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-   -   Is this outlet wired correctly? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/outlet-wired-correctly-19725/)

NotSoHandyDan 04-09-2008 11:08 PM

Is this outlet wired correctly?
 
1 Attachment(s)
While troubleshooting a different electrical problem in my home office, I pulled one of my outlets out of the wall and the way it was wired up looked strange to me. I'm not even an amateur electrician, so I have no idea if this is correct but it doesn't seem to be right. I attached a drawing (didn't take a pic) of how the outlet was wired.

Basically I found the outlet had the black wire running to one side, and white to the other. But then a very short piece of wire (maybe 4" long) was also connected to the white wire screw and made a short loop down to the grounding screw.

Two other bare copper wires were also coming out of the wiring that came into the box, but were not attached to anything (ground wires?).

Is this even safe? Any ideas?

Thanks :)

jbfan 04-09-2008 11:30 PM

Not safe. Why it would be done that way, with the grounds in the box , is beyond me.
The jumper needs to be removed, and the bare wires connected to the ground screw.I would then check the other outlets to make sure that are not connected the same way.

220/221 04-10-2008 12:09 AM

GAH!!


That's how people get killed.

Someone using an appliance or tool plugged ito that outlet could become the path to "ground" if the neutral somehow became open.

NotSoHandyDan 04-10-2008 02:11 AM

I am currently using that outlet. I have two surge protectors plugged into it, and most of my computer equipment runs off those two surge protectors. I'll take an actual photo of what it looks like and post it so you can tell me if those bare wires that are unattached are the ground wires or not.

This house scares me anyway, I can just tell the guy who remodeled it half-a**ed it by the other things I've found. Lots of new wiring mixed with old, and I had to have him redo some outlets and the main panel after the original home inspector found things he didn't like. Apparently he didn't catch it all :P

Thanks for the insight guys.

NAIL 04-10-2008 05:59 AM

This is the type of home owner special that don't come around all the time. . Stop using this receptacle and all others like this. Install a GFI with the proper sticker (no equipment ground) and line/load it to protect the wiring down stream. But with computers you really need a properly grounded receptacle instead of the GFI method.

You will find the other ground wires are not hooked up to anything, and are not grounded. They will lead back to an ungrounded power source in the old wiring

CowboyAndy 04-10-2008 06:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NAIL (Post 115173)

You will find the other ground wires are not hooked up to anything, and are not grounded. They will lead back to an ungrounded power source in the old wiring

That's what I was thinking.


notsohandydan, before you just attach the ground wire in the box to the outlet, you should test it first.

Do you have a multi-meter?

joed 04-10-2008 08:39 AM

That is called a bootleg ground and is done to fool people into thinking there are proper ground wires in the box when using the three light testers.

jogr 04-10-2008 11:51 AM

Are you sure the jumper goes to the ground? Your drawing looks like it goes from the upper silver screw to the lower silver screw (both for neutral). Check to see if maybe the previous "electrician" started to seperate the two outlets (in order to control one by switch or perhaps just have them on seperate circuits) and clipped the connector on the neutral side. Changed his mind and attached a jumper.

But I don't know if two wires under one screw is allowed by the manufacturer.

NotSoHandyDan 04-10-2008 12:38 PM

Thanks for the replies guys.

I do have a multimeter, a fairly nice one. However I will admit I am timid to use it since I really don't understand what will and won't kill me ;)

I do know not to touch both of those wires (black and white) at once, and that on my multimeter I should ground the black lead and use the red to probe?

However I am not sure what to ground it to, and I'm not sure which setting my multimeter should be turned to (there are several different options) or what I would even be checking for.

When I mess with the outlet I throw the main because I'm not even sure the breaker he has labeled "office" kills the power to everything in the room, so I try to be safe. If there is a safe way to test this outlet and you can walk me through it, I'd be happy to try.

Thanks again!

NateHanson 04-10-2008 02:21 PM

When your meter is set to V it's safe to touch the black and white wires with separate probes.

To test whether there is power to the outlet, make sure the bare parts of the black wire aren't touching anything except for the gold screw terminals, and then turn on the main. Set your meter to V-AC. Touch one probe to the white wire end (or the silver screw). Touch the other probe to the black wire end (or gold screw) and the meter will tell you the voltage. (110ish)

Now shut off that "office" breaker, and test again (assume the wires are still live!). If there's no voltage you've found the circuit breaker for that outlet.

cannouu 04-10-2008 02:45 PM

ye its alrite if the othewr bridge connector is still in, the bridging wire must of used to be a switch cuz i fixed my outlet and it was wires teh same way but the black wire was a switch, even though im 13 dont undersetimate me

DSallee 04-10-2008 06:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NotSoHandyDan (Post 115252)
........... When I mess with the outlet I throw the main because I'm not even sure the breaker he has labeled "office" kills the power to everything in the room, so I try to be safe. If there is a safe way to test this outlet and you can walk me through it, I'd be happy to try.

Thanks again!

I do it an easy way..... I take a lamp, plug it into the outlet, turn it on.... go flip the breaker... if the lamp goes out, then thats the breaker for "that" outlet... If it stays lit, then it's on a different breaker....

Once I verify it's the correct circuit, I always double check for voltage with a voltmeter also to make sure it is dead! ... just to be safe...:thumbup:

NAIL 04-11-2008 09:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cannouu (Post 115280)
ye its alrite if the othewr bridge connector is still in, the bridging wire must of used to be a switch cuz i fixed my outlet and it was wires teh same way but the black wire was a switch, even though im 13 dont undersetimate me


What?

220/221 04-11-2008 09:30 PM

Quote:

ye its alrite if the othewr bridge connector is still in, the bridging wire must of used to be a switch cuz i fixed my outlet and it was wires teh same way but the black wire was a switch, even though im 13 dont undersetimate me
waht? :laughing:

NAIL 04-11-2008 09:56 PM

Sorry!! missed an easy one :(


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