How to change 2 prong outlet into 3 prong?

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Old 01-14-08, 11:59 PM
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How to change 2 prong outlet into 3 prong?

I don't think my outlet is grounded even though I checked and there's a copper wire. Whenever I plug in my 3 prong adapter and the top is not screwed in, my surge protector says wiring fault.

IIRC there were 2 black wires and 2 white wires. I think only 1 of each was hooked to the screws. The copper wire is screwed to the side I think. They lead to a metal hole at the top with some paper wrapped around them. The box is plastic.

What's a good and easy way to get a grounded 3 prong outlet? This will only be used for a computer and I read that GFI is not good with it. Also 15 or 20 amp receptacle? Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 01-15-08, 05:08 AM
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First, let me suggest some DIY books available at home/hardware stores in residential wiring. That will acquaint you with the hows and whys of wiring. 2 blacks(hot)/whites(neutral) in a box is usually(but not always, one set could be a switch loop) a feed thru circuit, and they must connected together, either at the outlet or pigtailed. Black/black under brass screws, , and white/white under silver screws. The bare copper wire goes under the green screw. The bares wires of each cable must be connected to each other by twisting with a wire nut, then to the outlet. If there are no bare ground wires, you have no ground(old wiring), and cannot install a grounding outlet. Using an inexpensive tester from home/hardware stores will tell you if it connected correctly.

Hope this helps.
 
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Old 01-15-08, 05:22 AM
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It sounds to me like your receptacle is grounded. Why are you using an adapter? A two to three prong adapter works to provide a ground by connecting the ground hole to the metal screw that holds the cover in place. If the receptacle is grounded and if the adapter is properly attached to the cover plate screw then a ground is provided. If you have such a setup, then there is no reason that a three prong recetpacle cannot be installed.

I suggest that you (with the power off) open and pull out the receptacle. Then turn the power back on and very carefully use a two wire tester and test for a good ground by making a connection between the copper ground wire and the black hot wire. If the receptacle is properly grounded, this light should be just as bright as when you measure between the black and white wires.
 
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Old 01-15-08, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by icedim View Post
What's a good and easy way to get a grounded 3 prong outlet?
You go to the store and buy one.

This will only be used for a computer and I read that GFI is not good with it. Also 15 or 20 amp receptacle? Thanks in advance.
Don't need a GFCI and 15 amp is enough. You will want a good surge protector.
 
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Old 01-15-08, 08:20 AM
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IIRC there were 2 black wires and 2 white wires. I think only 1 of each was hooked to the screws. The copper wire is screwed to the side I think. They lead to a metal hole at the top with some paper wrapped around them. The box is plastic.
In order to have a grounded receptacle, the system must have a ground. It is usually a bare copper wire in the sheathing with the black and white wires. The other option , which you dont have , is attatched to a METAL box.

Just because the wiring is copper doesnt mean its grounded.

Electrical codes may dictate that all outlets must be grounded. At bare minimum the wiring to your Computer outlet must be upgraded to include a ground wire, But possibly,making this change could leave you open to Interpretation by the electrical code inspector , as to the rest of the house requiring the same upgrade.
 
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Old 01-15-08, 08:09 PM
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i bought 2 testers and .

when i plug the red and black one into both outlets the light goes on. i never tried to plug it into the outlet with the 3 prong adapter plugged in.

when i plugged the 3 prong tester into the adapter (3rd hole at top, metal tab at the top screwed in, short slit on left), the tester is backwards i assume (sticker with descriptions is not visible) the first 2 lights are on. which either means hot/neutral reverse if it's backwards or grounded if not backwards.

when the adapter was plugged in with 3rd hole at bottom, metal tab at top screwed in, large slit on left, the stickers with descriptions is visible and showed hot/neutral reverse.

whenever the adapter wasn't screwed in either way i plugged it, it said open ground.

i also looked at the wiring/receptacle again. there are 4 screws (2 on left, 2 on right) and 4 wires (2 black hooked to screws on left, 2 white hooked to screws on the right). i hope that helps with solving this. any other details needed, just ask.
 
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Old 01-15-08, 08:38 PM
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Take that two wire tester and put one prong in the short , smaller opening and the other in the hole in the middle. If the light comes on you have a grounded outlet.
 
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Old 01-16-08, 05:23 AM
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You don't need any more details. You have been given all you need.

Throw away the adapter, and do not attempt to use the three prong tester on a two prong receptacle. Testing with the adapter upside down (when compared to the receptacle) is meaningless. Testing with the ground tap not connected is meaningless.

You already stated that you have a ground wire.

Use a two wire tester and check for a ground. Put one lead on the hot wire and the other lead on the ground wire. If you have a proper ground, it will light.
 
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