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Old 09-09-2015, 06:09 PM   #1
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Open ground?


I have a outlet tester that shows an open ground. The ground is definitely on the outlet. Why would the tester show an open ground?
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Old 09-09-2015, 06:40 PM   #2
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You have an open connection from receptacle back to main panel ground or your tester is bad
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Old 09-09-2015, 06:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mikeron View Post
I have a outlet tester that shows an open ground. The ground is definitely on the outlet. Why would the tester show an open ground?
How do you know it is "definitely on the outlet?"
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Cletis View Post
You have an open connection from receptacle back to main panel ground or your tester is bad
So just because I have a ground wire on my outlet does not necessarily mean that the outlet is grounded?
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:44 PM   #5
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So just because I have a ground wire on my outlet does not necessarily mean that the outlet is grounded?
Yes
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:45 PM   #6
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So just because I have a ground wire on my outlet does not necessarily mean that the outlet is grounded?
Yes. The ground wire on a residential outlet is generally just an extra wire that goes back to the main panel, where it connects to the neutral. The idea is that if you lose the neutral wire or the wrong part of a device becomes energized, the power goes back through the ground wire rather than by taking a route through other parts of your house (or body), for example.

So if the wire to the main panel is not intact, or the ground is not connected to the neutral (usually in the main panel), you can have no ground even though there's a wire connected to the "ground" terminal on the outlet.

The ground to neutral connection should only happen in one place. (If someone does it on the outlet it's called a "bootleg" ground; if they do it on a subpanel there isn't a particular term for it; either situation is wrong.)
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:31 PM   #7
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Open all electrical boxes you can find and get to (including ones with switches, outlets, or no device) that is upstream of that outlet and inspect the ground. Idiots often fail on the ground and don't properly connect them... if at all.
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:30 PM   #8
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I'd take a look in the panel the circuit originates from first. Just a peek to see if anything looks fishy. Maybe post a pic.
A sub panel that has the grounding conductors bonded to the neutral (or grounded) conductors creates an objectionable pathway. It's not as snappy sounding as bootlegging a receptacle but it is wrong.
It's also wrong to say that an equipment grounding conductor supplies a return path if the neutral is lost. How does that make sense?
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Arrow3030 View Post
I'd take a look in the panel the circuit originates from first. Just a peek to see if anything looks fishy. Maybe post a pic.
A sub panel that has the grounding conductors bonded to the neutral (or grounded) conductors creates an objectionable pathway. It's not as snappy sounding as bootlegging a receptacle but it is wrong.
It's also wrong to say that an equipment grounding conductor supplies a return path if the neutral is lost. How does that make sense?
It requires a short to ground from the lost neutral part of the circuit on the load side. (It is a fault condition.)

If the hot faults to the ground, it also takes the place of the neutral by providing a short path back to the breaker.
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:48 PM   #10
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Right on. The grounding conductor is an effective means to clear a ground fault. We're on the same page
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