Go Back  DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Electrical, AC & DC. Electronic Equipment and Computers > Electrical - AC & DC
Reload this Page >

Trying to install 3-prong outlet where there was a 2-prong.

Trying to install 3-prong outlet where there was a 2-prong.

Reply

  #1  
Old 02-22-11, 04:37 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Trying to install 3-prong outlet where there was a 2-prong.

I'm not so good at this stuff, the first time I've tried, so I'm really confused.

Okay, here's my problem. There appears to be ground wires in the box, but I have no idea how I would get them out, what with the way they are stuck in there. Here is a picture, it's not the best, but it's hard taking a picture into such a dark hole!



There are two ground wires, it appears, one coming from each pair of black/white wire. They are then fed through the back of the box in that hole on the right, if you can see that in the image (it's hard, I know!).

I'm guessing that they're wrapped around something, because I they don't want to budge. I also have been entirely unsuccessful in pulling out the box itself. It just won't move.

I'm being vague because I don't know how to explain it, exactly, but what can I do to ensure a ground if I install a 3-prong receptacle?

 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 02-22-11, 06:20 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
I see something similar in my area, except they are usually around the clamp. I would drill and tap a hole 10/32?? for a ground screw per wire. Install a self-grounding receptacle, and Arc fault circut breaker.
 
  #3  
Old 02-22-11, 07:23 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: KS
Posts: 1,896
If I had to guess I'd say the ground wires are wrapped around the threads of the clamp screw on the outside of the box (code violation). Pull the clamp screw all the way out, then use a pair of needlenose pliers (preferably vice-grip style if you have them) to grab both of the wires and give them a yank. You might be able to pull them free that way. Then use a 'Term-a-nut' wirenut that has the pre-terminated ground wire sticking out, and also add another pigtail to a ground clip to properly ground the box.

Cost you about $5 versus $50 for an AFCI, and it's LEGAL.

Ground clip (you insert the wire then use a screwdriver to jam it onto the side of the box):


"Term-a-nut":
 
  #4  
Old 02-23-11, 07:43 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,288
Be careful with the undersized ground wires, you can break them easily by pulling or twisting too hard.
 
  #5  
Old 02-23-11, 12:42 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 5
What if I can't get them out? I still have to try a bit, but they did seem awfully stubborn.

Also, I'm a little confused about JerseyMatt's instructions. I pretty much literally know nothing about electrical anything. I almost get it, but I'm still a bit confused.
 
  #6  
Old 02-23-11, 01:02 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: usa
Posts: 243
My guess is that if you remove that screw holding the wire clamp at the top the ground wire will be more easily dealt with. Looks like that is where they go. I would think that if you bought a simple grounding pigtail and ground clips you could make this work. Unless one of the guys here would have an opjection you may be able to even use the screw to anchor the pigtail AND the olod grounds. The small hole at the bottom of your pic should be the right size for a grounding screw. They will tap the hole for you, and the pigtail would reach the new receptacle so you can be safe. Also, don't skimp on the receptacle. Looks like a tight fit, as is normal with the older boxes being well below what is really needed for all those wires. I would get a back fed receptacle, such as a Leviton BR15 and those have clamps in the back to make it a bit easier than fighting those side screws. The side screws give great contact, but in a retrofit will be tougher. Don't get the 39 or 49 cent cheapos(Leviton 5320 oe equal) as they are weak anyway and the back "quick" wire feature those have are pitiful and only work on 14 guage wire.
 
  #7  
Old 02-23-11, 01:27 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
The afci is only because tou are modifying the circut and who knows what lurks in the walls, although probably nothing. Also, I do not like ground clips. seem flimsy.
 
  #8  
Old 02-23-11, 02:07 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 5
So if I wanted to use a ground screw, let me get this straight before I do this. I would have to add two new lengths of wire, correct? One to go to the receptacle and one that would be attached to the screw, and then all four pigtailed together? Or alternatively one new length of wire and one of those term-a-nut things?

Thanks, I'm pretty electricity-dumb.
 
  #9  
Old 02-23-11, 07:14 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Bah, I'm having a really hard time with these ground wires. You guys were correct about them being around that screw, as I can move them more than originally, but they seem to be knotted or something. I have no idea how to get them through and I don't want to pull too hard.
 
  #10  
Old 02-23-11, 07:46 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: KS
Posts: 1,896
If it comes down to it, pull as much as you can through and cut it there. As long as you have at least an inch of wire from each cable, you can get a wirenut on it and bond it properly using pigtails to the receptacle and a clip. (FYI, the clips I showed you (by Ideal) work just fine. They are not flimsy.) Whatever you do, DO NOT use the clamp screw as a ground point. That is a code violation.

And again, an AFCI is not necessary nor required, since simply replacing a device does not constitute modification of the circuit (FWIU this changes in 2011) - you have not moved, extended, or added to it. The safety benefits of AFCI's have been challenged for years. Despite what the lobbyists claim, there is little evidence that they prevent fires. They are more of a nuisance and an industry moneymaker than anything else.
 

Last edited by JerseyMatt; 02-23-11 at 08:02 PM.
  #11  
Old 02-23-11, 08:04 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Hey, I think I've got it!

The 3-LED tester at least shows that everything is in order. I suppose at some point I should probably get someone to put in a new box and possibly wiring, but for the moment it seems to be okay. Thanks, guys!

This is my first electrical project, so even though it wasn't big stuff it feels nice.
 
  #12  
Old 02-23-11, 10:14 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,633
Glad you got it. Thanks for letting us know.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'