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Old 11-23-2008, 09:39 AM   #1
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Old Wiring, New Outlet


Hi all,

To start off with, let's get this out in the open.. I'm pretty inexperienced with electrical work.

I have to replace an outlet in my 1930's house. When I took the old outlet off, the wiring didn't look like what I was expecting. I was hoping to see a black, white, & ground wire, but instead I just just have 2 black wires. (see attached picture)

Please help me understand how I can differentiate which one is hot and which one is neutral. Also, what should I do about not having any ground wire. Does it matter what kind of plug I use? (Right now I have a 15A 3-prong plug)

Thanks in advance for the help!
-Andrew

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Old 11-23-2008, 09:43 AM   #2
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Old Wiring, New Outlet


Forgot to attach the picture. I uploaded it here:

http://www.diychatroom.com/album.php...pictureid=1132

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Old 11-23-2008, 10:54 AM   #3
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Old Wiring, New Outlet


Do you have a voltage tester? One like this would be fine..... Your wiring appears to be armored flex either bx or ac which will likely be sufficient for a ground. Test each wire individually to the metal box. The wire that lights the tester is your hot wire. If neither wire lights the tester then you do not have a good ground and we will try something else.


Last edited by Stubbie; 11-23-2008 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 11-23-2008, 10:56 AM   #4
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Old Wiring, New Outlet


It looks like the one on the left is the white.
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:22 AM   #5
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And with this (neon?) tester, if they both light it try a 4w bulb for a tester (assuming there is no 240v on these wires).
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:56 AM   #6
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Old Wiring, New Outlet


Thanks for the quick response.

I don't have a voltage tester like you showed, but I do happen to have a Circuit Alrert GVD-504A (http://www.diychatroom.com/picture.p...pictureid=1133). It beeps & lights up next to the wire on the right. So that would mean it's hot, correct?

Now, what about grounding? Is it OK to just to just hook up these 2 wires w/out a separate grounding wire?
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:03 PM   #7
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Old Wiring, New Outlet


I have one of those testers you show and I think they are difficult to determine a hot wire from a non hot when they're in close proximity. As long as you have the wires exposed, I would get the other type suggested above and use it. They're pretty inexpensive
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:13 PM   #8
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Hmm.. well I just went back & tested again, it's obvious which one is hot. I spread the 2 wires apart.. It definitely indicates the right wire, & nothing on the left.

So my only question is about if it's OK to install w/out a ground wire. I read on 1 site that you should use a GFI plug if there's no ground wire. Can anyone corfirm/deny this?
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:27 PM   #9
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You can replace with another two prong receptacle or a GFCI receptacle. If using the GFCI, you must label the receptacle with the "no equipment ground" label found in the GFCI package.
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:33 PM   #10
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GFI is allowed by code and is the only way to install 3 prongs on 2 wire circuits, unless you have bx with a bonding strip...but that is usually found in 1955-1965 homes...

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