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Ground wire becoming live.

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  • Ground wire becoming live.

    I roughed in under and over cabinet lighting and each with its own switch. I ran a wire from each fixture to my basement. One wire to power each switch and one wire from the switchs to the basement as well. I used two junction boxes to tie all my wiring in, one for over one for under. Power comes into the over and hot wire tied with power to switch and power to under cab switch. All neutrals together and all grounds together. Power went to the switches, neutrals tied together in box and out of the switch in the basement junction boxes the hot wires connect to all the other hots turning on all lights when switch is on. To check my work I took the power supply that will be coming from the pannel and just stuck the hot and neutral into a gfi next to my pannel. Using a basic light tester all my wires were hot after the switch without the switch being hooked up. Could the electricty been picked up by the ground wire and flow all over since the ground was not connected to the pannel or the GFI? The box and all was hot. I then wired a 3 prong male end to the same wire and properly plugged it in to the gfi and my problem went away which is good. But I want to make sure that sounds ok because if not I will have to address the problem. I am 99% sure everything is wired up correctly but things happen. I didnt think that just by not connecting the ground to the pannel that would happen.

  • #2
    Re: Ground wire becoming live.

    If the ground wire and the box were hot, you have a problem somewhere.

    Your description confuses me but are you saying each fixture is wired back to a junction box and each switch is wired back to the junction box? And the power feed from the panel is wired to the junction box?

    If so, in the junction box, the hot feed (black) should be connected to the white wire to the switch box (the white wire should be remarked black). The white feed should be connected to all the whites from the fixtures. The black from the switch should be connected to the blacks from the fixtures. At the switch, the white and black should connect to the switch. All ground wires tied together and to metal boxes.

    Note, if you are under NEC 2011, your wiring does not meet code. NEC 2011 requires a neutral in all switch boxes and you need to run a 3 wire cable from the junction box to the switch box. (Use the white as the neutral and black/red as the switch loop).


    • #3
      Re: Ground wire becoming live.

      I do not know what type of tester you using but some times a Neon type will glow just do to induction, on a neon tester one can hold one lead with there hand, and touch a Hot lead and it will glow, even tho there is no electricity felt, (what I am saying is depending on the tester being used, you may be getting a false reading),

      some electronic testers will pick up (I call it phantom voltage) and induced voltage that I suppose is there in theory, but not in practice, it can not carry current, an analog tester has more resistance in it and many times will show a truer voltage reading,

      Last edited by BHD; 10-13-2011, 11:09 AM.
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      • #4
        Re: Ground wire becoming live.

        For many of the plug-in receptacle / GFCI testers, and OPEN NEUTRAL will read on the tester as hot/ground reversed,


        • #5
          Re: Ground wire becoming live.

          I did use just a light tester so it could have been "phantom voltage". I do have neutrals in each switch box. Power goes from panel to box, from box to the switches, from the switches to the fixtures. All grounds includeing the box wire nutted. All neutrals in junction box and switch boxes wire nutted together. And all power from switch to fixtures wire nutted together in junction boxes.


          • #6
            NEON tester?

            Are you using a NEON lightester with little NE-2 neon bulb?
            It may glow from induced voltage even though there is not any power company-amperage in that voltage. (Mine will glow just from atmospheric charges, maybe also from radio signals.)
            Can you use an incandescent light bulb to testhe circuitry?
            Can't be only 99% correct. That 1% could kill.
            You probably did everything correctly.
            I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
            It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
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            • #7
              Re: NEON tester?

              Yes I just used that type of tester. If I use a multimeter how would I test it correctly? Set it for volts and test ground to neutral?