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Author Topic: Found another open-ground outlet with swapped hot and neutral  (Read 3061 times)

Mike Sokol

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Found another open-ground outlet with swapped hot and neutral
« on: September 07, 2014, 11:19:58 am »

I just did a sound training class in Lima Ohio yesterday, and just as I normally do, ran a quick test of the wall outlets I was going to plug my sound system into using a NCVT. The outlet nearest my gear rack showed the hot and neutral were swapped. And a quick check with an Amprobe INSP-3 showed the ground was open. My spider sense was tingling because this was a 100-year old church and there were new "grounded" outlets on one side of the room, while the other side still had the old 2-bangers. The pastor told me one of the DIY-guy church members had "upgraded" to "grounded" outlets on that wall without running any new wiring. Hmmmmmm.... He was only one step away from creating an RPBG if someone insisted that he connect the ground screw to "something", which is this case would have been the now hot neutral.  Yikes!!!!

I told him they needed to get a licensed electrician in to check all the "upgraded" outlets before they kill someone.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2014, 12:07:49 pm by Mike Sokol »
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Found another open-ground outlet with swapped hot and neutral
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2014, 11:26:59 am »

I just did a sound training class in Lima Ohio yesterday, and just as I normally do, did a quick test of the wall outlets I was going to plug my sound system into using a NCVT. The outlet nearest my gear rack showed the hot and neutral were swapped. And a quick check with an Amprobe INSP-3 showed the ground was open. My spider sense was tingling because this was a 100-year old church and there were new "grounded" outlets on one side of the room, while the other side still had the old 2-bangers. The pastor told me of the DIY-guy church members had "upgraded" to "grounded" outlets on that wall without running any new wiring. Hmmmmmm.... He was only one step away from creating an RPBG if someone insisted that he connect the ground screw to "something", which is this case would have been the now hot neutral.  Yikes!!!!

I told him they needed to get a licensed electrician in to check all the "upgraded" outlets before they kill someone.

Nothing quite like the hosting institution providing you with the first object lesson of the seminar.  With your demonstration rig, you could ask the pastor to hold the microphone and "feel the spirit" until the mic cable melted down...

Or ask if he'd like to take a dip in the baptismal while holding the mic...

And ask if anyone in the class is Red Cross CPR and AED trained... and if the pastor had life insurance.... and... and... and.

Not to take a big topic swerve, BUT... being a cheapazz mo'fo' is not NOT GOOD STEWARDSHIP.  The idea of stewardship is that you're spending the Almighty's Money.  I have it on good authority that potentially killing folks and burning down the House does not please him/her.  /swerve
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Frank DeWitt

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Re: Found another open-ground outlet with swapped hot and neutral
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2014, 02:12:52 pm »

Nothing quite like the hosting institution providing you with the first object lesson of the seminar.  With your demonstration rig, you could ask the pastor to hold the microphone and "feel the spirit" until the mic cable melted down...

Or ask if he'd like to take a dip in the baptismal while holding the mic...

Snip

There is a big difference in how things like this should be handled based on intent.  Willful wrong doing gets goth feet.  Ignorance and mistakes should get treated as Mike handled it.  You blew it, get it fixed before someone is killed. Not, you deserve to be hurt.

BTW Volunteers can and often do very good high quality work.  I live in a house that was designed and built by ME. It works just fine.  I attend a church that was built with 100% volunteer labor from the footings to the shingles.  It works just fine.  I (another volunteer) have checked our wiring (including the baptismal wiring) and it is safe and correct.

BTW we have policies in place that go way beyond code to make sure there will never be a electrical problem with our baptismal  No one made us do it and no paid expert trained us. we just did it.

Frank
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Found another open-ground outlet with swapped hot and neutral
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2014, 03:07:04 pm »

During a recent remodeling project at our church, the staff member doing most of the work pulled a receptacle out of its box and left it hanging.  As long as it was a barricaded "construction area" that was OK-but then they cleaned up he area and opened it up even though the work wasn't yet finished-and the receptacle was left hanging.  I knew it was just an oversight, so I stopped by one evening to fix it before we had children around for a service.  What I found was one step worse than what Mike found-and I find it way too often.  It was wired reverse polarity, not RPBG, but the ground wire that was present in the romex was cut off and not connected at all-how much time and effort does it take to hook up that wire?
 
The bottom line is far too often people don't just stop to think -or think that bad things only happen to the other guy.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Found another open-ground outlet with swapped hot and neutral
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2014, 01:34:29 am »

... the ground wire that was present in the romex was cut off and not connected at all...

But the ground wire "never" carries any current, so connecting it properly is optional, right?  ;)

(Whenever I wire something up, I always do the grounding connections first. Grounding connections are made to the same standard of workmanship as any other connections. Then I do the neutrals. Hot wires are last. When installing a wire nut, I tug on each wire to make sure it doesn't pull out. If it pulls out, I didn't do it right and I must redo it.)
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Stop confusing the issue with facts and logic!

Mike Sokol

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Re: Found another open-ground outlet with swapped hot and neutral
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2014, 01:41:56 am »

I've also found a few hotels with beat-up and worn-out outlets that tested with open-grounds, reversed-polarity, etc... Yes, I have an NCVT and 3-light tester in my backpack.  ;D

I'm not in a position to kick butt with the problem at hotels since I'm  generally only staying overnight, but I always leave a note with the front desk about the nature of the problem and hope that the maintenance guy will fix it. I've not really looked for RPBG outlets in hotels, but if I did find one I would probably follow-up with the local inspector if I could find him. It's hard to do when I'm 1,000 miles from home on a seminar tour, but I would give it a shot anyways.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 06:40:15 am by Mike Sokol »
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Jeff Bankston

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Re: Found another open-ground outlet with swapped hot and neutral
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2014, 03:49:59 am »

anyone can go to a store and buy and install a receptical in their property and if they dont know what they are doing the above reversed wires and other stuff is what you get.
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Found another open-ground outlet with swapped hot and neutral
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2014, 09:21:12 am »

But the ground wire "never" carries any current, so connecting it properly is optional, right?  ;)

The real mindset is that ground wires cause "hum", so if you cut the grounds you cut the hum. This sort of works sometimes, but will also allow hot-chassis conditions to occur which is REALLY dangerous. NEVER cut a ground pin off a power cord to stop ground-loop hum. As discussed many times on this forum, there are lots of better and safer ways to stop hum.

I did a Tune-Up at a large church a few years ago where EVERY quad-box on their extension cords had the ground pins broken off at the plugs. They told me they did it to stop hum. Oh yes, there was a brass rail running around the stage which they warned me not to touch while playing an instrument or holding a mic since I would get a "really good shock". I wrote that up as a specific warning in my follow-up report, but who knows if they actually corrected anything. Once I'm back home 1,000 miles away it's difficult to kick their butts.
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Mike Sokol
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Re: Found another open-ground outlet with swapped hot and neutral
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2014, 09:21:12 am »


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