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Half voltage on neutral, sometimes

Electrical - A/C & D/C - Community Forums -
I have been replacing old duplex outlets with new ones. After working on one 20A circuit in the living room, none of the outlets work. After investigating, I have disconnected all outlets except the first one from the panel (wires out and not connected to anything). When nothing is plugged into the plugs, I have 120v hot to ground, 0.5v hot to neutral, and 0.1v neutral to ground. I us a no touch tester and it shows the same thing, just the hot is hot.

I then plug in anything (lamp, cell phone charger, outlet tester) and the voltages change. The outlet tester has all three lights on. The Lamps don't work. Hot to ground is 120v, hot to neutral is 70v, and neutral to ground is 60v.

When taking the old outlets out, one of them had the neutral and ground pigtailed together, which seemed odd and I have not done.

I'm stumped here. Any help with the cause and the solution is greatly appreciated. TIA.
Date: Sep 19, 2013   

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