Odd Hot-Neutral Reverse after Ground.

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Dr.Guacamol, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Dr.Guacamol

    Dr.Guacamol New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California, USA
    Hi.
    I've been digging around and have not yet seen anybody write about a predicament I've been having. Please forgive me if I've missed some posts out there.

    The issue is a hot-neutral reverse reading on old, non-grounded nob and tube where the outlet was now replaced and grounded to an additional outlet on a newer line that is correct.

    The story;
    Someone I know had one outlet with THREE power strips pluggled into it (TWELVE items plugged in [mostly lights and copiers]) and the outlet crackling.

    So I replaced the outlet and one-gang to a two-gang intending to use another circuit to feed an additional outlet on new romex.
    The old wiring had one clothed hot and neutral pair and two separated clothed wired attached to the outlet.
    (This was the one day my voltmeter died and I had no extra batteries. Otherwise, I would have determined which was line and which was load.) However, I hooked it up to the new outlet exactly has it was before, except this time I made a leg to ground the new outlet with the ground from the other additional outlet on the other newer circuit.

    Before, the old outlet was not hot-neutral reverse. Hooked up exactly the same, but now with a ground, it is.
    ???

    As a side note, the user flips off the power strips each night. So, the devices aren't getting 24/7 the non-switched hot neutral inside the devices I've been reading about ( if true. But still not good).

    Anybody have experience with this?

    I'd really appreciate any expertise about this.

    And thanks to this site. Where are the others?
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,532
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Don't need batteries to check for voltage on any meter.

    Just how did you install this let to ground. Start at the green screw on the receptacle and go backwards to the other end of this leg you installed
  3. Dr.Guacamol

    Dr.Guacamol New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California, USA
    Ground issues

    Hi. Thanks for your response!

    First, as an info note, the digital tester would not activate -at all- without working batteries. I was not talking about testing ohms. I did try it without batteries, anyway. Yes, it did not work.

    Second, I made a jumper from the problem new outlet ground to the second new outlet ground (and then connected to the romex ground.
    (Im assuming that when you said; "install this let to ground", I'm guessing you meant "leg".)

    Normally, I've seen ground tails go from each outlet to a shared connector. And normally I've done the same. But how is this different electrically? How would it be different than the use of grounding to the metal outlet box together?

    I appreciate your time or anybody else's on this bizarre situation (to me).
  4. Dr.Guacamol

    Dr.Guacamol New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California, USA
    Again, the real issue is the reading "hot-neutral reverse" for an outlet that used to be fine, but is not now with an additional ground from an additional circuit's and outlet ground (where said additional outlet is fine and correct).
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,244
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Your description of the problem defies all logic. The hot and neutrals being reversed has nothing to do with the ground. Either your method of testing is faulty- or, you think you installed the hot and neutral exactly like it was and you are mistaken- or, the original receptacle was wired reversed before you ever touched it.
  6. Dr.Guacamol

    Dr.Guacamol New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California, USA
    Interesting.
    Thank you.
    So jwelectric's comments have no pertinence?
  7. Dr.Guacamol

    Dr.Guacamol New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California, USA
    True, I likely could have been mistaken on start as my tester is 3-prong and the old outlet was 2-prong. (So i didn't test, yet that does not confirm prior reversal either way).
    Opinions on appliance wear-and tear if so? (Other sites have debate about this.)
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,932
    Location:
    New England
    Reversing hot and neutral could end up being lethal under certain circumstances. One reason lamps now have polarized plugs is so that the hot is on the center terminal, where with a non-polarized plug, you had a 50-50 chance it was hot. Then, happen to be touching the thing just right (i.e., the bulb's outer edge of the base) and touching something grounded could get you very dead.
  9. kreemoweet

    kreemoweet New Member

    Messages:
    371
    Location:
    Seattle. WA
    Please explain why, if you have a box fed with modern, grounded NM cable, you would even think to connect the old knob-and-tube circuit wires?
    The old wiring should be capped off and left unconnected.
  10. Dr.Guacamol

    Dr.Guacamol New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California, USA
    Hi.
    As stated in original post, the client had 12 things plugged into 3 powerstrips plugged into that 1 old outlet and circuit. He needed the usable line. I added an additional line on another circuit (that already fed some other stuff, too) to split the power demand.

    Thanks for posts.
  11. jacobsond

    jacobsond DIY Junior Member

    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    ND
    Im trying to wrap my head around your explanation and having trouble. Why cant you loose what I would call a bootleg ground use the 2 wires from the old circuit using a GFCI outlet labeled no equipment ground. Making sure the polarity is correct on the 2 wire circuit of course. Im not and electrician,but wont that meet code? Loosing the knob and tube of course would be the best solution.
  12. Dr.Guacamol

    Dr.Guacamol New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    California, USA
    best solution. thanks. I will look for GFCI that does not need a ground.
  13. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,244
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    To clarify- the NEC allows you to install a regular GFCI receptacle in a box that does not have an existing ground. The GFCI protection works without it.
    The only requirement in doing so it that you physically label the receptacle/cover plate "no equipment ground". This is commonly done in homes that have no installed equipment ground conductors and the receptacles need to be replaced.
  14. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,522
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Don't need batteries to check for voltage on any meter.

    Now you tell me, and here I always thought my "blank screen" meant I couldn't use the meter until I installed a new battery. How did you determine that the original outlet was "properly wired", because when it was installed it did not have "polarized" slots and could have be connected either way, regardless of "screw color"?
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  15. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    .......Hmmm, me too Duh! what about you Don, did you know that? My old analog needle VOM does not need batteries, but my digital Flukes?:rolleyes:

    Yeah OK, I am in a bad mood
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