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Old 09-22-2012, 05:00 PM   #1
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How to ground a 2-wire outdoor lamp post elect. outlet


MY HOUSE WAS BUILT IN 1952. I just replaced the outlet that attaches to the lamp post. However, in doing so I found that it has only 2 wires coming from main electrical service (not surprised considering age of house). Is there a way to ground these older outlets so they can be used with outdoor power equipment? Can the outlet be grounded to the lamp post itself on the inside?

Also, my outlet tester shows that the hot and neutral are reversed yet the lamp post outlet works fine. Is this normal that the outlet still has power to light my trouble light even if hot and neutral are reversed? What is the danger of leaving it the way it is? I wired the black from house service to the black wire on the outlet itself.

Thanks for your help.

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Old 09-22-2012, 05:20 PM   #2
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How to ground a 2-wire outdoor lamp post elect. outlet


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MY HOUSE WAS BUILT IN 1952. I just replaced the outlet that attaches to the lamp post. However, in doing so I found that it has only 2 wires coming from main electrical service (not surprised considering age of house). Is there a way to ground these older outlets so they can be used with outdoor power equipment? Can the outlet be grounded to the lamp post itself on the inside?
Use GFCI receptacles or breakers. That is legal and brings them to modern code. Outside receptacles require GFCI protection. GFCI receptacles do not require a ground wire to work correctly.

DO NOT GROUND TO LIGHT POST, ILLEGAL!!!

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Also, my outlet tester shows that the hot and neutral are reversed yet the lamp post outlet works fine. Is this normal that the outlet still has power to light my trouble light even if hot and neutral are reversed? What is the danger of leaving it the way it is? I wired the black from house service to the black wire on the outlet itself.

Thanks for your help.
Reverse wired incandescent fixtures will operate, but are dangerous. Rewire correctly.

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Old 09-23-2012, 08:16 AM   #3
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How to ground a 2-wire outdoor lamp post elect. outlet


Code05, do they sell GFI's for outdoor lamp posts? It needs to curve around the pole. Also, what about my second question. Can you help me with that?

Also, my outlet tester shows that the hot and neutral are reversed yet the lamp post outlet works fine. Is this normal that the outlet still has power to light my trouble light even if hot and neutral are reversed? What is the danger of leaving it the way it is? I wired the black from house service to the black wire on the outlet itself.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:29 AM   #4
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How to ground a 2-wire outdoor lamp post elect. outlet


Never mind Code05, i now see your answer under a quote of my question. Thanks.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:06 AM   #5
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How to ground a 2-wire outdoor lamp post elect. outlet


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Also, my outlet tester shows that the hot and neutral are reversed yet the lamp post outlet works fine. Is this normal that the outlet still has power to light my trouble light even if hot and neutral are reversed? What is the danger of leaving it the way it is? I wired the black from house service to the black wire on the outlet itself.
Many devices "don't care" which line is hot and which line is neutral, so long as there's a difference of 120VAC between the two. Think of all the small appliances that just have two-prong plugs.

At one time, it was normal for outlets to have just two rectangular sockets (no ground pin), and both sockets were the same size. Appliances, lamp cords, etc. could be plugged into these sockets either way. Should there be some sort of problem in the device (insulation failure, for example), 120V could be present on the case of the product (which in those days was almost always metal, not plastic).

So somewhere along the line (50s, 60s, 70s?), the code was changed. The round ground pin was added, and one pin on the plug was made larger, so the plug could only be inserted one way.

Last edited by Dave632; 09-23-2012 at 09:07 AM. Reason: typo
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