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Old 06-10-2009, 02:55 PM   #1
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When should I verify getting good Ground?


Hey folks!

We recently installed a Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner for our Home Theater equipment, and it turns out that the Panamax "Wiring OK" indicator light stays off -- meaning there is an issue with the outlet it is plugged into. I bought an outlet tester, and it indicates the outlet is good. I also did a run through the circuit breakers and found another outlet on the same 15A breaker that had Hot and Neutral switched (according to my tester).

Could that be the wiring issue? Or should I have ground checked? The apartment we are in is in the top two floors of an older house that our landlord indicated used to be wired for two-wire outlets. In fact some of the 3-way plugs are also "open ground" plugs that are on different breakers from the Home Theater equipment.

Any advice? Could the switched Hot and Neutral be my issue?

BTW: My other concern is that we get low voltage when the HT equipment is on (100 - 110 Volts). That is why I bought the Panamax in part as it does Voltage Regulation too.

Thanks in advance...

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Old 06-10-2009, 03:48 PM   #2
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When should I verify getting good Ground?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkDune View Post
My other concern is that we get low voltage when the HT equipment is on (100 - 110 Volts).
Spec. limits on the 120v is 114v to 126v or 108 to 132v, depending on where you are.
If your outlet voltage drops more than 3v [for single family] when a hair dryer is switched on you may have connection problems.
Since 100v<105v it sounds like you have a problem which needs further [simple] tests, but what size wire goes how far back to the load center?

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Old 06-10-2009, 04:45 PM   #3
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When should I verify getting good Ground?


I'd be more concerned about the voltage than the ground.
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Old 06-10-2009, 04:47 PM   #4
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When should I verify getting good Ground?


I would be suspicious that someone has installed a 3 wire outlet on a 2 wire circuit and bootlegged the ground. Connected the ground terminal to the neutral. Dangerous!
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:07 PM   #5
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When should I verify getting good Ground?


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I would be suspicious that someone has installed a 3 wire outlet on a 2 wire circuit and bootlegged the ground. Connected the ground terminal to the neutral. Dangerous!
I will check those "Open Ground" outlets for sure. Interestingly, my wife popped the breaker they are on using a hair dryer (which needs a ground) and a space heater (which does not) at the same time.

I think the "Open Ground" outlets should've been wired using 2-wire outlets. Not sure why our landlord's Electrician let that one slide?!?!
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:16 PM   #6
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When should I verify getting good Ground?


Your tester tests some of these combinations. There are more I haven't listed, involving only one wire connected.

3 conductors taken 3 at a time on 3 terminals. The first one is correct.
HNG
HGN
GHN
NHG
GNH
NGH

3 conductors taken 2 at a time on 3 terminals.
HN -
HG -
H - N
H - G
GH -
- HG
NH -
- HN
- GH
G - H
- NH
N - H
NG -
GN -
- NG
HN -
- GN
G - N
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:16 PM   #7
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When should I verify getting good Ground?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkDune View Post
I will check those "Open Ground" outlets for sure. Interestingly, my wife popped the breaker they are on using a hair dryer (which needs a ground) and a space heater (which does not) at the same time.
That's the same circuit that your HT equipment is on as well??? I see a lot of breaker trips in your future..

You might want to consider relocating the heater. (Or do what I had my wife do in our old apartment: 25 ft. extension cord from the hairdryer to the kitchen. Bath was on the same circuit as the living room.)
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:21 PM   #8
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When should I verify getting good Ground?


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That's the same circuit that your HT equipment is on as well??? I see a lot of breaker trips in your future..

You might want to consider relocating the heater. (Or do what I had my wife do in our old apartment: 25 ft. extension cord from the hairdryer to the kitchen. Bath was on the same circuit as the living room.)
Sorry for the confusion...no...

The HT is not on an "Open Ground" circuit. It is on one with one outlet that has Hot and Neutral reversed.

There is a separate circuit that shows "Open Ground" that my wife tripped using a space heater and hair dryer

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Old 06-11-2009, 11:33 AM   #9
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When should I verify getting good Ground?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkDune View Post
Hey folks!

We recently installed a Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner for our Home Theater equipment, and it turns out that the Panamax "Wiring OK" indicator light stays off -- meaning there is an issue with the outlet it is plugged into. I bought an outlet tester, and it indicates the outlet is good. I also did a run through the circuit breakers and found another outlet on the same 15A breaker that had Hot and Neutral switched (according to my tester).

Could that be the wiring issue? Or should I have ground checked? The apartment we are in is in the top two floors of an older house that our landlord indicated used to be wired for two-wire outlets. In fact some of the 3-way plugs are also "open ground" plugs that are on different breakers from the Home Theater equipment.

Any advice? Could the switched Hot and Neutral be my issue?

BTW: My other concern is that we get low voltage when the HT equipment is on (100 - 110 Volts). That is why I bought the Panamax in part as it does Voltage Regulation too.

Thanks in advance...
OK, so I found a plug in the same room that is on a separate circuit from the the original one I described above. I also fixed the switched Hot and Neutral I mentioned above. That original circuit not only had that issue, but had our Refrigerator on it, so it is probably better not to have that drawing current alongside the HT equipment.

