Outdoor electrical outlet


Old 09-08-16, 07:08 PM
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Outdoor electrical outlet

Hello All,

I am new to this forum, and looking for a little bit of direction with an outdoor electrical outlet. I just purchased this home. The outdoor electrical outlet in question was already there. There are three wires in the conduit (the conduit appears not be to metal). I am looking to charge my Chevrolet Volt with it, which pulls ~8-15 amps when charging.

The outlet was very old, and I replaced with a new GFCI receptacle. My car would not charge, and I used an electrical tester to discover that the grounding wire in the conduit must be bad, or an outlet upstream is bad. The wiring is very hard to get to because of the design of the house.

The outlet is directly below the power meter from the electrical company. The side of the meter is currently used as a ground by the cable company's box. Can I also use this bracket to ground the outlet right below it?

Thanks for your help in advance!
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Old 09-08-16, 07:44 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

The ground wire is ONLY there as a safe way to carry a short circuit to ground. It does not have anything to do with the normal operation of the receptacle.

The power to the receptacle is carried on white/neutral and black/hot.

What are you using for an electrical tester ? A non contact pen is useless here.
You need to use an actual meter or voltage tester to test from white to black.

A basic test meter is all you need. They're avaiable from places like the Depot and Lowes for under $15.

Commercial Electric Analogue Multimeter-M1015B - The Home Depot
Old 09-08-16, 08:14 PM
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An analog multimeter because of its low impedance will be less likely to give you false reading than a digital multimeter.
Old 09-09-16, 09:02 AM
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Thank you for your help. I will provide some more background on the issue. I have both a GFCI Receptacle Tester and a digital multimeter. The digital multimeter is showing the correct voltage when testing from white to black. When testing from black to ground/green, the reading goes down to about ~40V. I am able to plug things like a lamp, etc. into the outlet and it works fine. Because my car charger checks for ground, it will not let me charge it. As a test, I ran a wire from the outlet ground/green screw to the power meter, and tried my car charger. It worked perfectly. Also, the digital multimeter no longer showed a drop in voltage from black to green. Can I make a permanent ground from the green screw to the side of the power meter?

Thanks again!
Old 09-09-16, 09:18 AM
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Your ground needs to come from the panel. You cannot ground to the meter.
Old 09-10-16, 07:38 AM
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Thanks again for your help. I will ensure that the ground comes from the electrical panel in the basement.
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