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Old 05-21-2013, 11:47 AM   #1
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conversion 2 prong to 3 prong


Brand new at this -- Did my first electrical install at my home that consisted of adding lights to the ceiling fan. Fairly easy compared to this I think.

I pulled out the first outlet, it is a double (stacked) 2 prong outlet. I was told by the inspector when we bought the house that all the outlets were grounded, so it should be an easy conversion over.

I have all the new outlets, but what I am confused on is how to ground the new 3 prong outlets. There is a screw in the back of the electrical box attached to a bracket that hold the 'electrical lines' (I am not sure what else to call them) in place. These are the lines that directly connect to the screws on the outlets. Do I just need to buy some ground wire and attach this to the new 3 prong outlets and then run this wire back to the screw that attaches the bracket to the back of the box?

A little hard to explain, if needed I can take pictures tonight and post them tomorrow.

Thanks!

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Old 05-21-2013, 12:00 PM   #2
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conversion 2 prong to 3 prong


The screw that holds the cable clamp cannot be used to also connect the grounding pigtail. The ground screw can only be used for grounding.

What is the wiring means used in your house?

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Old 05-21-2013, 12:03 PM   #3
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conversion 2 prong to 3 prong


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
The screw that holds the cable clamp cannot be used to also connect the grounding pigtail. The ground screw can only be used for grounding.

What is the wiring means used in your house?
If I can not use the cable clamp screw to connect the ground, where or how would I connect a 3 prong outlet ground?


The three prong outlets will be used for various at home uses. The primary reason for switching some of the outlets to 3 prong is to allow us to connects our TV and computers. Likely we will be using a power strip to connect each of these, once the outlets are replaced.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:20 PM   #4
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conversion 2 prong to 3 prong


Splinter..... with two prong receps, are you sure your branch circuts are grounded.... strange that there are 2 prong receps still around. Are you sure that the inspector was not refering to a main ground etc.

Do you have a multi-meter (they are inexpensive $10-15) at HD or walmart.

Do you know if you have metal conduit to your recepticals...probably not as you referred to I think a cable clamp.... and you don't live in Chicago

Did you see any bare copper wires in your recep box.

I'm suspect that you do not have grounded branch circuts.

If we/you can determine that, then everyone here can advise you how to proceed to get 3-prong receps installed correctly to code.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:28 PM   #5
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conversion 2 prong to 3 prong


Quote:
Originally Posted by MTN REMODEL LLC View Post
Splinter..... with two prong receps, are you sure your branch circuts are grounded.... strange that there are 2 prong receps still around. Are you sure that the inspector was not refering to a main ground etc.

Do you have a multi-meter (they are inexpensive $10-15) at HD or walmart.
It is an old house, built in 1948.

The inspector had a little plug that showed the outlet had power and was grounded via lights when plugged into the outlet.

I do not have a multi-meter but I can pick one up tonight.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MTN REMODEL LLC View Post
Do you know if you have metal conduit to your recepticals...probably not as you referred to I think a cable clamp.... and you don't live in Chicago
I am not sure, is there a way to know this one way or another? -- We are in Minnesota, near St. Paul.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MTN REMODEL LLC View Post
Did you see any bare copper wires in your recep box.
When I looked, this was only at one outlet, I really only saw the wire branch. I did not see any specific ground. For the 'top' outlet, there was two metal rings that came off the wire branch that connected. I was a little puzzled why there was two. The bottom, there was just the one loop that connected to the screw for the outlet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MTN REMODEL LLC View Post
I'm suspect that you do not have grounded branch circuts.

If we/you can determine that, then everyone here can advise you how to proceed to get 3-prong receps installed correctly to code.
I assume in order to verify this, I will just need to use my multi-meter that I pick up tonight, insert into the live and touch to the face place screw with the other lead?



Thanks
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:39 PM   #6
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conversion 2 prong to 3 prong


If you could post a closeup pic of the cables near the top of your panel it would help.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:48 PM   #7
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conversion 2 prong to 3 prong


Quote:
Originally Posted by splintner View Post
It is an old house, built in 1948.

The inspector had a little plug that showed the outlet had power and was grounded via lights when plugged into the outlet.

I do not have a multi-meter but I can pick one up tonight.




I am not sure, is there a way to know this one way or another? -- We are in Minnesota, near St. Paul.



When I looked, this was only at one outlet, I really only saw the wire branch. I did not see any specific ground. For the 'top' outlet, there was two metal rings that came off the wire branch that connected. I was a little puzzled why there was two. The bottom, there was just the one loop that connected to the screw for the outlet.



I assume in order to verify this, I will just need to use my multi-meter that I pick up tonight, insert into the live and touch to the face place screw with the other lead?



Thanks
You're catchin on quick

In no specific order....some comments

1) If you have two prong outlets, I don't know how your inspector could test them with a "plug-in" tester.... did he seem qualified/good in other aspects.

