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Old 11-15-2004, 09:51 PM
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Default Home wiring - hot and neutral reversed?

We're remodelling the (30+ year old) house at the moment, including power outlets and light switches and I've been going around checking all the outlets (afterwards) with my handy, dandy outlet checker. A number of outlets are reporting that their hot and neutral wires are reversed. Is there any real danger in this, particularly in regards to home electronics ie Pocket PCs and desktops/notebooks?
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Old 11-16-2004, 12:13 AM
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Not really, however, most plugs have one prong that is wider then the other, you can only insert the plug one way. This ensures, that the "hot" is getting to the correct wire in the cord. This is important (in my opinion) especially on a lamp. You do not want the "hot" on the thread portion of the lamp socket.
In any case, locking at the outlet from the front with the ground at the bottom, the "hot" should be on the right. If it is not, it is very easy to change this. Good luck...
 
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Old 11-16-2004, 12:15 AM
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Default Re: Home wiring - hot and neutral reversed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctmagnus
We're remodelling the (30+ year old) house at the moment, including power outlets and light switches and I've been going around checking all the outlets (afterwards) with my handy, dandy outlet checker. A number of outlets are reporting that their hot and neutral wires are reversed. Is there any real danger in this, particularly in regards to home electronics ie Pocket PCs and desktops/notebooks?
Not sure. But when I had my house inspected the guy strongly suggested we fix the backwards outlets...
 
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Old 11-16-2004, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christheswiss
Not really, however, most plugs have one prong that is wider then the other, you can only insert the plug one way.
Not true.

If you have say, a polarized lamp on one leg (side of the circuit) and you touch another object plugged into the other leg, you can get zapped. It can be extremely dangerous, in fact.

Remember, A/C comes into the house at 220V, comprised of two legs which are each 110V relative to neutral/ground.
 
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Old 11-16-2004, 03:34 AM
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I am an electrician by trade, and I can tell you that you should swap the Hot and Neutral wires on the recepticles.

For the most part, you may never know or see the difference, however, with that said, it can create a problem down the line.

As some of your recepticles are on the same circuit, and if the time comes to work on one of them, you are sticking your hands in a very dangerous situation. Backfeeding a circuit can be a real problem causer!!

In terms of electronics, some items have the ability to check for proper voltage/orientation. It is possible that one or more items may not work. I have seen it happen in commercial applications.

As suggested before, it is very easy to fix. Be sure and turn the breakers off before swapping your leads.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Jerry
 
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Old 11-16-2004, 04:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by js415
Let me know if you have any questions.

Jerry
Since you asked...

There are three receptacles like that (that I know of). One of them is a standard outlet and should be easy enough to fix but the other two are controlled by a switch and have four wires each (or so the "electrician" said; I haven't actually seen the wiring for these two). How do you go about wiring these correctly?
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Old 11-16-2004, 07:34 AM
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Default Go to the library

The best way to figure out how to fix the odd ball recepticals is to get a book from the library. They usually have several to choose from.

Also, if you plug one piece of electronic gear into a reversed outlet and one into another that is not reversed. Say a stereo into one and your computer into another and then connect an audio cable between the two, you can fry something.
 
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Old 11-16-2004, 07:48 AM
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Interesting topic!

One of my bedrooms has the kids' computer in it. In that room, most of the outlets cause the APC UPS to light up the "Faulty Wiring" indicator. The outlets seem to work properly, though, so I didn't give it much thought, and have the kids' computer plugged in to the one outlet that isn't a problem.

I wonder if it's just a matter of swapping the leads to the outlet? Probably wouldn't hurt to try, huh?
 
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Old 11-16-2004, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by famousdavis
I wonder if it's just a matter of swapping the leads to the outlet? Probably wouldn't hurt to try, huh?
That's what I'm hoping. I've never wired any outlets before and aside from flipping them off at the circuit breaker beforehand, I don't know much about working on them.
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Old 11-16-2004, 05:35 PM
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One thing I do want to point out to folks that are familiar with electronics but not electricity. In most electronics wiring you have come to expect the black wire in a power pair to be the ground/return/neutral, whatever you want to call it. In house wiring the black wire is hot..the white is neutral, not ground BTW..neutral. Getting a basics of wiring book at your local home improvement store should fill all that in, but that is a very easy incorrect assumption to make if your an electronics kind of guy.
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