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Old 03-06-2012, 02:43 PM   #1
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Plastic Light Fixture with no Ground


I have a couple of the cheap plastic light fixtures for an unfinished storage area that basically are just a bulb socket that mounts to the plastic electrical box. As everything is plastic except the terminals, there is nowhere on the fixtures to connect the ground. There are just the two terminals, neutral and hot. What do I do with the ground? Should I shove it into the back of the box? Attach to the neutral? What about with the hot terminal, should I cover this with electrical tape so the ground can't touch it and trip the breaker?

Thanks,

Richard
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:28 PM   #2
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I assume you are referring to the green or bare ground wire from the cable. You should attach that to the box, if it is a metal box there should be a place for a grounding screw. If you have a plastic box (I think you said you did), they are typically not grounded, but you could attach the wire to a grounding screw anyway, not that it is going to do anything in that case. Definitely do not attach the ground wire to the neutral. The grounding wire is the independent equipment ground, which is there in case there is a line to case fault, in which case a metal case could become live, and the IEG is there to safely conduct the current and minimize the potential for you to get a shock. Also acts to trip the breaker in the event of a line to ground fault. So you are not going to have that protection, but lights are somewhat peculiar, in that they can be sold with no grounding connection, unlike most anything else electrical.
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:51 PM   #3
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Yes, my box is plastic. As you said attaching the ground to the case won't accomplish anything as it is plastic, so should I just shove the ground wire into the back of the box?
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:17 PM   #4
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Call me excessive, but I usually attach the ground wire to a screw through the box, just to keep it from flopping around on the totally outside chance it shorts across the hot and neutral. I know, never gonna happen, but I do it anyway.
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:21 PM   #5
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Great, Thanks.
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:21 PM   #6
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Just make sure the neutral terminal goes to the lamp socket shell and that there is a max of about 1vac between this shell and earth ground when the lamp is on, the 1v being due to other appliances drawing current on this same circuit.
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:34 PM   #7
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also do not use electrical tape to connect the hot and neutrals to the fixture. use wire nuts. properly sized.
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:38 PM   #8
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I'm using the terminal screws for the connection. The electrical tape was just to cover any metal after the wire was connected to the terminal so the bare copper ground wouldn't end up touching anything and tripping the circuit when I pushed everything back into the box.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman
Also acts to trip the breaker in the event of a line to ground fault. So you are not going to have that protection, but lights are somewhat peculiar, in that they can be sold with no grounding connection, unlike most anything else electrical.
You make it sound as if there should be a ground on the plastic fixtures
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:28 PM   #10
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I just cut the ground off near the insulation. There there's no way it can touch anything.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption
I just cut the ground off near the insulation. There there's no way it can touch anything.
What if it's a bare ground?? Just leave it in the box and it should be fine, the only times I have problems is with the pancake boxes.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:37 PM   #12
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Yeah, I just shoved it into the back of the box. I can't imagine it will touch anything.
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