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House wiring How to ground an outlet when fitting cable has only two wires and is in plastic receptacle? House was build in the 60's

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Generally if there is no ground wire, then grounding is not possible without running new wire to box.

Sometimes, the ground wire is cut back so wire appears to have no ground wire. Then if wire can be pulled out further, the ground wire can be discovered.
Sometimes a nearby outlet or switch box will have ground wire that can be brought to box with no ground.

As general rule with 120Volt outlet, the neutral wire is bonded back to same busbar as ground wire, and then both ground outdoors to copper ground rod.

Do not wire electric motor without ground wire.
Generally other light household appliances such as lamp, or tv, or electric drill have polarized plug with no ground prong, and are double-insulated and there is little risk or need for a grounded plug.

Posted on Oct 31, 2012

  • Jorge Perea Oct 31, 2012

    Thank you! With this info I think I'll be able to solve this problem.



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Run 1 1/2" to 2" gray pvc conduit.

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SOURCE: Cooper 274W combination single poe switch and grounded receptacle

Black to gold, wht to silver grnd to green

Posted on Apr 21, 2009

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SOURCE: Installing a Leviton 5225 switch with outlet.

A switch is wired using the hot wires only, the black wire. It is simply a break in the line so that when the switch is off no power flows and when the switch is on the power does flow.

You are correct that the middle outlet would have two black wires and two white wires.

If you want to tap into that middle outlet and run power up the wall I suggest you look into some wiremold products. Go to their website, or any home depot and check it out. Get back if you think I can help you further. I am an electrician.

Here is a link that may help you.

Posted on Jun 02, 2009

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SOURCE: wiring a leviton 5625-W switch receptacle combination

You cannot replace the switch with a switch/receptacle combo because there is no neutral wire. The black and white that you see are both used as hot wires. One is the Line and the other is the Load.

You have to install another 2 wire cable or replace the existing with a 3-wire cable. A 3-wire cable has a black, red, and white, plus the bare ground wire

Posted on Sep 02, 2009

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SOURCE: How do I install a Pass & Seymour Nightlight/

The wires that you taped up are most likely the wires that feed that outlet and the outlet that isn't working anymore in the bathroom. The proper way to fix your problem would be to do one of the following:
Turn off all electrical power to that circuit. If you are unsure, turn the whole panel off. The inconvenience of resetting your household clocks isn't worth your life.

1) If the screws on your new outlet have spaces for two wires, reattach the disconnected wires under the same screws as the ones feeding the new outlet.
2) Cut yourself a 8" piece of black, white and green or bare copper wire. Disconnect the wires feeding the new outlet. Twist all three wires together, color to color and twist a wirenut on each connection. You should have the three black wires twisted together, the white wires twisted together and the green or bare wires twisted together. Now take the 8" wires and reconnect them to the outlet. Black going to the bronze screw, white going to the silver screw, and green or bare going to the green screw.

Posted on Dec 01, 2009

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Can I run 110 /14 2 from a light switch down to power a 110 plug receptacle

Hi Don,

Shut the power off.

Inspect the switch.

If the switch has two cables (2 black & 2 white wires) which would indicate that power enters the switch on one cable and supplies the light through the switch on the other cable, you can supply a new outlet so that it can be on all the time or controlled by the switch. Either way, you'll need to run a 14/2 cable from the new outlet to the existing switch box. Connect the bare ground wire to all the other bare ground wires by adding it to the bundle in a wirenut; and connect the white wire (neutral) to the other two whites under a wirenut.

Power back on.

Using a meter or tester; carefully determine which of the black wires on the switch is "on" all time and which is turned "on and off" by the switch. Indicate which is which on the wire with tape, or other marker.

Power off.

Remove the wire you want to supply the outlet.

Cut a short (8" or so) length of insulated (black, red or blue in color) #14 copper wire & strip 3/4" off each end. Combine one end of this short wire, the original switch wire, and the black from new 14/2 cable together under a wirenut..

Connect the other end of the short black wire to the switch and put everything back together again.

Power back on.

The outlet will either be on all the time - or turn on and off by the position of the switch. You're done!

I hope this helps - if it was not the answer you were expecting, please describe how you want the switch, light & new outlet to work in greater detail.

Apr 15, 2012 | Electrical Supplies

1 Answer

Hi i have connected all the cables up correctly & have it all working except i have some sort of interferance coming through.i have a contant crackling & on & off buzzing sound,sound like...

