I have never seen this-Guess Ive been lucky

All three lights on an outlet tester? I have to honestly say that this is the first one. I joked to myself and said out loud, “thats not on the legend!” Anyone know what it means besides something wrong with it possibly? No other outlet that I found in the house is like that.

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I’ve found that before and it had a hot/neutral reverse and open ground.


Oh wow. Ok, that makes sense. Thanks a bunch

I agree with Larry, I also have found this defect before!


Another possibility is it’s wired for 240V.

Another dangerous situation I found the other day that fortunately is rare was hot/ground reverse.

All The Pretty Lights - Specific Inspection Topics / Electrical Inspections - InterNACHI®️ Forum

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Needs more complete testing. A simple open ground and hot neutral reversed will not light all three lights as a ground is required to light one of the lights (wired between hot and ground in the tester). 240v wiring is more likely as a single cause. Note the center bulb is brighter. this is the bulb that will get the full 240v, each of the other bulbs will get 120 as they are connected to ground (neutral) in the tester.

If you don’t do complete testing you can’t provide a “complete” answer. This is where a wiggy would come in handy (or a DMM).


Simple call would be miswired outlet.
Please, don’t guess.

Please, purchase a Wiggly and circuit analyser. Maybe $240.00 in total.

Looks like 240V supplied on a conductor. Was the breaker tandem for the lighting circuit?
To make it a little clearer tandem breakers are on the same leg. MWBC are on opposite legs. Voltage measurements on tandem hot to hot the voltage is 0. The voltage on MWBC hot to hot is 240v.

Do yourself a big favor. Throw that 3 bulb outlet tester in the garbage. :grinning:

I had the same thing with my 3-light tester a few weeks ago in a fix-n-flip. My circuit analyzer found 220 volts on the outlet.

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Gotta love those flips!

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Use a solenoid Wiggy®️. It is the most reliable electrical tester you can use and it will test everything in the house that needs to be tested.


George Wells, You’re The Best!

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Thanks so much Bob, I will invest in one. For now, I will give possible causes and refer it out for a full evaluation of the condition.

Nuclear Meltdown - Evacuate immediately! :flushed:
OR multiple connection failures at that receptacle - which will need correction.

I had the same in March. It was in a garage that was “upgraded” by a DIY owner. This receptacle was wired for 240V. Needless to say, I found a few DIY things that made me shake my head, including a floor joist in the basement that had been notched so that only 3 inches remained intact. That was to allow for some new ABS. Who needs a floor joist, right?

I would get a voltmeter and definitely check it out, sound like 240 coming to that receptacle will start smoking in no time.

Not until it is in use!!

I just found another one in the kitchen that the non working brand new microwave was plugged into. Lord have mercy.

I hope you have purchased a “wiggy” in the 10 months since your first post. What was the result of expanded testing?

Verified it was wired for 240. What I can’t figure out is why a mistake like that could be made to happen so often. Crazy.

It is a miss-wired multiwire circuit. Consider an outlet that should be split for two separate feeds with a common neutral. Instead the DIYer wires one ungrounded conductor to the hot terminal of the outlet and the other ungrounded conductor to the neutral terminal. Now you have 240v across the outlet To compound the problem the outlet halves are never isolated and the grounded conductor or equipment ground conductor is wired to the ground terminal of the outlet. Now you have 240v across the outlet and two 120v circuits to the ground. Hence three lights on your outlet tester with a brighter center light (240v).