Bootleg ground?

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-20-17, 07:07 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,591
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Bootleg ground?

I have a few circuits using the old 1950s cloth romex with no ground that I am trying to remedy. The original wiring had the neutral white conductor bonded to the ground screw on the metal box, yet the metal box has no continuity to the panel.

Here is one box I opened today and I am not sure what this is doing. This box has two switches for lights.



A closer image shows one splice for the hot conductors and one for the neutral conductors.



Yet in the bundle of neutral conductors, you can see one of the conductor runs into the mounting hole on the side of the metal box. I pulled on the conductor and it seems to be secured.



What is that for? Is it another way to bond the neutral conductor to the box?

I then opened three more switch boxes and saw a similar pattern, one neutral conductor going into the box mounting nail hole.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-20-17, 08:17 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 55,240
Received 599 Votes on 564 Posts
Your asking us what's going on ? Who wired that place ?
Was that maybe a school project ?

The neutral to box connection has to go.
 
  #3  
Old 10-21-17, 08:11 PM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 3,819
Received 44 Votes on 42 Posts
Undo the white splice, unhook the short wire that goes to the box mounting hole, and remake the splice without that wire. Then snip off that short white wire as close to the box as you can.

Up in ordinary 120 volt circuit outlet boxes throughout the house, neutral wires may not be connected to (bonded to) objects that are supposed to be grounded.

Now, if you really wanted to, you could string a separate ground wire from the receptacle (the green screw on its mounting strip) to the ground bar of the panel for its branch circuit, to a grounding electrode conductor, or to the ground splice (wire nut) of another outlet box that has up to date grounding.
 
  #4  
Old 10-22-17, 06:38 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,591
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
No not a school project LOL.

If you look at the pictures closely, this is original wiring back to the 50s. Those two splices are flexible rubber caps over a crimped copper connection with a red retainer ring. Under the cap the copper conductors were crimped inside a copper band. I don't think any of this has been touch since day one.

I am getting rid of all the neutral conductor grounding, that's part of the reason I am opening all these boxes to begin with.

In the last 10 or so boxes, I saw the solid copper neutral conductor bonded to metal box with a green ground screw. So I just disconnect that and redo the splices since I am protecting these circuits with a GFCI breaker or an upstream GFCI receptacle anyways.

But the next 3 boxes I opened, I see this with a short piece of conductor going through the side of the metal box. That's my real question. Does anyone know or seen this method of bonding a conductor to a box? I have to think this was done back then by a pro during new construction back in the 1950s right? I wanted to make sure this conductor is not running through that hole to somewhere else and serve a different purpose.

The real puzzle is, this bonding of the neutral conductors is ONLY being done at switch boxes. No such bonding at all at any of the receptacle boxes. That makes little sense. I don't think it was done way back then to fool cheap three light testers, there were no three light testers in the 1950s. These wiring hasn't been touched since if there were modifications the crimped connection would have been undone and replaced with modern day wire nuts.
 
  #5  
Old 10-22-17, 04:59 PM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 3,819
Received 44 Votes on 42 Posts
Revised idea. Snip off the white wire going to the box as close as possible to the cap splice, without disassembling the crimp ring inside.

Even if the white wire going out through a hole in the box went somewhere else, it should be disconnected from the neutral bundle/splice. It is liable to having its insulation cut by the sharp edge of the hole it is passing through and then make contact with the box.
 
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
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: