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Old 03-09-2017, 10:19 PM   #1
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Default 1950 bx

Replacing devices in a 1950's home. I know the BX does not count as a ground and installing a GFI with a non grounded label is a good idea. Should I connect the ground terminal to the box anyway?
Have you had any luck knocking the metal boxes out of the way and replacing them with plastic old work boxes? I can fish new NM to some.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by smiley64 View Post
Replacing devices in a 1950's home. I know the BX does not count as a ground and installing a GFI with a non grounded label is a good idea. Should I connect the ground terminal to the box anyway?
Have you had any luck knocking the metal boxes out of the way and replacing them with plastic old work boxes? I can fish new NM to some.
Thanks in advance.
BX that we used was acceptable as a EGC (Equipment Grounding Conductor)


As for removing boxes in todays age of battery sawzalls a simple task, cut the brackets.

I seldom had problems removing boxes with a screw driver and hammer, starting in the middle of the box drive the screw down and pry the box off then the top and repeat until the box we lose.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:29 PM   #3
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BX (type AC) cable properly installed in a metal box provides NEC-approved grounding. Just make sure the method used for grounding the installed device is correct.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:32 PM   #4
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Really old metallic boxes used in residential construction were often attached by way of nails hammered through the interior of the box into the stud.

Cutting such nails with a Sawzall is a snap... just work between the stud and the box.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:51 PM   #5
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Replacing devices in a 1950's home. I know the BX does not count as a ground and installing a GFI with a non grounded label is a good idea. Should I connect the ground terminal to the box anyway?

Have you had any luck knocking the metal boxes out of the way and replacing them with plastic old work boxes? I can fish new NM to some.

Thanks in advance.


Does the BX have a bonding wire in it? If it don't I would not rely on it for an EGC. That was the worst wiring method ever.


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Old 03-09-2017, 11:15 PM   #6
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You gonna have to upgrade all the breakers to afi/gfi too?
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:46 AM   #7
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I do this a lot.

The BX you are talking about most likely doesn't have the bonding wiring and can't be used as an EGC "officially". However, it usually does work perfectly fine. So YES, install the outlets as if it were grounded. It can't hurt. You are still going to GFCI protect them for code compliance.

Removing the old boxes could be easy, but a lot of times they are plastered in. And that old plaster with wood lath will have to be cut in order to install a new plastic box which is always larger than metal boxes. Sometimes cutting the plaster goes OK, other times it just breaks off and becomes a mess that needs patching.

I often try to bring a new romex to the existing metal box by removing a KO from the inside of the box, inserting a small magnet thru the KO into the wall, and then dropping a chain down from the attic to mate with the magnet. If you are coming up from the basement, do it the opposite way, drop the chain from the bottom KO in the box and grab it with a magnet thru the floor from the basement.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:47 AM   #8
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I do this a lot.

The BX you are talking about most likely doesn't have the bonding wiring and can't be used as an EGC "officially". However, it usually does work perfectly fine. So YES, install the outlets as if it were grounded. It can't hurt. You are still going to GFCI protect them for code compliance.

Removing the old boxes could be easy, but a lot of times they are plastered in. And that old plaster with wood lath will have to be cut in order to install a new plastic box which is always larger than metal boxes. Sometimes cutting the plaster goes OK, other times it just breaks off and becomes a mess that needs patching.

I often try to bring a new romex to the existing metal box by removing a KO from the inside of the box, inserting a small magnet thru the KO into the wall, and then dropping a chain down from the attic to mate with the magnet. If you are coming up from the basement, do it the opposite way, drop the chain from the bottom KO in the box and grab it with a magnet thru the floor from the basement.
I love using chain for fishing, that's an old school trick.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:35 PM   #9
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I love using chain for fishing, that's an old school trick.
Yeah, I have posted my handgun case of tricks before:

1950 bx-img_0492.jpg

3 different size chains for different purposes.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:52 PM   #10
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Yeah, I have posted my handgun case of tricks before:

Attachment 101849

3 different size chains for different purposes.
I've used bead chain and sash chain, never tried jack chain.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:54 PM   #11
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I've used bead chain and sash chain, never tried jack chain.
The bead chain is nice because it slinkies down thru obstructions really well, and will often find the hole and fall thru it.

Sash chain is nice because it's strong and durable.

The jackchain came with the Magnapull. I use it when I need something a little smaller than the sash chain but stronger than the bead chain.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:59 PM   #12
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The bead chain is nice because it slinkies down thru obstructions really well, and will often find the hole and fall thru it.

Sash chain is nice because it's strong and durable.

The jackchain came with the Magnapull. I use it when I need something a little smaller than the sash chain but stronger than the bead chain.
I have two sizes of bead chain and agree, it will find it's way around obstructions very easily. Smooth edges are a plus as well.
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