2) Get the multi-meter, sounds like it will serve you now and in future

3) If you can't recognize a conduit connection at the box (I'm assuming you have metal boxes), can you see your wiring runs in the basement or attic. Are they in a bendable type pipe, or a corrugated flexable pipe, or just a black sorta sticky wire cable.

4)"When I looked, this was only at one outlet, I really only saw the wire branch. I did not see any specific ground. For the 'top' outlet, there was two metal rings that came off the wire branch that connected. I was a little puzzled why there was two. The bottom, there was just the one loop that connected to the screw for the outlet."

Didn't really understand this... I'm assuming that you did not see several bare copper wires in the box.

Theoretically, you are going to test for a ground with your multi-meter just as you say. Set it on 200 ACV and put one prong in the hot, and the other to the metal screw on the receptical...HOWEVER, sometimes that metal screw is not a good connection... so take off the faceplate and touch the actual metal box.... if you get a 120 reading, you may be grounded... there is still the chance you have a hot box that is shorted to neutral... can tell you more when you test and see results.

Irony/coincidental here, I've just run into the exact situation (two months ago) that I think you have, with my daughetres 1953 build to SanFrancisco.
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:52 PM   #8
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conversion 2 prong to 3 prong


I will post some pictures tonight as well as additional information I have from multi-meter readings.

Thanks!
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:25 PM   #9
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conversion 2 prong to 3 prong


Okay -- So I did not snap any photos because I ran into some problems. I picked up a analog multi-meter for about $6 at Home Depot and away I went...

Looks like my standard 2 prong outlets are not grounded.

I had all the face plates off, verified there was power working to the outlet. When I stuck the red lead in the hot plug (short one), I touched the black lead to various different spots. I touched it to the screw hole (that connects the face plate) and also tried touching it to the actual box and did not get a reading. To verify I was doing this process correctly, I tried this in the kitchen where there are 3 prong outlets for the appliances and this did work.

I am thinking I am out of luck? - I will likely need an electrician to come in to ground my outlets and get the 3 prong outlets installed. Is this a fair assumption based upon I am nothing more than a rookie do it yourselfer?


Thoughts?

On a positive note - I was able to install lights to two different ceiling fans and also replace an old bathroom light fixture with a new updated one... so when it comes to electricity, it seems I am not completely worthless, but pretty close to it... Hopefully the house does not burn down (ha ha).
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:35 PM   #10
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conversion 2 prong to 3 prong


If you truly need grounded receptacles you could install new grounded circuits where needed and leave the existing alone. You could also run a grounding conductor back to the panel where the circuit originates to ground your receptacles.

You could install GFI protection on the circuit, but this will only allow you to have installed 3 prong receptacles. These will still be ungrounded.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:46 PM   #11
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conversion 2 prong to 3 prong


Quote:
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You could install GFI protection on the circuit, but this will only allow you to have installed 3 prong receptacles. These will still be ungrounded.
I read somewhere that GFI would not be recommended for appliances as they can easily trip the circuit -- Would this be the same for running a power strip that had the TV + Surround Sound hooked up? Or Computer + Monitor + Speakers?


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Old 05-23-2013, 01:55 PM   #12
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No appliance should be tripping a GFI. If it is it needs to be repaired or replaced.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:10 PM   #13
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One thing you may want to check... when I encounter a house of that age and find there are three prong receptacles that test as grounded, I will (1) check the breaker box to see if any new grounded circuits have been added, and (2) pull one of the three prong receptacles to check for a bootleg ground - this is a short jumper installed between a neutral screw and the ground screw. A bootleg ground is dangerous and should be removed!! At that point you have the option of running a circuit ground or replacing the wiring with new.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:30 PM   #14
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Splinter...,. If I understood you correctly in post 3 I think, your objective and interest is in having three prong recepticals, and you don't really care if they are grounded ... Right (TV and stereo don't usually demand grounds)

Well you are not of luck at all.... and from conversation here... you probably are capable of doing it yourself and to code.

It's not tough in most instances.

I've got an appointment in a few minutes.... but someone here will probably get ya set up.

There is a corallary thread alive right now that addresses it..at a little different level than "install" issues, but I can't remember its name. Will send later.
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Old 05-29-2013, 06:01 PM   #15
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I have some pictures - was a little lazy one this. These first couple are an outlet I was NOT planning on converting, but I wanted to see the difference between the outlet I was planning on converting.

Right now, we have a 3prong adapter plugged into, with a grounded power strip plugged into that - Then the TV into that.

The first outlet, the wire on the left is connected to the 'bottom' screw
the wire on the right is connected to the 'top' screw






The second outlet, I am a little more confused by, it appears to be more complex. There are two wire loop sets and wires that connect to the top plug, and one set that connect to the bottom plug.


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