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Old 08-08-2012, 08:42 PM   #1
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


Hi! New to the forum so pardon if a recent post is similar. I search and found similar but nothing that works for my issue. And I hope it only posts once because I had problems posting it.

I replaced 3 2-prong sockets yesterday in my office with 3 prong sockets and the light switch with a newer model. I had done several replacements like this on outlets before in this house with no problem.

However, after turning the breaker switches back on, I discovered that the light in the kitchen, the adjoining bathroom light, the light in the office, and 1 outlet in the office were not getting any power. Apparently, the other 2 sockets in the office are on different breaker and so were the wall outlets for the kitchen and bathroom because they work fine still.

The house was built in the 40's, and appear to be the original 2-progs that were originally installed and there are no GFI sockets anywhere in the house. The original outlet doesn't have a "metal tab" to break. And the box has 2 sets of wires, but only the top outlet was wired, which is the way I left it. The hot wire appears to be the black one and the neutral is the white. The extra black and white wire set are still curled up in the back of the box, with some time of fabric electrical tape covering them.

Also, I should note, there are no ground wires for any outlet in this house except the Central AC and Dryer which are on a breaker box by themselves.

I tested the office outlet with a meter and got nothing at all (110v). Attempted to test the resistance (1K) and it spikes. Which, if I understand correctly, is supposed to happen with a switch but not on the outlet.

I've taken the switch and outlet off the box completely, put the original switch and outlet one, no power. I removed them both again and tested with my meter (110V)on just the copper wires, and still no power.

Now, here's another thing that baffles me. If I have the old switch attached and test for resistance with the switch in the off position, I get nothing on both outlet and switch. But if I turn on the switch, I get a big spike (1K) in the outlet on the wall. Before changing out these outlets and the switch, the only thing that the switch affected was the overhead light.

This is my first time replacing a switch, so I'm not sure if it is possible to attach is backwards. In the switch's box, there are 2 sets of wires. The white ones are neatly curled up in the back of the box covered in electric tape/fabric. Then, there are 2 wires attached to each switch's posts. But 1 of the black wires, again covered in tape/fabric is actually 2 of the black wire twisted together.

I don't see anything touching the metal box or each other inside either of the boxes.

Does this sound like a short in the wiring around the switch or outlet? Or am I missing something obvious?

Thanks so much for your help in advance. I would like to be able to fix this one so I can ignore the hubby's eye rolling.

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Old 08-08-2012, 08:56 PM   #2
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


First thing there going to bust you on is it's completly againt all codes to just switch out 2 pole to three pole without adding a ground wire.

But it is legal to change a 2 pole to a 3, prong GFI as long as you attach the little sticker that says GFI no ground.

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Old 08-08-2012, 08:59 PM   #3
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


There are a lot of things to decipher first.... what is the wiring method to the existing receptacles, do these methods meet the criteria for a grounding conductor, after that is discussed, then we can discuss your options on what you can do.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:00 PM   #4
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
First thing there going to bust you on is it's completly againt all codes to just switch out 2 pole to three pole without adding a ground wire.

But it is legal to change a 2 pole to a 3, prong GFI as long as you attach the little sticker that says GFI no ground.
If the wiring method is metal conduit or BX with the bonding strap and he uses a self grounding recept, it's completely legal.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:02 PM   #5
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


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If the wiring method is metal conduit or BX with the bonding strap and he uses a self grounding recept, it's completely legal.
The OP is named "Frustrated MOM"
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:04 PM   #6
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


Quote:
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The OP is named "Frustrated MOM"
Maybe I should have said, "call an electcian"? JK

I don't look at the posters' names. I will look for a location tho.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:07 PM   #7
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


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Originally Posted by k_buz View Post
Maybe I should have said, "call an electcian"? JK

I don't look at the posters' names. I will look for a location tho.
Im just taking advantage of the mistake, and having a little fun.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:23 PM   #8
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


I'm not sure what kind of wiring is going to the box. I'm sorry. That's WAY above my layman skills. So I attached a pic. Horrible shots but maybe that would help.

And yes, I'm on the same page about the code, need GFI labels "No Ground". Thank you very much.

He/She, its all the same in the end.
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?-outlet.jpg  

Last edited by FrustratedMom; 08-08-2012 at 09:24 PM. Reason: Attached wrong picture
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:25 PM   #9
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


What is the bottom picture? Is that insulation black or green?
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:26 PM   #10
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


Here is a pic of the wall switch box. You can see the copper connector that is added to make the 2 wires into 1 wire.
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?-switch.jpg   Is this a ground or an easy fix?-2-1-wire-switch.jpg  
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:27 PM   #11
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


The only color wires in either of these boxes in white and black. There isn't any green. I wish there was, but it is what it is . ;P
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:28 PM   #12
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


Was that connection taped?
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:29 PM   #13
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


Quote:
Originally Posted by FrustratedMom View Post
The only color wires in either of these boxes in white and black. There isn't any green. I wish there was, but it is what it is . ;P
I would bet that that wiring (BX or AC) has the bonding strap...thus you would have a proper ground.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:33 PM   #14
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


From the first picture, the two wires on Left (like I said horrible angle) were individually wrapped in the Outlet, 1 black and 1 white. The ones on the right, 1 white and 1 black, were the ones connected to the original plug.

plug = receptacle?

ON the switch's picture, the one with the two wires twisted into 1 with the little copper connector was taped around the connector. I took off the tape before taking pics to make sure there wasn't a break in the wire.Both wires there are black. Only white ones are in the back, can barely see them in the pic due to darkness.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:29 AM   #15
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Is this a ground or an easy fix?


"Plug" does NOT equal "Receptacle". A PLUG is plugged into a RECEPTACLE.

Turn the breaker OFF.

In the OUTLET (Receptacle) pic, put the two wires that you disconnected ("formerly curled and taped in back and not used") back together.

Have hubby to turn ON the breaker.

With voltmeter set to 200v (or whatever above 120), check between the white and black remaining wires for voltage. There should be 110-120. If so, then the black goes to the Brass screw on the receptacle, and the white goes to the Silver screw. This should make the receptacle work.


In the SWITCH pic, cut, and re-strip those wires. One of those wires is going to the light, while the other should be HOT. You should be able to measure 120v between the metal box (if there's conduit attached, as KBuz thinks). Use the voltmeter to measure that. If you touch those two wires together (WITHOUT GETTING YOUR FINGERS IN THE WAY), the light should come on. If so, you can install the switch.

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