First thing: Make sure ALL and I do mean ALL of your interconnected equipment is POWERED from the SAME receptacle. Powering different parts from different receptacles in a building will surely get ground bounce buzz and ALSO subject the equipment to hazards of circuit damage.
The audio connecting cables should be BALANCED lines where possible... either XLR or TRS cables. Problems like you are having are common when CONSUMER grade equipment is mixed with PROFESSIONAL equipment. Anyway, get all the stuff powered from the same receptacle and get back to me if you still have the problem. Note you may have to run three wire extension cords if devices are separated a bit... the pro's have to do that to avoid noise. All devices should have three wire (grounding) cords and/or grounding wires connecting chassis...

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2 Answers

My Sylvania - ground fault 15 amp breaker (32740) is tripping with minutes of reseting. It is for 3 washrooms & hallway & is 30 years old .....does or can it loose its life span? What is the cost...

A circuit breaker can go bad, but usually not in the way that you describe. That's not to say that it can't happen, but just not typical. GTE Sylvania breakers were once popular - I installed quite a few GTE / Sylvania electrical panels in homes in the late 80's. You may have trouble finding replacements; do not put an breaker that "fits" into the panel, unless the breaker is designed for use in the panel you have.

The first thing to do is determine the source of the problem. The breaker will trip, but not indicate if it was the result of a heavy electrical load or a ground fault condition. A 15 amp circuit breaker is designed to carry up to 12 amps continuously. The greater the load, the more quickly it will trip. it may carry a 14.5 amp load for several minutes to an hour before tripping, and a 20 amp load may be carried a second or two. GFI breakers are designed to carry 5 thousandths (.005) of an amp (or 5 milliamps) to ground, or the 12+ amps to neutral before they trip.

The way I would attack the problem is to install a new GFI outlet in front of the old wiring, by "inserting it" between the panel and the other plugs and lights, switches, etc on that circuit. The GFI outlet will provide the same GFI protection that the circuit breaker provided at a fraction of the cost.

Turn off the old GFI breaker, and remove it completely. Install a new, standard (non-GFI) single pole 15 amp circuit breaker in its place. Completely remove from the panel the cable that the old GFI breaker fed. Buy a new electrical outlet box (surface or flush mount as desired) that is large enough and deep enough for a GFI plug and 2 cables (if surface mount, use a 4" square deep box and appropriate cover - or if flush mounting use a deep plastic / fiber single gang box). It will be installed in a place close to the panel, but where the old cable will be able to reach inside. Bring the old cable removed from the panel into the new box. Run a new cable that has the same number and size wires from the panel into the new box, too. Connect the circuit neutral and circuit ground to the neutral and ground bars in the panel (they are probably the same bar) and the hot wire to the circuit breaker. make sure that the circuit breaker is OFF. Twist the two ground wires together and combine an 8 inch length of bare or green insulated wire with them in a wirenut.

Next, wire a new GFI plug in the new box. Connect the green wire from the wirenut to the green terminal of the GFI outlet.

Connect the plug's LINE terminals to the neutral and hot wires in the cable that you ran from the panel to the outlet box.

Now, connect the GFI plug's LOAD terminals to the neutral and hot wires in the cable that you removed from the panel and reinstalled into the new outlet box.

Secure the GFI outlet into the box and install the cover. Cover the electrical panel.

Power up and test. if the GFI trips, there's a ground fault in the circuit. If the circuit breaker trips, the circuit is overloaded.

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1 Answer

Which color gets hooked up to what on a ceiling fan

For residential wiring, some basic rules given in the NEC are:
  • Phase wire in a circuit may be black, red, orange (high leg delta) insulated wire, sometimes other colors, but never green, gray, or white (whether these are solid colors or stripes). Specific exceptions apply, such as a cable running to a switch and back (known as a traveler) where the white wire will be the hot wire feeding that switch. Another is for a cable used to feed an outlet for 250VAC 15 or 20 amp appliances that do not need a neutral, there the white is hot (but should be identified as being hot, usually with black tape inside junction boxes).
  • The neutral wire is identified by gray or white insulated wire, perhaps with stripes.
  • Grounding wire of circuit may be bare or identified insulated wire of green or having green stripes. Note that all metallic systems in a building are to be bonded to the building grounding system, such as water, natural gas, HVAC piping, and others.
  • Larger wires are furnished only in black; these may be properly identified with suitable paint or tape.
  • All wiring in a circuit except for the leads that are part of a device or fixture must be the same gauge. Note that different size wires may be used in the same raceway so long as they are all insulated for the maximum voltage of any of these circuits.
  • The Code gives rules for calculating circuit loading.
  • Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection is required on receptacles in wet locations. This includes all small appliance circuits in a kitchen, receptacles in a crawl space, basements, bathrooms and a receptacle for the laundry room, as well as outdoor circuits within easy reach of the ground. However, they are not required for refrigerators because unattended disconnection could cause spoilage of food, nor for garbage disposals. Instead, for refrigerators and other semi-permanent appliances in basements and wet areas, use a one-outlet non-GFCI dedicated receptacle. Two-wire outlets having no grounding conductor may be protected by an upstream gfci and must be labelled "no grounding". Most GFCI receptacles allow the connection and have GFCI protection for down-stream connected receptacles. Receptacles protected in this manner should be labeled "GFCI protected".
  • Most circuits have the metallic components interconnected with a grounding wire connected to the third, round prong of a plug, and to metal boxes and appliance chassis.
  • Furnaces, water heaters, heat pumps, central air conditioning units and stoves must be on dedicated circuits
  • The code provides rules for sizing electrical boxes for the number of wires and wiring devices in the box.
The foregoing is just a brief overview and must not be used as a substitute for the actual National Electrical Code.

