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Old 03-24-2011, 04:51 PM   #1
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2 pronged to 3 pronged


I bought a home that was built back in 1949. The electric in the house still has a few boxes that are 2 pronged and are run off of BX cable, I want to change these out to 3 pronged outlets, how do I make the switch? I'd like to use the same BX cable and not run new lines if that is possible.

Mind you, I know very little about electrical work.

Thanks in advance,

08

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Old 03-24-2011, 06:32 PM   #2
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2 pronged to 3 pronged


You have two choices. The best way is to run new circuits back to the panel with modern, grounded cable. If you don't want to do that, you can directly replace the receptacles with 3-prong ones, and provide GFCI protection for the circuit. The easiest way to achieve that is to replace the circuit breaker with a GFCI breaker. To be code compliant, you should put little "GFCI protected - no equipment ground" stickers on the 3-prong receptacles. The stickers usually come with the breaker.

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Old 03-24-2011, 06:40 PM   #3
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2 pronged to 3 pronged


Thanks for thr reply, like I said I'm a dummy when it comes to this stuff (wait for it) but is there some way to run a ground wire off the BX cable casing? OK you can stop laughing now, what do you say?
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:09 PM   #4
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2 pronged to 3 pronged


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Originally Posted by 08087 View Post
Thanks for thr reply, like I said I'm a dummy when it comes to this stuff (wait for it) but is there some way to run a ground wire off the BX cable casing? OK you can stop laughing now, what do you say?
Generally not. Old BX cable (actual BX or AC) is armored for physical protection, but the armor is not rated to carry fault current and cannot be used as a grounding means. There are newer cables (MC) that look similar to BX and are often called BX that are rated for fault current on the armor - but that's almost certainly not what you have. An easy way to tell is to check for a "bonding strap" inside the cable. The bonding strap is a small bare conductor, usually about 14AWG aluminum, that runs the length of the cable and is in contact with the armor. It is not the same as a bare grounding wire; it is intended only to ensure that the spiral-shaped armor can safely carry the fault current. If your cable has this, you can ground to the armor. If it does not have this, you cannot.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:29 PM   #5
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2 pronged to 3 pronged


I think the easiest way for you to switch to 3-prong outlets is to just replace them with GFCIs. Breaker is not necessarily the easiest since your electrical experience is limited.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:44 PM   #6
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2 pronged to 3 pronged


I've got an electrician coming to install a couple of ceiling fans in a few days, I think I'll let him look into it. Thank you! I'm just scared to do it wrong and burn down the house.
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:11 PM   #7
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2 pronged to 3 pronged


You can run a separate ground wire back to the panel more or less folloing the route of the circuit wiring (he4r, the BX cable). If it does follow quite closely you might as well string a new cable instead.

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