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Old 05-18-2011, 01:25 PM   #1
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Open Ground in Non Daisy Chained Outlet Circuit

So I have been chasing an open ground on one circuit of my house for the past few days. The circuit contains 3 outlets and 8 switches. All of the outlets are testing open ground. Two other outlets in the same room (but different circuit) test fine. I have read up on chasing these down and they generally rely on finding the loose/unconnected ground wire that is knocking all other outlets out (assuming they are daisy-chained).

It turns out that the outlets are not daisy chained. All outlets have a single 14-2 romex cable entering the rec. box. Similar "branches" were used for all switches as well. I understand when daisy chained together an "upstream" break in the ground will impact those "downstream". But how does the "non-daisy chained" scenario impact "open grounds"? Would an unconnected ground at one outlet not impact another outlet?

I have checked the continuity between the grounds in each outlet box and the switches and they all come out good. So I am thinking there must be an issue in the "main" cable bringing the electricity to this part of the house.

One other question, I can easily check for open ground with an outlet tester. What is the easiest way for testing switches/light fixtures?



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Old 05-18-2011, 01:52 PM   #2
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If you only have a single cable in each box and all are on the same circuit, you must a have a junction box (or several) somewhere in the circuit. This may be at the light fixtures (most likely) or in the crawlspace/basement or attic.

To check the ground at a switch or fixture, measure the voltage (or use a test light) between the hot and ground. If the ground is properly connected, you will register 120V or the light will be lit.


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Old 05-18-2011, 02:00 PM   #3
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Thanks. I am suspecting that the junction boxes are located in a crawl space above the room. Unfortunately, a major kitchen renovation last year has removed easy access to that area.

This circuit used to also service some lights in our old kitchen, which have now been replaced with new lights and placed on new circuits. I am wondering when the contractor "tied" them off if the ground was somehow missed/broken. Then again, I can't be certain if this "open ground" has been around for years since I hadn't really looked for it before.
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