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Old 04-23-2010, 07:18 PM   #1
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Reverse Polarity


Does reverse polarity matter on 2 wire outlets that have no ground. If so how do you check this?
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:55 PM   #2
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Most equipment will still work but there is a slight loss of safety. The most common example is an ordinary light fixture. The socket shell should be connected to neutral since it is more easily touched compared with the center contact when the bulb is changed. Anything that does not work (such as a touch pad activated light fixture) needed a ground, not just correct polarity.

For plugs both of whose prongs are equally sized there is no difference.

The larger slot is for the neutral.

Testing requires a known ground. For 2 prong receptacles you could try using the screw that holds the cover plate on as ground but this is not guaranteed. You can run a long wire from a known ground, which might be a (heating) radiator, for test purposes or for grounding electronic equipment. For the latter such an informal ground wire may be connected to the equipment chassis or to the ground lug of a 3 to 2 prong plug adapter but may not be strung into the outlet box and screwed to the receptacle yoke (mounting strip) unless the other end runs down to the panel or ground electrode.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-23-2010 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 04-23-2010, 08:28 PM   #3
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Reverse Polarity


Thanks Alan. That makes sense.
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Old 04-24-2010, 07:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Testing requires a known ground. For 2 prong receptacles you could try using the screw that holds the cover plate on as ground but this is not guaranteed. You can run a long wire from a known ground, which might be a (heating) radiator, for test purposes or for grounding electronic equipment. For the latter such an informal ground wire may be connected to the equipment chassis or to the ground lug of a 3 to 2 prong plug adapter but may not be strung into the outlet box and screwed to the receptacle yoke (mounting strip) unless the other end runs down to the panel or ground electrode.
Or you could use a light stick (noncontact voltage tester). It will only light up in the hot slot.
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:53 AM   #5
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Reverse Polarity


Thanks Silk. Ill have to try that.
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