February 19, 2017

Suppose a man touches a metal toaster and is shocked. The toaster, having a polarized plug, is inspected, and nothing is found amiss. The inspector then looks at the outlet. He measures 120 V between the long slot and ground, and 0 V between the short slot and ground. What is the problem?

The long slot is the neutral connection. This slot should be connected to ground at the circuit breaker panel, thus having a voltage of 0 V with respect to ground. The short slot is the hot connection and should have a voltage of 120 V with respect to ground. The inspection has revealed that the measurements are the opposite of what they should be. Therefore, the outlet is wired backward, with the hot and neutral wires swapped.    


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