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Old 02-10-11, 04:06 PM
wwc
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I have a older home (50yrs old ) with two prong outlets and I had to change a couple outlets over to three prong to allow use of modern equipment like vacuum cleaners and my problem is that sometimes it will blow a breaker right away and other times not but sometimes it seems it must be plugged in one outlet and not the other one or it will for sure blow a breaker.

what is my problem.
 
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Old 02-10-11, 04:46 PM
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We have to assume you ran the appropriate 12-2 wg nm cable from the breaker to your new receptacles. Or did you use the exisiting 2 wire cable . If the latter, you will need to correct things before you use them. You need to identify the first receptacle in line from the breaker panel, replace it with a GFCI and protect all the down line receptacles from the "load" side of the GFCI. Then mark all the receptacles down line "GFCI protected" and "no equipment ground" with the stickers provided with the GFCI receptacle.
 
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Old 02-10-11, 04:59 PM
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You may be drawing too much power with all the items in use on that circuit and tripping the breaker. Motor startup loads can be several times what the running load is.

You also need to follow Larrys advice about the GFI. Your replacement of the two prong receptacles was not a code compliant change.
 
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Old 02-11-11, 04:03 AM
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no never added any wiring larry, didn't know how to and figured it would be no different than before with the two prong outlet or using an adapter plug.

can you explain it more for me on what needs to be done to correct the problem, will running new wire and GFI fix my blown breaker issue?
 
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Old 02-11-11, 05:22 AM
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Yes, installing a 3 pronged receptacle disguises the fact there is no equipment ground. Using a cheater plug makes it obvious. In order to be code compliant, find the first receptacle in line from the breaker. You may have to do some searching and breaker-turning-off, but generally the one closest to the breaker will be the one. Since you will be changing that one out anyway, once you have it pulled and the wires off of it, cap off the wires and turn the breaker back on. The other receptacles on that circuit should be dead. Then you will need to know which cable brings power to the receptacle. An inexpensive non contact detector will aid in finding the "hot" wire in the cable. You will connect the hot cable to the "line" side of the GFCI, and it is marked. Connect the other cable to the "load" side. After you install the GFCI, you will need to apply stickers to the cover plates down line. On all receptacles on that circuit including the GFCI, apply one that says "no equipment ground". On the others apply one that says "GFCI protected".
Let us know how it goes.
 
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Old 02-11-11, 06:29 AM
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Two items; one replacing a receptacle with a GFI will not necessarily fix the lack of power problem. It does make the use of three prong receptacles downstream of the GFI now a code approved method. The other is that the older boxes were smaller and the insulation was thicker and less flexible. You might not have enough space to fit the GFI device into the box. The installation of a GFI breaker is an option if your panel accepts them. You could also install a GFI device near the panel and splice into the cable that feeds the rooms.

Note: surge protective devices need a ground to operate properly.
 
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Old 02-11-11, 11:14 AM
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all my wall outlets are connected inline except the bathroom ( GFCI ) and kitchen because of remodeling that i had done .
if i put another GFCI at the first outlet and put stickers on all the others down line saying not not grounded ,what outlets are left for the stickers saying GFCI protected?

wouldn't the inline outlets now be gfci protected?

and when do i add new ground wires or is that not needed if i put the GFCI outlet in.
 
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Old 02-11-11, 07:37 PM
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All the receptacles should have "GFCI protected" and "no equipment ground" stickers. Obviously the GFCI wouldn't need one that said "GFCI protected", but you could put one on there if you wanted to.
If you ran all your downline receptacles from the "load" side of the GFCI, they would be protected by the GFCI.
If you want ground wires, you will need to rewire the circuit from beginning to end. The reason we are saying use a GFCI is for the use of grounded receptacles. You won't achieve a ground by using just a GFCI. So it depends.....do you want a proper ground (install new wiring), or do you want the convenience of using 3 wire receptacles (no ground).
 
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Old 02-11-11, 08:39 PM
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well i guess for now just having three hole outlets is fine ,can you explain what good a GFCI would give me installed this way.

Will this solve my blown breaker issue when using the vacuum cleaner?

thanks for the help.
 
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Old 02-11-11, 10:24 PM
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can you explain what good a GFCI would give me installed this way.
It adds a level of personal safety.

Will this solve my blown breaker issue when using the vacuum cleaner?
Probably not. You may just have too many things on the circuit the times the breaker trips. It could be a poor connection at one of the receptacles that increases a border line amp draw just enough to trip. It could be a breaker that is wearing out. It could even be the vacuum cleaner is going bad. Does the vac plug fit loosely in some of the receptacles?

Just a tech note the adapters are really only intended to be used with grounded boxes. That is what the tab on them is for. The cover screw goes thrugh the tab and allegedly grounds the ground prong. Metal boxes with NM cable are usually not grounded.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 02-11-11 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 02-12-11, 04:24 AM
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Note: It is possible that his home has grounded boxes. However it would take some experience to tell if this is true or not. Again, this will not do anything for your breaker tripping issue. This is too much current on that circuit.
 
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Old 02-12-11, 07:31 AM
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A dead front GFCI installed close to the main panel, as the first device on the circuit can some times be easier than trying to stuff a GFCI receptacle into an old device box. That being said I am not sure if this is code compliant in the U.S. but I am sure someone here can chime in on that.

 
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Old 02-12-11, 09:55 AM
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Yes it would be compliant Buzz. As long as the grounded (3 hole) receptacles are GFCI protected it would satisfy the code. Just like installing a GFCI breaker would be although your idea would be cheaper than a breaker.
 
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Old 02-12-11, 10:58 AM
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But the main problem may be an overloaded circuit. The OP should make a list of everything on the circuit and their name plate amperage then add them up. That includes lights and things ocassionally plugged in.
 
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Old 02-13-11, 04:59 PM
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Thanks Tolyn, I didn't want to make the assumption that it was the same as the CEC.
 
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