240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power - Electrical - Contractor Talk

240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power

 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-06-2008, 12:27 PM   #1
 
portlandamateur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10

240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


Hi guys, I have a question about my circuit breaker. Here's the story:

A week or so ago, my dryer stopped heating up. The dryer's been working fine until now, and it's the only thing on that circuit. No other major appliances have been introduced to the house. I tested a couple dryer parts with a multi-meter and couldn't find anything wrong. Then, I checked the outlet and only got 140V (should be 240). So, the tumber's running on the 140, but there's not enough juice for the heating element.
The house is about 35 yrs old, so I assume the breakers are also. I checked the oven's 240V outlet and measured 240V, so I'm confident I'm using the multi-meter correctly. I replaced the dryer's circuit breaker with a new GE breaker that was the same size/amps. The new breaker is in the same spot as the old one. This is a 2-pole double breaker.
I'm going to try switching the position of the breakers for the oven and dryer to see what happens. After that I'm out of ideas... Any suggestions?
portlandamateur is offline  

Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ContractorTalk.com DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

   

Advertisement

 

Old 01-06-2008, 12:43 PM   #2
DGR,IABD
 
mdshunk's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrical; Commercial and Residential Service
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Central PA
Posts: 9,683
Rewards Points: 2,002

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


Check the voltage right where the conductors connect to the breaker. If you have 240 there, then there's an issue with the branch circuit cable or possibly the dryer receptacle's internals.

Advertisement

mdshunk is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 01:08 PM   #3
 
portlandamateur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


Quote:
right where the conductors connect to the breaker.
what exactly do I need to touch to test that? The 2 wires coming from the breaker?
I don't think the problem is with the recepticle, I took the cover off and am touching the wires to test the voltage.

Also - I just put my dryer breaker into a different spot on the board. I put it where the oven breaker normally sits and still got the same 140 to the dryer outlet.

thanks for the help
portlandamateur is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-06-2008, 01:20 PM   #4
DGR,IABD
 
mdshunk's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrical; Commercial and Residential Service
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Central PA
Posts: 9,683
Rewards Points: 2,002

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


Quote:
Originally Posted by portlandamateur View Post
what exactly do I need to touch to test that? The 2 wires coming from the breaker?
Okey-dokey... you really need to put down the tools and step away from this situation, as you do not have the skill to effect this repair.

Call your electrician.
mdshunk is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 01:40 PM   #5
 
portlandamateur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


haha. you may be right - and that's probably what I'll do next.

I tested the voltage coming out of that breaker and got 240. I stripped back the wires at the outlet and still got 140.
From this, it seems that something's weird in the wires.... but that doesn't seem to make sense.

Even when I call an electrician, I'd like to know what the problem is... any ideas?
portlandamateur is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 01:44 PM   #6
Pro
 
ABLE1's Avatar
 
Trade: Security Alarm Installer (Low Voltage)
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 998
Rewards Points: 1,208

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


Quote:
Originally Posted by mdshunk View Post
Okey-dokey... you really need to put down the tools and step away from this situation, as you do not have the skill to effect this repair.

Call your electrician.

In a few should moments this was getting very scary to read. Hope he post back before he does something he will regret.

"Call your electrician"
__________________
ABLE1
ABLE1 is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 01:56 PM   #7
Pro
 
220/221's Avatar
 
Trade: electrician Phoenix AZ
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 537
Rewards Points: 500

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


The 240v circuit is 2 wires @ 120v each.

You have a bad connection SOMEWHERE.

GENERALLY the cable goes from the panel directly to the dryer. Through time and remodel things often get changed. You may have a junction somewhere, HOPEFULLY in a junction box.

Turn off the power, remove the receptacle and look at the terminals.

If there is nothing obvious, make sure it is a safe position and turn the power on.

Test each leg indididually to the ground. They should be appx 120v each. One will likely be less because of your bad connection.

Observe the cable at the recep. Does it match EXACTLY the cable at the panel? There could be a junction box somewhere if the dryer was relocated or if the cable was spliced somewhere for some reason.

Use your powers of deductive reasoning and be freaking careful.

In the mean time DO NOT USE THE DRYER. Your bad/burned connection wil get worse and may cause a fire.
__________________
Just because it's within code doesn't make it safe.

Just because it's against code doesn't make it unsafe.

Last edited by 220/221; 01-06-2008 at 02:01 PM.
220/221 is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 02:18 PM   #8
Service & Repairs
 
Magnettica's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrician
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Rahway, New Jersey
Posts: 4,001
Rewards Points: 2,002

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


If you've got 240 at the CB, and 140 at the receptacle, I would suggest isolating the conductors from the receptacle and then check for 240 volts. That's what I would do.

If the problem persists, and if I had to guess, I would guess that somewhere along the line it had been tapped and used for a 120 volt circuit and maybe a switch is off. Something stupid like that.
Magnettica is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 02:22 PM   #9
 
portlandamateur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


Ok - i'm being careful and obviously not using the dryer. The recepticle itself is fine.

You're right. one wire has 110V or so, the other only has 60V. These look like the same wires as in the box. I doubt there's a junction, the box is only a couple feet from the dryer outlet. The problem must be in the one hot wire... Is it possible to just re-run the wires from the breaker to the dryer recepticle?

