Large office with ungrounded fixtures


Old 12-29-19, 07:15 AM
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Large office with ungrounded fixtures


so I am renting a large office space in NJ that used to be a school. The space is about 13k sq ft, with drop ceilings and there are fluorescent units throughout. I am slowly replacing all of the units with either pendant or led panels. What Iíve realized is that 98% of the wiring for these lights is run with bx cable that has the aluminum wire wrapped around the sheath. There is pretty much no ground wiring anywhere. Everything is above a drop ceiling and very few of the runs are hanging from the ceiling but instead resting on the drop ceiling. Itís an inherited nightmare. So I have a few questions, yesterday when I was swapping a few fluorescent units for led panels I noticed that the wiring closest to the panel did actually have a ground wire in the sheath but it stops at the second unit. So every unit after that is the ungrounded bx that I mentioned before. What should I do in this scenario? Do I need to continue running the ground to each unit independently or do I need to swap all of the wiring out for up to code AC or MC? Also in terms of the resting cables in the drop ceiling - I know itís against code but it was installed that way and I just found it like that. Do I notify the landlord?

Last edited by JEMHJCFC12; 12-29-19 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 12-29-19, 08:08 AM
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Since you are not the owner and this is a commercial property you should not be doing any work. This is typically reserved for a licensed contractor.

The AC cable sheath with the bond wire is the ground.
Old 12-29-19, 01:04 PM
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When there is a bare wire running the full length of the metal spiral flex conduit inside, but outside any paper wrapping inside, that makes the conduit an approved equipment grounding conductor. The spiral conduit needs to be properly attached to metal outlet boxes or junction boxes, etc. at both ends. The aforementioned bare wire does not have to come into each box and be wire nutted to other equipment grounding conductors.
Old 12-29-19, 01:21 PM
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You're right. I didnt consider that really because the landlord is so lax about everything. He is aware of all of the work that I have done and for more in depth alterations, I did hire an electrician. I've already swapped out about 13 units to 8 pendants and 6 led panels. The 8 pendants have been operational for about a year with no issue. I just put the LED panels in this week with the wiring pulled from the fluorescent units. I guess since the work is done, should I have an electrician come and make sure the work that I did do is up to code?


So if I'm understanding correctly, as long as the conduit is run through each box properly I don't need to physically ground them with a wire nut and then I would just have to be sure that the end of the line is grounded?
Old 12-29-19, 01:38 PM
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That type of metal clad cable has the loose bare aluminum wire in it. That is the ground. There is a certain way to prep that cable. Each connection should have a red insulator in it to keep the wire from being chafed on the steel jacket. Then the ground wire is wrapped around the spiral metal jacket. Then the wire is inserted into a BX or MC clamp.

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Old 12-29-19, 02:36 PM
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The small aluminum strip is called a bonding strip. The outside jacket, in conjunction with the boding strip, is the approved grounding method for that cable.
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