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-   -   3 Prong Range Outlet (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/3-prong-range-outlet-208479/)

Chefkeith 11-27-2010 09:18 PM

3 Prong Range Outlet
 
Until my brewery is finished in my basement where I will have the outlet of choice, I'm relegated to a three prong range outlet in my kitchen (my house was built in 1995, one year too early for the four prong revolution). And no, I don't want to brew in my laundry room...

Anyway, as I understand it, the three pronged outlet has two hots and a neutral. Is there a way I can still temporarily brew in my kitchen using a three pronged plug?

Four questions:

1. How could I ground a system using a three pronged plug?

2. Is there a chance that there is a ground wire ran to the outlet so I could update it to a four pronged model?

3. Can I ground to a separate 120v grounded circuit or is this a huge no,no?

4. Is my range grounded to neutral or completely ungrounded (was this why they changed things in 1996)?

Thanks in advance; this is the only hiccup in my project so far. Everything else is going smoothly thanks to the forums!

Note: The range circuit is a 50 amp circuit, and I have a 50 amp GFCI to install when the time comes.

P-J 11-28-2010 03:32 AM

I have compassion for your situation.

Please describe in more detail what you are dealing with. I firmly believe that I can give you solutions as well as the NEC requirements involved (reasoning behind changes and issues).

Basically: The code changes at that time came about with the explosion in the use of GFCI breakers. Wiring prior to that time frame is still within code (BTW).

jasonsbeer 11-28-2010 03:56 AM

To answer your big question: Yes, you can still brew with the 3 prong outlet. You won't have ground fault protection with it.

Now, if ground fault protection is your goal:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chefkeith (Post 2435204)
1. How could I ground a system using a three pronged plug?

The third conductor is a ground, not neutral

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chefkeith (Post 2435204)
2. Is there a chance that there is a ground wire ran to the outlet so I could update it to a four pronged model?

Chances are this was wired with 2 conductors+ground (cheaper). If you can pull the panel or outlet cover or find the cabling, you can see what was run.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chefkeith (Post 2435204)
3. Can I ground to a separate 120v grounded circuit or is this a huge no,no?

I would avoid doing this, but, technically speaking, in a residential system all the grounds go to the same bus in the breaker panel. I would defer to a real electrician as there may be issues when using grounds and neutrals from different circuits.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chefkeith (Post 2435204)
4. Is my range grounded to neutral or completely ungrounded (was this why they changed things in 1996)?

In a residential panel, the ground and neutral buses are bonded in the main panel. Sub-panels are different.

Take home message is you first need to see what you have.

Chefkeith 11-28-2010 06:18 PM

Today, I actually opened up the outlet to find two hots and a neutral connected to the socket, and an aluminum ground wire tucked away in the box!

I checked my current range, and noticed that the ground and neutral are bonded on the appliance, so the range grounds through the neutral in the outlet. I'll simply attach a four pronged cord to my range and install a four pronged outlet in my wall and everything will be great.

Thanks!

P-J 11-28-2010 11:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chefkeith (Post 2436589)
Today, I actually opened up the outlet to find two hots and a neutral connected to the socket, and an aluminum ground wire tucked away in the box!

I checked my current range, and noticed that the ground and neutral are bonded on the appliance, so the range grounds through the neutral in the outlet. I'll simply attach a four pronged cord to my range and install a four pronged outlet in my wall and everything will be great.

When you change the outlet and power cord, be sure to open the ground/neutral bond on the range and wire the 2 independently from the new power cord. With that done, you should be able to install the GFCI breaker that you mentioned. Also, when you install the breaker, check in your mains panel to be sure that the ground wire is properly connected.

Good job!! Wishing you great sucess going electric.

Chefkeith 11-29-2010 03:00 PM

I was sure to remove the bond; thanks for everything!

I have some serious reading to do before I tackle the GFCI, but I'm sure I can figure it out. I'll definitely ensure that the ground is hooked up properly.

Thanks, again.


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