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Old 05-07-2011, 11:56 AM   #1
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Making A Ground


I have the old 2 conductor wire with no ground on some of my circuits.
I installed a few GFCI's on some recepticals and now find that an upstairs ceiling light does not work. I may have reversed a hot and neutral but I am not sure as the conductors cannot be identified. So to check my connections, I need to make a ground by connecting a separate single conductor to a cold water pipe, radiator or to a receptical that has a ground so that I can test with my volt meter as to which wires are hot.
I tried to be careful and not mix up the connections but it must have happened. What do you think?

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Old 05-07-2011, 12:28 PM   #2
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Making A Ground


There is probably a loose connection somewhere, possibly at the last working outlet or light.

A GFCI will work without a ground.

Accidnetaly accidentally exchanging hot and neutral will not prevent a light from working.

You can at any time string a single #14 to #20 conductor from the nearest water pipe across the floor to the place where you are working in order to have a ground for testing purposes only.
Note that a water pipe is not guaranteed to be grounded since there may be plastic pipe between it and the pipes in the basement.

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Old 05-07-2011, 01:00 PM   #3
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Making A Ground


When I'm troubleshooting older wiring, I like to use a long 3-prong extension cord plugged into a known good grounded receptacle, if one is available. Drag the cord end around with you, and you have a hot, neutral, and ground reference right there for testing.
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Old 05-07-2011, 05:11 PM   #4
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Making A Ground


Thanks McSteve,
Very good idea and thanks to AllanJ.
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