The new circuit is the one my wife used to use for a hair dryer, a space heater, and an AC unit we use when it is hot out. So I will be plugging them into other Outlets now via extension cables ensuring they are all on a separate circuit from the HT equipment.

Here is my new dilemma. The new circuit I am using for the Home Theater equipment is showing an "Open Ground" on the two outlets on the same floor as the HT itself, but is wired with a good Ground on one outlet (on the same circuit) on the floor above.

I opened those "Open Ground" Outlets, and ensured the leads were all tightly connected. Here is what may be the issue. The Hot and Neutrals are spliced to go to some ceiling fan switches.

Here are my questions:

Could the Open Ground be caused by a loose Ground lead in the switches?

If one outlet on the same circuit has a good Ground, what would cause other Outlets on the same circuit to have an "Open Ground"?

All these Outlets have a Ground wire attached to the Outlet itself, just not sure if they go back to the breaker box correctly.

Thanks for your time and assistance!
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:32 AM   #10
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When should I verify getting good Ground?


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Originally Posted by DarkDune View Post
OK, so I found a plug in the same room that is on a separate circuit from the the original one I described above. I also fixed the switched Hot and Neutral I mentioned above. That original circuit not only had that issue, but had our Refrigerator on it, so it is probably better not to have that drawing current alongside the HT equipment.

The new circuit is the one my wife used to use for a hair dryer, a space heater, and an AC unit we use when it is hot out. So I will be plugging them into other Outlets now via extension cables ensuring they are all on a separate circuit from the HT equipment.

Here is my new dilemma. The new circuit I am using for the Home Theater equipment is showing an "Open Ground" on the two outlets on the same floor as the HT itself, but is wired with a good Ground on one outlet (on the same circuit) on the floor above.

I opened those "Open Ground" Outlets, and ensured the leads were all tightly connected. Here is what may be the issue. The Hot and Neutrals are spliced to go to some ceiling fan switches.

Here are my questions:

Could the Open Ground be caused by a loose Ground lead in the switches?

If one outlet on the same circuit has a good Ground, what would cause other Outlets on the same circuit to have an "Open Ground"?

All these Outlets have a Ground wire attached to the Outlet itself, just not sure if they go back to the breaker box correctly.

Thanks for your time and assistance!
OK here's a weird one for ya!

I did nothing other than what I mentioned above, and since it rained all night last night and continues to rain this morning, the "Wiring OK" indicator lit up and has remained lit. So I guess since the soil is saturated with water, the Ground is showing up now.

Does that make sense?!?!

It seems to me that we may need to have the house Ground re-checked. Any other advice?
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Old 06-12-2009, 08:30 AM   #11
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When should I verify getting good Ground?


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Originally Posted by DarkDune View Post
OK here's a weird one for ya!

I did nothing other than what I mentioned above, and since it rained all night last night and continues to rain this morning, the "Wiring OK" indicator lit up and has remained lit. So I guess since the soil is saturated with water, the Ground is showing up now.

Does that make sense?!?!

It seems to me that we may need to have the house Ground re-checked. Any other advice?
No, it makes no sense. The ground we are looking for in the circuit has nothing to do with the ground in the dirt. The ground in the circuit runs back to the main panel and is connected to the neutral there. It

It may be that some of the receptacles showing open ground may have been wired to an earth ground somewhere that was effected by the rain. I have seen people drive ground rods at remote locations thinking they could use that for a circuit ground, something similar may be the case here.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:35 AM   #12
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When should I verify getting good Ground?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkDune View Post
I did nothing other than what I mentioned above, and since it rained all night last night and continues to rain this morning, the "Wiring OK" indicator lit up and has remained lit. So I guess since the soil is saturated with water, the Ground is showing up now.

Does that make sense?!?!
". . .a premature[?] conclusion about causality after observing only a correlation between two or more factors. Generally, if one factor (A) is observed to only be correlated with another factor (B), it is sometimes taken for granted that A is causing B even when no evidence supports this. This is a logical fallacy because there are at least four other possibilities:

B may be the cause of A
some unknown third factor C is actually the cause of both A and B
the "relationship" is coincidence or so complex or indirect that it is more effectively called coincidence (i.e. two events occurring at the same time that have no direct relationship to each other besides the fact that they are occurring at the same time).
B may be the cause of A at the same time as A is the cause of B (contradicting that the only relationship between A and B is that A causes B). This describes a self-reinforcing system."
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Old 06-12-2009, 11:01 AM   #13
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When should I verify getting good Ground?


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Originally Posted by DarkDune View Post
OK, so I found a plug in the same room that is on a separate circuit from the the original one I described above. I also fixed the switched Hot and Neutral I mentioned above. That original circuit not only had that issue, but had our Refrigerator on it, so it is probably better not to have that drawing current alongside the HT equipment.

The new circuit is the one my wife used to use for a hair dryer, a space heater, and an AC unit we use when it is hot out. So I will be plugging them into other Outlets now via extension cables ensuring they are all on a separate circuit from the HT equipment.
You need a new circuit. A/C on an extension cord is a terrible idea. Admit to yourself that a new circuit (or two) is the right answer.

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