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Old 07-04-2007, 03:06 AM   #1
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Default Replacing 2-prong cord with grounded cord

Hi Everyone, I tried getting some help from a home improvement forum but no responses so I'll call upon the brains from HBT!

Hopefully someone can help point me in the right direction. I recently acquired a c.1940’s Frigidaire refrigerator. It has a two prong unpolarized plug which has exposed wires in the plug so I would like to replace it with a grounded plug.

The problem I am having is I haven’t ever done anything like this before so I have a bunch of questions.

First, I’m not sure how to tell which wire should be hot and which should be neutral. I found this website:
(go to table of contents, chapter 5, replacing the cord)

Which said that the one which is common with the outside of the light bulb holder is neutral. However, it also said that the part of the cord with ribbing is neutral. In my case the unribbed one is common with the outside of the light bulb holder. Does the fact the fridge is so old explain why that advice doesn’t work? How should I determine what the neutral wire should be?

For the grounding, what is the best way to ground the fridge? My multimiter isn’t showing any conduction between various parts of the frame, although that may just be from rust. I’m planning on just drilling a hole into the frame for grounding, does that sound good?

I am planning on cutting the current wire and splicing together with a replacement beyond where it is attached to the fridge. I can’t access the junction box under the fridge easily. Is this a safe way to connect a new wire or should I try to get to the heart of the electronics?

Any other advice or hints or things I should know before embarking on this project? It doesn’t seem to hard to me, but should this be something I should have someone else do for me?

Thank you very much for any help at all!


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Old 07-04-2007, 04:40 AM   #2
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I had to replace the cord on my 1952 Philco Kegerator, I just used a two wire set up with a two pronged plug. If you are bound and determined to ground it out you should take the extra steps to replace the whole cord. i just spliced in and used heat-shrink, to seal it up. Also I think (my opinion) that you should go with the portion of the cord that is external, meaning not the part running ot the light bulb, of the fridge, in which case the ribbed part would be nuetral. again these are my opinions and in no way should be taken as fact, or coherent recomendations


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Old 07-04-2007, 03:41 PM   #3
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As far as which wire is common, I couldn't say for certain without actually seeing it. I would recommend calling an appliance repair shop and seeing if they can dig up some specs on the unit (see if you can find a mom and pop type place, they're usually more helpful). As far as adding a ground, most of the stuff in your home is grounded to the chassis or case that it's built in, so drilling a hole and adding a ground should work. Just make sure that that the screw or lug you use is making contact with bare metal.
Again, though, I can't really guarantee that this is accurate without actually seeing the unit. My recommendation is that if you're worried about causing any damge to the unit, yourself, or worse, I would either check with a repair shop or licensed electrician in your area.

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Old 07-04-2007, 04:31 PM   #4
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First, both wires in old plug run to hot. The third wire in a 3 wire is a ground to chassis, in case stray voltage happens to contact the chassis, it is run to ground for safety. Most things on 3 wire plugs are chassis grounded. Washer, for instance...older stuff not double grounded may require the third wire to operate.

Things that are 'double grounded' require no auxiliary ground to operate. It is inherent in their engineering, power tools for instance.

Never remove a ground from a 3 wire plug- but you can ADD chassis grounding to a 2 wire setup, by connecting the new GREEN ground connector ring to a screw that is screwed into the chassis.

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