Electrician Talk banner
1 - 20 of 117 Posts

·
RIP 1959-2015
Joined
·
39,618 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://m.ecmweb.com/contractor/failures-outlet-testing-exposed

By Adam Olson, Studio Prime

http://m.ecmweb.com/contractor/failures-outlet-testing-exposed?page=3

About 10 years ago, I moved to a house five minutes from downtown Denver and decided to turn the upstairs into a recording studio. The house was more than 100 years old with 2-prong (ungrounded) electrical outlets. I was planning on replacing these old outlets with new grounded outlets myself, but in the end, felt it was best to have a licensed electrician do the work.





Figure. This wiring diagram shows the path of damaging fault current that occurred in a home studio.

The electrician I hired came in and rewired the house/studio. However, instead of running new conductors back to the service panel (difficult and expensive in a house of this age) or using GFCI outlets with floated grounds, he simply installed a bootleg ground on the ungrounded boxes using “grounded” outlets. After he tied the ground screw to the neutral wire on the new 3-prong outlets and checked them with a 3-light tester, he said everything was ready to go.

However, over the course of the next month or so, a series of strange events began to occur. The first event happened after I purchased a refurbished computer printer for a couple hundred dollars. The printer was placed in the kitchen and used the same electrical outlet as the refrigerator. I connected a long USB cable from the studio computer to the printer just out of convenience. However, when I plugged in the USB cable, I saw sparks where it plugged into the printer. Assuming there was something wrong with the printer, I returned it to the store for a warranty replacement.

A few weeks later a computer audio interface died after connecting it to a laptop computer. Because this particular model had a history of Firewire failures, it was fixed under warranty. Again, I assumed the Digi box was a problem rather than the electrical outlet, since everything else seemed to be working correctly.

Weeks passed, and other similar mysterious events happened as I interconnected signal wires between various pieces of audio gear (Figure). But the big incident that sent me into full-scale investigation occurred when I connected an audio cable from my new laptop to my audio mixing console, which was powered by a different wall outlet. Once again, sparks flew, and smoke poured out of my new $2,000 laptop!

I used a DMM on each of the outlets, and they tested as expected. Clearly, there was an issue between the outlets. So I ran an extension cord and checked the voltages between the outlets. The results surprised me. I was reading 120V between the grounds of the two different outlets. Flabbergasted, I went and purchased a 3-light tester, which showed all outlets were wired correctly. But after reading the packaging carefully, I found that it stated that the 3-light tester wouldn’t indicate failure if both the neutral and ground contacts were “hot.”

My father is a licensed appliance repairman, and he guided me through documentation and proper steps for
reimbursement for damage. As expected, when the electrician returned, he denied that it could have been anything he did, and informed me that he had tested the outlets properly with a 3-light outlet tester. However, after he saw the tests I ran — coupled with the warning on the packaging that stated 3-light testers don’t work for this type of wiring arrangement — he wasn’t too happy. At this point, I proposed that he rewire the outlets correctly and reimburse me for the damages. His first response was that he wasn’t going to do anymore wiring in my place at all. However, after going outside to call his boss, he returned about 20 minutes later and started to work again. This time, he ran a new dedicated 20A circuit to a new outlet, drilling a hole through the wall and brick to boot!

After much paperwork and time, all reimbursements were made, and my studio was back up and running. The final cost to the electrician was more than $6,000, which included reimbursement of my wrecked and damaged sound gear and computer.
 

·
RIP 1959-2015
Joined
·
39,618 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sounds like the guy hired some idiot off Craigslist. You get what you pay for.
We've got a lot of old houses here and you'd be amazed how many guys have done that...:no:

They tell people it's $800 to install all grounded outlets, when the job should be $8,000 to run new wires and ground them right.
 

·
RIP 1959-2015
Joined
·
39,618 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I find it hard to believe that someone would hack in outlets like that and not get paid in cash
I'm doing a job right now cleaning up a mess that a licensed guy made, his license is lapsed as of 7/31/2013 so he could not keep his permit for this job. The ripped out all the Sheetrock and the mess he made is exposed , he careless and incompetent and should have to apprentice for five years again..:no:
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,507 Posts
That's a BS story.

Any company that is honest enough to do it right the second time, would have done it right the first time.

Any sleazy company that would have done that wrong in the first place, wouldn't even come back when you call them.
 

·
RIP 1959-2015
Joined
·
39,618 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's a BS story.

Any company that is honest enough to do it right the second time, would have done it right the first time.

Any sleazy company that would have done that wrong in the first place, wouldn't even come back when you call them.
Read it again.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,507 Posts
NO WAY, i want my time back.

You bootlegged my time, I'm filling out the proper steps for reimbursement for damage. My uncles cousins dead grandfather was an appliance repairman. So you're screwed, i got paper work.

B.S.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,202 Posts
FastFokker said:
That's a BS story.

Any company that is honest enough to do it right the second time, would have done it right the first time.

Any sleazy company that would have done that wrong in the first place, wouldn't even come back when you call them.
Like my grandfather used to say when he ran the business, "if you don't have time to do it right the first time, when are you ever going to find time to go back and do it over?
 

·
RIP 1959-2015
Joined
·
39,618 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
NO WAY, i want my time back.

You bootlegged my time, I'm filling out the proper steps for reimbursement for damage. My uncles cousins dead grandfather was an appliance repairman. So you're screwed, i got paper work.

B.S.
Tik,tik,tik,tik,......:laughing:
 

·
Scotchkote Installer
Joined
·
30,665 Posts
NO WAY, i want my time back.

You bootlegged my time, I'm filling out the proper steps for reimbursement for damage. My uncles cousins dead grandfather was an appliance repairman. So you're screwed, i got paper work.

B.S.
Start a new thread crying about your lost time and we will try to get a rule change for you also.. :whistling2::rolleyes::laughing:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
798 Posts
Guy works on cars and thinks the black is " negative"
I get electricians on that all the time. Under 50 volts there is no requirment to ground 1 of the 2 DC wires but above 50 volts DC systems are required to be grounded. Once a wire is grounded whether for DC or AC it must be white or grey. So somethimes the negative must be white.
 
1 - 20 of 117 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top