Trying to connect ceiling fan to neutral and live wires


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Old 06-09-18, 09:57 AM
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Trying to connect ceiling fan to neutral and live wires

Hello Everyone,

This is my first post in this forum and unfortunately not under the best circumstances I thought I should share with you my little story in case that people here have any ideas/suggestions.

A couple of weeks ago, my old ceiling fan stopped working (it was working a few months back). After a quick examination using a digital multimeter while probing the neutral/live wires the measurements seemed to be between 95 and 110 volts. After trying to install a new ceiling fan I found out that the new one wouldn't work as well. After closer examination of the neutral/live cables I realized that the voltage readings were only true without loading.

E.g by connecting the multimeter to neutral and live I would get between 95-100 Volts. By switching off the breaker circuit voltage would drop to 0V but when I tried to quickly touch the two cables together (when the breaker was on and voltage between the two cables was reported to 95-100 v) there was no sparks etc.

My assumption is that the neutral cable is disconnected (floating) and this is why I get those strange readings.

I live in a complex of condos where the ceiling fan cables are commonly (for all condos) accessible from the loft and close to the neighboring condo. I know that some work was done in the ceiling (not exactly what) and I suspect that they might have disconnected my fan's neutral cable or even connected this with the other' condo's power cables ...

So I have a few questions for the knowledgeable people of this forum.

1) Is it safe to assume that each condo should have a clear indepedent wiring system (e.g. both neutra/live wires) ? And if that is the case is that true with closely neighboring condos ?

2) If by mistake the neutral cable from my condo is used with the live cable of another condo, will my electricity meter box readings be affected by that (e.g. is it possible that it will register the power consumption of a device that is connected to my neutral cable from the other condo) ?

Also any opinion/advise for what would be the best way to deal with this situation would be greatly appreciated. Considering that my guess is that the neutral wire is disconnected/damaged or even used by other people I am not in the mood of paying an electrician only to find out that I have to pay for someone else's bad workmanship.

Any help, ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


Alex.
 
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Old 06-09-18, 01:36 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

1) Yes..... every condo is a complete stand alone unit. The wiring is not interconnected between units.
2) An extremely doubtful occurrence.

At the fan box.... check for voltage between hot and ground.
If it's there.... you have an open neutral before that point.

If you only have a two wire cable w/ground there and nothing else..... you need to go back to the switch box and check the neutral connections there.
 
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Old 06-09-18, 09:36 PM
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Thanks a lot,

I will check the voltage between the ground cable (it exists) and the hot as you suggest.

I know that the fan was working in the past and I know that work in the ceiling was done for our neighboring condo. Testing both fans seperately - my old one and new one (using cables from the mains) they are both in good working order (so something must have hapenned in the loft as this is the only place where access to the cables is possible). In the (open) loft, it it not easy to understand where the limits of the two condos are and since 2 rooms are adjucent (our bedroom with the fan and the other condo's bedroom) it is possible to make a mistake.

Kind regards,


Alex.
 
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Old 06-09-18, 09:47 PM
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Condo units are supposed to be separated from each other. They should not share common/open attics due to the spread of fire. However, I've seen a shocking amount of units with no fire stop between units. I've seen apartment/condos...... seven to ten units in a row with one common attic. That is an absolute disaster.

The wiring is in the form of a jacketed cable. For someone to mess with the neutral they would have to cut the cable and install a box for a splice or find an existing box in the attic. I doubt anyone would just cut into the cable and mess with the neutral wire.
 
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Old 06-10-18, 04:42 AM
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One way to tell if anyone else is using your meter would be to shut off most of the circuit breakers in your unit for awhile and see if anyone else complains of no power, leave the circuit on for your refrigerator.
Geo
 
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Old 06-10-18, 05:25 AM
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Had a friend who was an electrician. Tennants of a condo called him out because all electric except for a couple of kitchen receptacles on a wall shared with the next door condo.

He went outside to check the breaker box and first thing he saw was the red tag on the meter. Went in and ask the customer if they were late on their electric bill. Yes, they admitted. Just shook his head and told the there was nothing he could do. Explained the hot receptacles were on the neighbors meter.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-10-18 at 07:57 AM.
 

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