electrical test results

Old 12-30-02, 12:46 PM
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Question electrical test results

I am interested in buying an older home. I was concerned about electrical problems so I bought a "GB Electrical" tester to check the outlets; however I don't know what the test results show:

1. "open ground"
2. "open neutral"
3. "open hot"
4. "hot/ground reverse"
5. "hot/neutral reverse"

If anyone has the time for a brief explanation, and the severity of these problems please let me know. Happy New Year!!

Old 12-30-02, 06:44 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
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A recepticle has 3 wires, hot, neutral, and ground. They are all suposed to connect to specific screws on an outlet. Your tester is telling which ones are connected wrong or not connected.
Old 12-30-02, 08:44 PM
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outlet/polarity tester results


Each of these conditions could present a hazard, and needs to be fixed.

I would say that "hot/neutral reverse" and "hot/ground reverse" are the most dangerous. But under certain circumstances, the wiring faults could present a real life-safety hazard (like electrocution or fire).

A book on home wiring, like those published by Black&Decker or Sunset, is a good start if you want to understand your household electrical system.

One of the things to keep in mind with the plug-in polarity checkers is that, like any tester, they have limitations. For instance, they may indicate a normal outlet when in fact the grounding connection is very poor quality. It may "test" as OK, but isn't good enough to clear a fault. So a good test does not mean that the wiring is OK.

Another thing with old houses is that many people will do electrical work but have little knowledge of the subject. I've seen some inadequate and very dangerous wiring work in old houses. Without more spohisticated (and $$) testing equipment, you can't be sure that the wiring is good. So if you see a lot of incorrectly wired outlets, you have to consider the possibility that there are other unsafe parts of the wiring that you can't see. A new resident will put new, different stresses on the electrical system, sometimes with tragic results like fire.

Best of luck and a happy new year to you too!

Old 12-31-02, 09:50 AM
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The "basic" 110 volt Branch-Circuit (BC)is comprised of 2 insulated circuit current-conductors and an Equiptment Grounding Conductor which conducts current only when a "Ground-fault" occurs.One of the 2 insulated BC current- conductors is connected to the Neutral service-conductor at the service-panel and this connection point at the service is connected to Ground ,usualy the water-service pipe,via a Grounding conductor.This is the insulated Neutral GROUNDED circuit-conductor of the 110 volt Branch-Circuit and is also the IDENTIFIED BC current-conductor and it's color is ALWAYS White, and NO OTHER color.The other insulated BC current -conductor connects to a circuit-breaker at the service and it's color is Black.The Equiptment Grounding Conductor (EGC)is exposed metal such as the armor of metal-covered cables or the bare copper conductor of a Non-metallic cable.At the service-panel the EGC connects to the Grounded Neutral connection point along with the White/Neutral/Grounded BC current-conductor which means that at any point along the Branch-Circuit there is two 110 volt readings---110 volts Black-to- White and 110 volts Black-to-EGC.-------"open Ground"----110 volts Black-to White but Zero volts Black-to-EGC---------"Open Neutral (White)"---110 volts Black-to EGC but Zero volts Black-to-White--------"open hot (Black)"----Zero volts across all points-------"hot-Neutral reverse"-----110 volts White-to-EGC, Zero volts Black-to-EGC.----"hot/Ground reverse"-----for this to occur, at some point the bare,exposed EGC of a cable would have to connect to the Black circuit wire and the Black of the same cable would be connected to Ground.

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