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1 Answer

I have a 5,500 watt generator that uses a NEMA L14-30 amp, 250 volt 4 wire connection cable. The house I recently purchased has a 50 amp cutler hammer transfer box with a Leviton 5378 50 Amp, 250 Volt,...

The best solution is probably to change the 3-wire receptacle to a 4-wire unit. The 4-wire unit has a ground connection whereas the 3-wire unit has a tie to neutral, but no direct connection to ground. Hope this helps!

Dec 27, 2010 | Garden

2 Answers

How do I run from a 100 amp main panel to a 60 amp subpanel, 125 from my house to the garage

See 60 Amp sub-panel image

Above image shows drawing of 60Amp sub-panel located next to main panel. Drawing shows #6 wire... 125' distance to garage calls for #4 wire. I ran #4 to my barn and have no problems.

Give thought to how many new breakers you want at garage.
See photo of subpanel that holds three 240V breakers

Using drawing as a guide. Replace existing 240Volt breaker with new 60 Amp breaker. Two hot wires connect to new 60 Amp breaker. Neutral connects to neutral busbar.

More space: You can free up space in main breaker box using a tandem breaker. Or by doubling up 2 lightly used 120V circuits onto one breaker. Do not double-up on 240 Breakers

Conduit: You want PVC conduit large enough to fit three #4 wires. Bigger conduit is easier to pull wires ... and maybe later ethernet wire, or alarm wire etc.

Ground wire: You can put a ground rod at garage and run #6 bare copper between sub-panel neutral-busbar and ground rod. Attach ground wire firmly with grounding clamp.

I want you to check with local electrical supply for exact code in your area concerning conduit requirements, grounding, and wire size. Tighten all lugs very tight against wire.

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2 Answers

When we measure from hot to neutral we get between 40 & 50 Volts

this is "phantom voltage." To be sure of this you can try shorting the hot with the ground. Should not short. The voltage isn't dangerous. It often happens when two hot wires are in the same cable. For example a 12/3 romex with a shared neutral. When one hot wire is turned off and the other is still energized, voltage can leak from one wire to the other, causing a reading of 50 or so volts on the non powered wire.

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1 Answer

I want to change a two prong outlet to a three prong.

Depending on the age of the house and its location, wiring codes can vary widely. Many older homes used a product called "Romex", which is essentially a cable with two wires in it that gets stapled to the studs and joists of a house as it is routed through the structure. This is still allowed in many parts of the country (USA).

Again, depending on the age and location, some homes have "conduit", which is a metallic piping into which the house wiring is installed. This is typical of newer homes, but not always required depending on the part of the country in which the house resides.

The issue you may face if you change the receptacles from a two prong to a three prong type is that the old insulation may crack or even crumble in your hands when you remove the old two prong receptacles. Also, these system were not always grounded very well and could pose a risk. Some equipment without a third wire that serves as a ground will not function properly and can be risky to use if it has a metal case or housing.

Take a look at the main electric service panel in the house and read the labeling on the panel. It's possible that this older home only has 60 amp service instead of the standard 100 amp. In today's world where many if not most things use electricity, 60 amp service may not meet your needs.

If you are not familiar or comfortable with this type of work, you may want to consider having a licensed electrician assess the home and make recommendations.

Mar 27, 2009 | Kitchen Appliances - Others

1 Answer

Going from gas to electric how do i install it

you will require a 40 amp breaker and 8/3 wire with ground which totals 4 wires and requires a 4 wire outlet.

make sure you purchase a receptacle that fits the plug on your range.

please mark this answer as a fixya! thanks

Mar 06, 2009 | Ovens

3 Answers


the old outlet or switch do not have "ground" per-say, if the junction box is steel and you have romax (steel jacket) cable. the casing is the ground.
you need a special cutter to cut the jacket, once you do that, you will see a steel wire inside, that is your ground.

if you have the present day 30wire cable (plastic jacket) then the green wire is the ground. it should be grounded on both end, on the switch or outlet and in the breaker box.

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