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USB electrical shock

Bad wiring by electrician, he wired the neutral and the ground together to avoid running a leg back to the box.

When I connected the computer to the printer, bang! The printer cirucit board had a burn spot and the computer went off and doesn't restart. There is no sign of something burnt on the computer.

I have a Dell E210882 motherboard in the computer, USB ports build in. Is there a fuse somewhere? Can I just change the motherboard?

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Please get the electric rechecked, now if the power supply sounds like it running (Fan Noise ?), any lights on the PC ? no, check the fuse in the mains lead plug leading to the PC,

there is a fuse inside in the power supply but I must advise you to take great care as the capacitors can hold a charge that can cause death for at a couple of days,


Posted on Jun 16, 2009


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Do I need to take the bonding strap off of my dryer if I have a three prong receptacle and plug? I have two hots and a ground hooked up for the neutral. The neutral is cut off.

wrong wrong wrong
using the ground wire as a neutral makes everything connected to the ground , including garden taps live and has resulted in many electrocutions and jail terms for the people doing the connection
active wire (power wires or hot wires for a non trades person) go to the switch or electrical equipment , through the unit and completes the circuit back through the neutral wire
the ground wire is only for short circuits and prevents electrocution in the event of that dead short
get in an electrician and do the job safely
unfortunately , DIY electricians seldom hurt themselves
It is always some one else that gets the shock

Sep 12, 2017 | Dryers

1 Answer

What is the difference between a ground wire and a neutral wire?

Here are links to help, then add a comment:
Always stand on dry boards and never directly on ground when testing live electricity. Do no lean into or touch anything made of metal. Tape wood sticks to tester leads.
240Volt circuit does not use neutral wire. Neutral is used to complete circuit for 120Volt... and that is only function for neutral.
Neutral and ground wires connect back to same wire coming in from the electric company transformer. So in a sense, neutral and ground are same.
However both neutral and ground wires connect to separate busbars inside the breaker box. And then both those busbars are bonded together or joined together ... so ground and neutral become the same thing inside breaker box.
For national electric code, the ground wire runs to each fixture, outlet, motor, appliance etc. The ground wire is essential for safety.
Absolutely the ground wire must connect to motor in case the motor housing becomes electrified after the motor overheats etc.
The ground wire carries no voltage and is safe to touch ... but don't test that theory in event there is funky off-code wiring on premises.
Please add a comment May 2013 for followup, and if you need specific wiring diagram... attach image of your situation

If you need further help, I’m available over the phone at

May 28, 2013 | Electrical Supplies

1 Answer

How to wire a cooper Quadra Mark MH 277 Volt light

Quadra mark is commercial metal halide light
It appears the 208-240 480V model is different from 120, 277 or 347V model.
You cannot connect 277Volt light to 240Volt
These are two different things.
Commercial 277V has 1 hot leg and a neutral (very similar to residential 120V which also has 1 hot leg and neutral)
While residential 240V has 2 hot legs

Check rating label on light and see if it shows 120V in addition to 277V
If rating plate shows 120V, then it should work.

Residential 240Volt has 2 hot legs, each Hot leg measures 120V to ground
So you can use one Hot leg from the 240Volt breaker, and use ground wire to make 120Volt circuit.
Using ground wire to complete circuit in this manner is completely out of code and not recommended by any professional electrician. But it will work.

If you need further help, I’m available over the phone at

Apr 16, 2013 | Electrical Supplies

1 Answer

Trying to install a Woods 59018 with older copper wiring - My house only has one black wire (not the two black wires it calls for).

1) It is safe, but not code.
The timer uses such a tiny amount of power that the installation is safe, and the line is still protected by circuit breaker.

2) In the main breaker box, the neutral wires and ground wires are bonded together and both connect to ground wire leading out to pole and down into the ground.

3) By code a ground wire cannot be used as a neutral, even though both are connected together in the main box.
This is so electrician can work on ground wires while ASSUMING they do not complete a circuit.
NO ELECTRICIAN should assume that, since the purpose of ground wires is to ground stray current.

If you need further help, I’m available over the phone at

Dec 30, 2012 | Woods InWall 7 Day Digital Programmable...

2 Answers

Put in a new breaker box, wiring to furnace is not right. There are 3 wires coming from the furnace, a red wire, a brown wire and a white wire. The white wire is the ground, the red wire is attached to a...

I don't know where you live, so I don't know if there is a color code used like there is here, in Massachusetts. Typically, white is neutral. Neutral and ground are not really interchangeable terms to electricians - but often are to homeowners. Read this until you understand:

1) If you have two separate bars in your panel, and one has only white and / or gray insulated wires connected and the other has only bare or green or green and yellow striped insulated wires connected, you must connect the white wire to the bar with the white / gray wires. Do NOT connect it to the bar with bare / green insulated wires.

2) If you have one or more bars in the panel, and both have a mixture of white / gray and bare / green wires, and the bars are screwed directly into the panel back - or have a jumper connected between them, you should be able to connect the white wire to any available terminal on the bar(s).

Colored insulated wire (not green, white or gray) usually means it is not neutral or ground. In an electrical panel, most times if it is not neutral or ground, it is "hot". If there are two colored (hot) wires and a single white or gray (neutral), the white goes to neutral bar and the hot wires go on adjacent circuit breaker terminals - in this case, a 2 pole circuit breaker.

