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    lumartinez's Avatar
    lumartinez Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Dec 2, 2007, 11:24 AM
    Danger? Can you use the black wire as the ground
    This sounds crazy to me. My house was built in 1955, it originally had 2 wire electric and didn't have grounds on the outlets, I purchased this house about 4 years ago and the previous owners had an electrician put a new panel outside. It looks like they redid the upstair outlets because they all had 3 prong outlets, and the basement still had the old 2 prong outlets.
    I just purchased a new TV. I plugged in the 3 prong TV into the 3 prong surge protector and then plugged the surge protector into the 3 prong outlet on the wall, later I moved my coaxial cable box, when I removed the coaxial I got shocked, I tried to put the coaxial back onto the CATV box and got shocked and nearly fused together the coaxial cable to the CATV box. I had the CATV company come out and they said it was a power issue.
    When I took apart the electric outlets I found that they didn't run new 3 wire to the outlets, but instead had a piggy tail wire from the black wire to the ground lug (the green screw). I checked all of the outlets and sure enough all of the upstairs outlets are wired like this, Can this be done? It seems to me that now when I complete the circuit it will make the ground hot as well, and that is the reason I got shocked with the coaxial wire was the backfeed of power to the ground. Is this true?
    Do I need to run new #12 3 wire to all of my outlets to get a good ground? Or is my old #12 2 wire acceptable to use even though there is no ground, and if so does a surge protector even work without a good ground?
    Thank you,
    tkrussell's Avatar
    tkrussell Posts: 9,659, Reputation: 725
    Uber Member

    Dec 2, 2007, 04:46 PM
    No, a surge protector will not work without a ground.

    Yes, all new cable with a green or bare ground is the absolute best method.

    No, what has been done is not allowed. My guess is the black wire is actually the neutral and is being used to "ground" the outlets.

    Perfect example of what happens when a ground uses a neutral as an attempt to safety ground devices.

    A neutral is current carrying for the load it serves, and this practice sends current throughout the system, and crazy things can happen.
    Stratmando's Avatar
    Stratmando Posts: 11,188, Reputation: 508
    Uber Member

    Dec 3, 2007, 07:32 AM
    A little strange they tied black to ground, they may have made live anything that should normall be at ground potential. Dangerous. I think they wanted to tie the neutral(white) to ground?
    Sounds like the work of one of my competetors.

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