Connect four wire appliance to three wire outlet.


Old 12-28-05, 08:32 AM
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Question Connect four wire appliance to three wire outlet.

I have a four wire stove top that I need to connect to a outlet that has only three wires. My house was built in 1956 but I think the electrical system was updated because the panel has breakers and there is a wire running from the meter to two spikes in the ground. How do I connect this appliance? Thanks.
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Old 12-28-05, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: CA
Posts: 2,041
This is possibly the most frequently asked question, so a search will bring lots of results. But to summarize: MOST ( not necessarily ALL ) stoves may connected either with a 3 wire or 4 wire cord. The installation instructions for the stove will have clear instructions on how to connect the 3 wire cord and what to do with the chassis ground. If necessary, contact your appliance manufacturer......most will have instruction manuals available online.
Old 12-28-05, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: port chester n y
Posts: 2,117
You must first identify the type of cable that terminates in the outlet-box. IF the cable is either an Armored metallic cable, or a non-metallic cable with 3 insulated conductors and a bare Grounding-conductor, then the Green Equiptment Grounding Condutor in the appliance lead connects to either the metallic suface of the outlet box for Armored Cable, or to the bare Grounding-condutor for a non-metallic cable.

I suggests you investigate this, and "submit a report" on what you have determined.

Good Luck, & Learn & Enjoy from the Experience!!!!!!!!!
Old 12-28-05, 09:38 AM
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Wow, now I'm really lost. The three cables coming from the outlet are one red one white and one black. Does that help?
Old 12-28-05, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
From the 1940s until 1996, in an effort to save wire (metal for the war?), stoves circuits were wired with only three wires. This meant that one wire needed to serve as both neutral and ground. This isn't the safest thing in the world, but it's not too dangerous because not much on a stove used the neutral. In 1996, the code-making committee decided to end this compromise and require four wires, so that stoves could have a separate neutral and ground. This meant that the chassis of the stove was no longer connected to a current-carrying conductor. This is clearly good.

However, like all electrical codes, they are not retroactive. The vast majority of homes in this country were built before 1996, so they typically only have three wires running to the stove. Code allows you to continue to use this, but newer stoves are wired in such a manner to allow connection in either pre-1996 homes or post-1996 homes. The installation instructions for these stoves cover both cases.

Do you have the installation instructions for your stove?

What PATTBAA has asked is not about the wires. We know that there are only three. But what he wants to know is what is around the wires. Is it a metal jacket (either rigid or flexible), or is it some kind of plastic jacket?
Old 12-28-05, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: port chester n y
Posts: 2,117
The CABLE could either be a metallic cable which encloses 3 insulated conductors ( "wires") , terminating in a metallic outlet-box, or a non-metallic cable with 3 insulated conductors and a bare Grounding-conductor.

So please try to determine, if possible, the type of CABLE that encloses the individual conductors, and the type of outlet-box.If necessary, check at the panel from where the cable extends to the applaice conection-point. I presume you can identify a metallic outlet-box.

Good Luck!!!
Old 12-29-05, 06:30 PM
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Red face

First thanks for all your help. The outlet box is metallic and the three wires coming from it is copper enclosed in plastic. An electrician told me to connect the two whites (neutrals) together and the green ground to the metallic box but the directions state to connect the two neutrals and the ground together and then connect them to the metallic box. The electrician said if I do that I would get some back flow on the neutral and the metallic box. Thanks again.

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