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Old 08-15-2009, 02:55 PM   #1
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Ungrounded GFCI + Surge Protector


I have a receptacle in my house with an open ground. Almost all of the house is done with knob and tube wiring, but the boxes are grounded, somehow...

Anyways, this one box is not grounded. I'd like to put my cable modem and router there, but I definately want them to be surge protected, as I live in Tucson, AZ, and we have frequent lightning storms, and I've already had a laptop power supply get fried when it wasn't protected.

I understand that I can "sort of" create a ground using a GFCI. My question is whether this quasi-ground will help the surge protector or not. Will the surge protector be totally ineffective in an ungrounded outlet?

What if I pigtail the neutral wire to the grounding port of the GFCI, in addition to the neutral? I know that in general this is a bad plan, although I'm not entirely clear on all the reasons why, but could the GFCI help in some way?

I know that the best option would be to get an actual ground into the box, but there's no easy way to do that. Should I just skip it entirely and put the cable modem in another room, on a grounded receptacle? Even if this is what I end up doing, I'd like to know the answers to the other questions too.

Thanks for the help!

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Old 08-15-2009, 04:36 PM   #2
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Ungrounded GFCI + Surge Protector


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Originally Posted by squigish View Post
Will the surge protector be totally ineffective in an ungrounded outlet?
At best, it will only suppress line-to-line surges, not line-to-ground.

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Old 08-15-2009, 09:49 PM   #3
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Ungrounded GFCI + Surge Protector


Good surge protectors require a properly wired grounded outlet. The use of a GFCI device to circumvent the grounding requirement is allowable for personnel protection. Meaning it will help you to survive a ground-fault shock condition.

It is not much good for protection of equipment, however.
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:08 PM   #4
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Ungrounded GFCI + Surge Protector


To poster #1. You are apparently confusing GFCI protection with Ground protection. To have GFCI protection (for personal safety) where there is no ground is OK. But for the proper functioning of equipment (beside the safety aspect) you need to have a properly grounded power supply.(Now more than ever)Don't Drink and Drive!!!
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Old 08-16-2009, 04:45 PM   #5
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Ungrounded GFCI + Surge Protector


What about bonding the neutral and ground in the box? Will the GFCI protection enable me to do this?

Also, why exactly is this a bad idea in general?
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