2-prong, 3-prong, adaptors, computers


  #1  
Old 02-19-04, 10:01 PM
KateTooLate
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Question 2-prong, 3-prong, adaptors, computers

Hello .... again. I used to be a member long time ago under the username "Bean" (posted about being attacked by yellowjackets that live in our walls), but it seems that's expired, so here I am again under my own name, Kate(TooLate, someone already had it).

I have a question that is very similar to the one asked in this thread. Just bought a brand-new computer system, and I'm living in an apt in an old Victorian with very few outlets. I have my old system plugged into a 2-prong outlet using one of those orange 3- into 2-prong adaptors with the ground clip attached to the outlet screw. There is a 3-prong power strip plugged into the adaptor. It's been working just fine like that for about 6 years.

I don't want to risk my new system, however, so I bought a CyberPower brand surge protector: 2800 Joules, 8 15-amp outlets, 6-ft power cord, many other bells & whistles (since we'll be switching from dialup to cable in a couple weeks, yay! and networking 2 computers).

So. Can I plug this 3-prong surge protector into the orange grounded adaptor and plug that into the same 2-prong outlet I've been using for the last several years (in other words, just as I am now, only replace the power strip with the surge protector)? And plug my new networked system into the surge protector?

I have 3 other options:

1) Move massive amounts of furniture and shelving and equipment and pretty much rearrange the entire room (no small feat since this is also my art studio) to put the new system on the other wall where there is a 3-prong outlet;

2) But a big honkin' heavy-duty 3-prong extension cord and run it across the room to the 3-prong outlet;

3) Have an electrician in to rewire the outlet I'm using now.

I vote for either option #2 (big extension cord), or option #0 (the orange adaptor I'm already using -- only maybe upgrade to a new one ). Any advice is greatly appreciated. I don't want to risk my new system, and I am itching to get it up and running!

Thanks so much in advance. Oh, and if option #2 is the way to go, any recommendations on a particular type or brand of cord would be welcome.
 
  #2  
Old 02-19-04, 10:32 PM
hotarc
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
The 2-prong to 3-prong adapter is only effective if the screw holding it on is actually grounded. The easiest way to find out would be to plug in one of those $8 receptacle testers from Home Depot and see what is says. If you shows the outlet is grounded, then you can safely use the adapter.

The most foolproof, but also the most dangerous, (need power on while testing), way to check it is to pull the receptacle out of the box and test for voltage between the hot wire going to the receptacle, and the outlet box itself. If the box is grounded, then you could just install a new 3 hole receptacle and connect a ground wire between the green screw on the receptacle and the metal box.

If it is not grounded, then using the adapter does not help much. Basically just allows you to install a grounded plug where only 2 holes exist, but does not provide any path to ground which is what the computer needs.

So if that outlet is not grounded, your only safe alternative is to use the 3-hole receptacle on the other wall. Of course you should check it first for the presence of a ground. Often times people just replace 2-hole receptacles where no ground exists with a 3-hole receptacle.

If that receptacle is in fact grounded, then the ideal solution would be to move your computer over to it. If you must use an extension cord, then use a heavy extension cord, such as a 14/3 or 12/3 orange or yellow outdoor-rated, and run it so it's not subject to any kind of damage. However, extension cords are only for temporary use, so it would only be acceptable to use while you are waiting for a properly-grounded receptacle to be installed.

On a final note, if this is an apartment, you are most likely not allowed to do any of your own wiring. So either you or the landlord would need to hire a licensed electrician to perform any repairs or upgrades.
 
  #3  
Old 02-19-04, 11:02 PM
KateTooLate
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
The most foolproof, but also the most dangerous, (need power on while testing), way to check it is to pull the receptacle out of the box and test for voltage between the hot wire going to the receptacle, and the outlet box itself.
No thanks! "...test for voltage..." what, by licking it? I will get the receptacle tester tomorrow. I'll test all the outlets in the apt, get my $8 worth.

Thanks for the recommendation on the type of extension cord. Curious: why are extension cords only for temporary use?

You would likely have a conniption if you saw how this apt is set up: extension cords everywhere, running along the walls up near the ceilings, along the baseboards, etc., all been in use for the whole time I've been living here. To be honest, it was the less dangerous option to having my elderly landlord come over and "rewire" the house. He can no longer drive, thankfully, so if I do need an electrician, I can speak with the landlord's wife on the sly and see if she'll split the cost with me.

Thanks for your reply.
 
  #4  
Old 02-20-04, 05:44 AM
R
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,246
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Extension cords are only for temporary use for several reasons.

The wiring is generally smaller size than regular electrical wiring. This is okay if the load is small (like a lamp) but is troublesome if the load is large, such as a microwave oven.

The wiring is less rpotected than regular wiring. Regular wiring is run "protected". This is to say within walls, in conduit, along joists, etc. Extension cords are loose and subject to abuse.

I'm with hotarc, use an extension only temporarily. Use a good one with large wires and ultimately address the power issue.

By the way, your surge supressor may also function as an outlet tester. Some brands those with "bells and whistles" will indicate if the incoming power is wired correctly. And you do need it to be wired properly. Your surge supressor is more or less useless if the outlet isn't wired properly.
 
  #5  
Old 02-20-04, 11:24 AM
KateTooLate
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the explanation. I'll see if the surge protector has the checking abillity ... oho, I'm looking at it now and it has a Ground Indicator light (green) and a Surge Protection Indicator light (red). I guess I'm in business! I'll let you guys know how it turns out.

Thanks again.
 
  #6  
Old 02-20-04, 03:18 PM
P
Member
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: port chester n y
Posts: 1,983
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Perhaps replacing the 2-slot receptacle with a GFI receptacle would be an option. This is certainly is far better than a 3-prong to 2-prong cord-plug adapter.But this option may have to be verified by someone expert on computor power-supply arrangements because the system fuctions without an EGC.
 
  #7  
Old 02-20-04, 06:57 PM
KateTooLate
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Crapola! I went round plugging the surge protector into all the outlets, and NONE of the outlets in this house are grounded except two in the kitchen.

I'm going to talk to my brother and a couple other people tomorrow about fixing that probelm, at least in this room, get recommendations for an electrician.

Thanks so much to everyone for your help. I really appreciate it. You've helped keep me from potentially damaging my new system.
 
  #8  
Old 02-20-04, 07:04 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 17,733
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
Just don't let anybody tell you that you can ground this by running a wire to a plumbing pipe or to a grounding rod.
 
  #9  
Old 02-20-04, 07:13 PM
KateTooLate
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
No worries! I'll be talking to a few real electricians that my brother and others recommend. It's just a matter of who can I call who can get this done Monday cos my new computer and I are just sitting here staring at each other longingly!
 
  #10  
Old 02-21-04, 09:00 AM
R
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,246
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
A computer needs to be connected to a properly grounded outlet. Do not use a GFCI to provide a three prong plug for as computer.
 
  #11  
Old 02-29-04, 02:25 AM
KateTooLate
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
All done! New circuit for a grounded 3-prong outlet, and I am typing this from my new computer. The electrician was here for an hour and it was $125 -- not bad considering the estimate was $175.

Thans again for everyone's advice!
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: