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Old 11-05-2013, 07:07 PM   #1
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question about grounds - why do they always require pigtails?


so this is an odd question, but all my old wiring in the house has no ground wire but is BX, so the ground is effectively covered once the BX was secured to the box. I'm running some new wire and so I have proper grounds now however I noticed...

in the new box I need to ground the light switch, the box, and connect the grounds from the 2 wires to each other. All but the box would be easy if the light switch has 2 screw downs for ground, but it doesn't so it seems I need to pigtail together 4 wires, 2 for the incoming and outgoing electrical wire, 1 for the light switch ground, and 1 to ground the metal box.

Is my take on this wrong? it seems to be poorly thought out but perhaps it's just the way it is.

Hoping someone can provide clarification. Thanks.

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Old 11-05-2013, 07:15 PM   #2
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question about grounds - why do they always require pigtails?


You can use one long tails and bond both the box and the device with one pigtail. The grounds all need to be connected together, incoming, outgoing and device tail as well as the metal box.

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Old 11-06-2013, 08:18 AM   #3
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question about grounds - why do they always require pigtails?


250.148 (b)

(B) Grounding Continuity. The arrangement of grounding connections shall be such that the disconnection or the removal of a receptacle, luminaire, or other device fed from the box does not interfere with or interrupt the grounding
continuity.

If the switch had 2 ground screws you would violate this
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:40 PM   #4
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question about grounds - why do they always require pigtails?


Older receptacles, i've only come across a few, actually had two ground screws, but if you think about it, if that device was to be removed, you would lose your grounding (bonding) protection downstream of that single device, so it only makes sense to ensure continuity of the EGC throughout the entire circuit.
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:14 PM   #5
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question about grounds - why do they always require pigtails?


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Originally Posted by stickboy1375 View Post
Older receptacles, i've only come across a few, actually had two ground screws, but if you think about it, if that device was to be removed, you would lose your grounding (bonding) protection downstream of that single device, so it only makes sense to ensure continuity of the EGC throughout the entire circuit.
but if I remove that device it means I'm working on the circuit, and I'd have to pigtail all 3 of the wires from the up-circuit end to the down circuit end to maintain the circuit....

I get it kinda, I'm sure someone forgot to or something, I just don't think pigtails are as stable of connections as screws.
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:15 PM   #6
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question about grounds - why do they always require pigtails?


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Originally Posted by MLMIB View Post
but if I remove that device it means I'm working on the circuit, and I'd have to pigtail all 3 of the wires from the up-circuit end to the down circuit end to maintain the circuit....

I get it kinda, I'm sure someone forgot to or something, I just don't think pigtails are as stable of connections as screws.
You are missing the safety aspect of the requirement, if the device is removed, upstream now has no equipment grounding… this is THE issue.

Last edited by stickboy1375; 11-06-2013 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 11-07-2013, 12:02 AM   #7
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question about grounds - why do they always require pigtails?


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Originally Posted by MLMIB View Post
but if I remove that device it means I'm working on the circuit, and I'd have to pigtail all 3 of the wires from the up-circuit end to the down circuit end to maintain the circuit....

I get it kinda, I'm sure someone forgot to or something, I just don't think pigtails are as stable of connections as screws.
Pigtails or Rabbit Ears have been used for two Centuries now. Used to be that they were soldered, then they used Crimp rings, now they use Wire nuts, or the Ideal connectors if you are not going to be disconnecting the tails from the incoming and outgoing wire.

As for the whole using the top & bottom screws on the outlet, you could if you wish, but really Pigtails make things easier if you do not want to use the outlet as a pass through device. There can be some inspectors though, that would rather have you use the screws if only two sets of wires, while others may wish for you to use Tails with wire nuts.

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