014, 08:23 AM   #537
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That may be a possibility. I looked at the bare ground wire that attaches to the inside breaker. It connects to the metal frame of the trailer. I don't know if there is another wire that goes to the main outside box. I'll be there when the "electrician" is working... just in case he's as confused as I was.
I think that you will find that one of the neutral wires that run to your separate circuits is loose inside the box. That's why you only have a problem with one or two outlets. The bare ground wire is there for protection against electrical shock. Under normal conditions it does not carry current.

See all those white wires connected in the upper part of this box? One of those was not properly tightened.
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Old 11-05-2014, 09:57 AM   #538
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Minor correction. Even 220 air conditioners need the neutral plus the ground wire of course. The relays are 110. As are the fan motors.
My 5-ton A/C runs on 208/230 V only. The compressor as well as the fan motors are 230V. The relays are 24V, and fed off a transformer which also powers the thermostat. But other arrangements exist, I am sure.

I do not think my house wiring for the A/C has that neutral wire (I have poked around the predecessor A/C in this home quite a bit). Perhaps I should go look. You make me wonder about my oft-claimed "superior" memory. Darn, I hate old age.
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Old 11-05-2014, 12:33 PM   #539
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I have to go and look to see if my house A/C wiring has that neutral wire. And the result is ... my memory remains "superior"!

Apparently, the wiring standard may have changed over the years, and with copper being so expensive nowadays, new A/Cs all run off 230V to save on wiring costs.

But back to imoldernu's problem, in order for the loss of the neutral connection to cause the two outlets on two separate hot wires to cross-couple, the two outlets must have their neutral connected. If a circuit has its neutral connection loose at the box, that circuit will simply be intermittent.

So, I wonder if the house was wired wrongly in the 1st place. A way this can happen is if an outlet is wired with its neutral connection made to the neutral wire of another circuit. Again, each circuit must have its own neutral wire going all the way back to the box. Sharing a neutral wire between two hot wires can cause the problem like imoldernu observes.
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Old 11-05-2014, 01:56 PM   #540
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Interesting. My 15 yo 1 ton AC has 220VAC compressor, 110VAC fan and contactor for switching. The furnace/AC indoor is all 110VAC with 24VAC controls.

SO far works fine. One of these summers it will crap out.
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