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Thread: 51.4 volts on 3-way receptacle

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    51.4 volts on 3-way receptacle

    Electrical engineer here - question on my own home for a change. Newer home, with a 3-way switch-controlled receptacle in one room. Over Christmas my wife unplugged the lamp that was being used on the recept, and plugged in some LED lights. We noticed that when the switch was off, they still lit (dimly). Finally got around to metering the receptacle today: 123 volts when the switch is on (OK). However, still 51.4 volts when the switch is off. Standard outlet tester indicates (red light off / 2 yellow lights on) that the outlet is ok from that standpoint. Thoughts on what to do / where to start 'troubleshooting'? I'm hoping this isn't a wiring issue. I'm a handyman also, but typically prefer projects by choice! Thanks in advance.

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    160126-1848 EST

    jonathankpa:

    You are probably seeing what might be expected. Since you are an electrical engineer I suggest you devise some experiments to help you reason what is a possible cause of your observation.

    .

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    Do you by any chance have a lighted switch in the mix? Or a three way dimmer set? Or are they just plain snap switches?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldDigger View Post
    Do you by any chance have a lighted switch in the mix? Or a three way dimmer set? Or are they just plain snap switches?
    Thanks, GoldDigger. No lighted switch. No dimmer. Indeed, just plain snap switches.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gar View Post
    160126-1848 EST

    jonathankpa:

    You are probably seeing what might be expected. Since you are an electrical engineer I suggest you devise some experiments to help you reason what is a possible cause of your observation.

    .
    I assume you mean "expected in case of a problem with (whatever)", rather than expected/normal - ? I need to sit down and diagram possibilities, but hoping some of the expertise here will have ideas...

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    Nope. Expected normal in some cases.
    Ask yourself where limited current could be coming from.
    Hint: do not limit yourself to resistive sources.

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    I seem to recall some switches in the past that worked yet didn't work yet worked ??

    Replacing switches solved the problem

    For grins and five bucks. Replace both switches.
    " I'm at a crucial part of my painting "...........Monika Danneman

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    Oh. And don't back stab and check the recept for back stab.
    " I'm at a crucial part of my painting "...........Monika Danneman

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    jonathankpa:

    Think Thevenin's equivalent circuit and source impedance. What is the distribution of wires in a cable?

    .

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    I don't know if it is Germane to the problem but, Is the whole receptacle switched or just one half of the receptacle ?
    Electricity is Color Blind
    Leave the shirt pocket rules in your pocket.

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