"Open Ground" Help


Old 10-10-07, 08:19 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
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"Open Ground" Help

My mother's house is currently in renovation with all kinds of projects going on at the same time. I decided I could handle putting in all new receptacles and switches throughout the house without much of a problem. I'm currently on the first room and everything had been fine until this last receptacle.

Based on what I know, this receptacle is considered an "end-of-run" receptacle with 14-2 standard wiring coming into the box. As far as I know, you generally just direct-connect each wire to the appropriate place (hot to brass, neutral to silver, ground to grounding screw) since this is the end of the circuit. After putting it in and thinking I was done, I came back around the room using a plug-in tester. As you can guess, every receptacle but this one was fine. This one claimed to have an open ground.

I thought it had to be wrong, so off to researching I went:

1. The outlet box is plastic and not metal, therefore, no pigtailing wires to ground it at the back of the box.

2. The ground end looked a little rough, so I snipped it shorter and put the better-looking wire in the ground screw terminal.

3. Three different sources claim what I thought was the correct wiring method in that it can simply go directly to the ground screw terminal on the receptacle.

I'm stumped and a little irritated that I can't figure it out, although I can only assume it has something to be with being an end-of-run receptacle. What am I doing wrong for this outlet not to be grounded?



P.S. All of the receptacles/switches being installed are brand new, but I will go ahead and try a new receptacle to see if perhaps that is the problem.
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Old 10-10-07, 08:29 PM
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I'm not an electrician, but it sounds like the ground wire is possibly damaged somewhere else along the line or not connected to a previous receptacle.

Look at all your outlets you put in on this circuit and make sure all the grounds are connected and wirenutted.
Old 10-10-07, 09:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
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As stated in another reply. You have some damage somewhere between your last plug and the one before it. OR it is not under the ground screw in the box OR no connected to the plug.

If it is possible... repull the wire between boxes. IF you have an open ground you may have damage hot and neutral wires as well. Screws can be a pain when putting up drywall.
Old 10-11-07, 05:29 AM
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You are looking in the wrong place. The problem is at the receptacle just before this one (electrically, not physically).
Old 10-11-07, 06:52 AM
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The problem is likely in the receptacle prior to this one along the wall. However it could be in a light fixture or switch box if the power source for this receptalce comes through one of them instead a receptacle along the wall.
Old 10-13-07, 12:04 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
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I very much appreciate the help so far, but unfortunately this is still a huge headache for me. It turns out the breaker for this room is also linked to another spare bedroom right next to it in the house (along with a wall outlet on the side of the hall that connects the 2 rooms), so today I went through and changed all of those receptacles and switches. So far, the same result, although this time two of the older outlets gave me a "Hot/Neutral Reversed" error before I replaced them.

After all of that, this end receptacle still says "Open Ground". So I said screw the tester and physically pulled out each receptacle to verify my work. Everything seemed fine. I then realized the other room had an open ground since we had never put a new lighting fixture in it, so I threw one up and tried again. Still nothing. I'm completely stumped at this point, although I'm hoping I've just overlooked something rather than something major be wrong.

Allow me to throw out this piece of information before my next batch of questions:

This particular receptacle is of great importance as it stands to be the power source for all of my nice electronic equipment (new TV, HD satellite receiver, gaming systems, etc.). Once the crew ripped out the drywall in this room, I ran speaker wire throughout the room, along with ethernet and coaxial cables to finally hide them all behind the walls. It just so happens that right after they put it back up and I tested out the new placement of my entertainment center, the satellite receiver started humming uncontrollably. The tech came out and eventually decided it had gotten fried at some point because the grounding blocks the original DISH installer put in were not waterproof, so he figured it surged at some point and my receiver got a little crispy. I'm going to assume that this outlet not being grounded did not help this situation.

With all of that said, here are my new questions:

1. What could I be missing?
2. Is there a way to go around and test each receptacle/switch to check if it is grounded (not using this plug-in tester)?
3. If all else fails, is there any way to simply manually ground this one outlet myself?

Again, any help you guys can provide is greatly appreciated.


Old 10-13-07, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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Find the first receptacle or junction box on the circuit and verify a ground there. Find the next receptacle or junction box on the circuit and verify a ground there. Continue until the end.

Somewhere you will find that the ground is missing. If you absolutely cannot determine the problem, then replace the cable between where you have ground and where you don't.

You should have run a new circuit for all your new equipment. You will most likely have trouble with too much on this circuit and trip the breaker, at least periodically.

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