Here's a more general question... Where do the neutral wires go in all this? I understand they're connected to the buss bar, but why doesn't a 240V outlet have a hot, neutral, and ground like a 110V outlet?
portlandamateur is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 05:39 PM   #10
Pro
 
ABLE1's Avatar
 
Trade: Security Alarm Installer (Low Voltage)
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 998
Rewards Points: 1,208

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


Quote:
Originally Posted by portlandamateur View Post
Ok - i'm being careful and obviously not using the dryer. The recepticle itself is fine.


Where do the neutral wires go in all this? I understand they're connected to the buss bar, but why doesn't a 240V outlet have a hot, neutral, and ground like a 110V outlet?

Not knowing the answer or even asking the question is more of a reason to CALL AN ELECTRICIAN!!!!

No disrespect, but, are you looking to become an electrician and are looking to get some free education here??? You have a really bad connection and it needs to be corrected in a proper manner.

Others may help you here but it is not a good idea.

Les
__________________
ABLE1
ABLE1 is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 06:43 PM   #11
 
portlandamateur's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


Quote:
Not knowing the answer or even asking the question is more of a reason to CALL AN ELECTRICIAN!!!!
woah... relax. Thanks for the concern, i guess.

I'd be in big trouble if I was looking to become an electrician.
No, I'm just trying to get my dryer working again so my wife doesn't have to go to the laundromat. I've found a lot of helpful insights on this forum for a wide range of topics. Thanks to the advice here, I've narrowed down my problem to a single faulty wire. I'm going to continue with a little more research to find out how why there's no neutral wires in a 240V recepticle, then I probably will call a professional. I think my chances of getting over-billed or sold some BS for more work than necessary is probably a little less if I have a clue what I'm talking about - hence the questions I've posted here.
portlandamateur is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 07:05 PM   #12
DGR,IABD
 
mdshunk's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrical; Commercial and Residential Service
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Central PA
Posts: 9,683
Rewards Points: 2,002

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


Quote:
Originally Posted by portlandamateur View Post
I think my chances of getting over-billed or sold some BS for more work than necessary is probably a little less if I have a clue what I'm talking about - hence the questions I've posted here.
Yes, you are a poser homeowner. No doubt about it.
mdshunk is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 07:49 PM   #13
Curmudgeon
 
neolitic's Avatar
 
Trade: carpentry/remodeling/"Yes M'am we do"
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Beech Grove, Indiana, Birthplace of the "King of Cool"
Posts: 11,706
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


7 Hours and no one has pushed the ! ?
His name says it all.
__________________
Put your location in your profile!
(Sorry....it seems there really are dumb questions)
neolitic is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 10:06 PM   #14
Service & Repairs
 
Magnettica's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrician
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Rahway, New Jersey
Posts: 4,001
Rewards Points: 2,002

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


If his other double-pole circuits are producing 240 volts at the source, how the hell can he only be getting 60 volts to ground at the dryer receptacle??? That doesn't make sense!
Magnettica is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 10:22 PM   #15
DGR,IABD
 
mdshunk's Avatar
 
Trade: Electrical; Commercial and Residential Service
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Central PA
Posts: 9,683
Rewards Points: 2,002

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnettica View Post
If his other double-pole circuits are producing 240 volts at the source, how the hell can he only be getting 60 volts to ground at the dryer receptacle??? That doesn't make sense!
Multiwire cable is real good for phantom voltage when using a DMM.
mdshunk is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 11:00 PM   #16
Moderator
 
Double-A's Avatar
 
Trade: GC - Remodeling Specialists
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 4,617
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: 240V Circuit, But Only 140V Power


Thanks for posting on ContractorTalk.com. The Moderators of this forum would prefer if you post Do It Yourself related topics on our sister site www.DIYChatroom.com

ContractorTalk.com is designed for professional contractor's to discuss issues and topics related to the construction and remodeling industries. Many of our professional contractors are also members at DIYChatroom.com and are looking forward to assist you with your needs.

Please take a moment to post your question at www.DIYChatroom.com If your not already a member of DIYChatroom.com you can sign up for a free account by going to http://www.diychatroom.com/register.php/

We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused. This thread has been closed.

Advertisement

__________________
"My clients’ wishes are the center of my attention." -- David Guido, a contractor in Woodstock, N.Y.
New York Times, July 20, 2006
Double-A is offline  


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Affect of CFLs on power quality? Electric_Light Electrical 2 11-29-2007 03:56 AM
Need help with 240 circuit Elast Electrical 6 10-19-2007 03:03 PM
Power Rollers.... MarvinWilleyJr Painting & Finish Work 15 09-14-2007 09:12 PM
Solar Power Industry Dead In California w6ire Electrical 2 06-28-2007 08:57 AM
277v. on 240v. circuit ??? K2 Electrical 5 09-07-2006 06:19 PM

Join Now... It's Fast and FREE!

I am a professional contractor
I am a DIY Homeowner
Drywall Talk is for
PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTORS ONLY!

At DrywallTalk.com we cater exlusivly to professional contractors who make their living as a contractor. Knowing that many homeowners and DIYers are looking for a community to call home, we've created www.DIYChatroom.com DIY Chatroom is full of helpful advices and perfect for DIY homeowners.

Redirecing in 10 seconds
No Thanks
terms of service

Already Have an Account?