Your gas or oil fired furnace likely operates on 120 volts (hence the white wire for neutral), while the AC compressor and blower is probably 240 volts (hence the need for the second colored wire). You may need to connect these two hots to one "2 pole circuit breaker" for the AC to work.


A typical 2 pole circuit breaker has two handles tied together - and internal connections.

Look at the wires to get an idea as two what size breaker they need to be connect to - #8 copper 40 amps, #10 copper 30 amps, #12 copper to 20 amps and finally, #14 copper to 15 amps. If you are unsure, and my background on the way things should normally be do not jog your memory, STOP. call an electrician and have it connected correctly and safely.

Jun 06, 2011 | Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

My new dryer came with a 4 prong plug. Due to the age and construction of the house It was recommended to buy a 3 prong dryer pigtail and "run a jumper " in the back of the dryer for the...

This is where the difference between 'ground' and 'neutral' comes in. 'Ground' runs only to ground, while 'neutral' may be tied to ground but it must be tied to the power company's neutral line. Using one for the other is a common cause of 'stray voltage'.

If you look on the back of the machine where the other wires come out you should find a green screw attached to the cabinet. Running a jumper wire from this screw to a proper ground will make the machine safe to touch under conditions such as failure of insulation in the machine, leaking water, you without your rubber boots, especially all of them together.

The box you're plugging into should be properly grounded. If it is, then just hook your jumper to it- you will likely fine another green screw for grounding inside that box.


Jan 05, 2011 | Whirlpool W10182829RB 3Wire Electric Dryer...

1 Answer

For an intermatic EJ341 spring wound timer, there are two black wires that are connected to two black wires from the wall outlet. If looking at the back of the timer (not at the dial knob), which wire...

Switch has 2 wire > one of these wires is Hot and it connects to Timer black wire > the other wire goes to Load and connects to Timer red wire.

If you get these two wires reversed, timer will not run, so switch them. You know timer is running when dial on front of timer rotates with passing time. You can test for Hot wire by taking out switch, separate wires, turn on power, test each wire to bare ground, tester lights up with Hot wire.

Timer white wire goes Neutral. This wire is necessary to run clock inside timer. Locate Neutral wire inside box >> it is usually two or more white wires twisted together and pushed to back of box. If you do not have a Neutral wire, connect Timer white wire to bare ground wire ... until you can hire electrician to run additional wire to box.

Oct 05, 2010 | Hardware & Accessories

1 Answer

Trying to install digital timer 15265. No instructions with unit. We are in a 1929 house. There are two black wires only. Which color do we add the white wire to? We assume the green is a grouding...

Your switch has two wires. Hot wire from breaker box, and wire going to Load.

GE timer has 3 wires plus a green ground wire >>> it has extra wire because tiny clock inside timer needs power just like alarm clock ... so here we go

Hot wire connects to Timer black wire
Wire going to Load connects to Timer red wire
If you get these reversed, the timer will not work, so switch them or read testing steps below.

Timer white wire connects to Neutral ... which is usually 2 white wires twisted together and pushed to back of box. IF your box does not have a neutral, connect timer white wire to bare ground wire ... until you can have electrician add another line into box.

Suppose you want to test your wires to see which is which:
Remove wires from switch
Separate wires
Use ordinary tester, tape leads to wood sticks to keep hands away from electricity
Turn on power
Test each wire to bare ground
Tester lights up on Hot wire

Now test for Neutral wire
Test Hot wire to other wires in box
Tester lights up on Neutral

Oct 05, 2010 | Garden

1 Answer

Can you please provide instructions for connecting Utilitech Self-Adjusting Wall Timer- #0192773. My electrical box has only 3 wires 2 black and 1 green ground.

What you are describing is a wall electrical box for a "Wwitch Loop". What this means is that the power source (Hot and Neutral) go to the light first. What the electrician has done is run a wire from the light in which one wire is the hot leg from the source and the other one is the "switched leg" which runs back to the light as controled on-off power to it. The only legitimate way to use this timer would be to replace the wire from the wall switch to the light with a 3 conductor cable (3 current carrying wires and a bare ground or green wire). This would allow you to bring the hot and neutral along with the controlled "switched leg" as this time requires a constant source of power for the timer itself. Don't be tempted to let someone tell you to use the ground wire as a neutral. It is not safe to do that.

Sep 30, 2010 | Intermatic Inc. ST01C Digital In-Wall...

1 Answer

Mini Split Heat Pump wiring

Check to make sure it is single phase, should be stamped on unit. Is this wiring coming from what use to be there?

If you replaced the old unit with this one, you can trace the wires back to the breaker box. If you are Electrically inclined or you know someone who is.
Remove the panel and trace the nuetral and ground wire to the bus termination.

Some States require or use to require that the nuetral
and ground wire be tied together. 230 is 230v ,2hot and a ground.

My guess is you tie nuetral and ground together or
I wouldnt use white wire and I would disconnect
from both ends.

If you are uneasy about electricity, talk to a certified
electrician. Contact City Electrical Inspector. Dont get hurt!

Jan 21, 2010 | Heating & Cooling

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