14 open ground connections

henryl80January 2, 2012

For the past 3-years I've had Dish-Network Satelite with five analog/tube TVs and one LCD HD TV on two seperate Dish boxes. All six had perfect pictures . Downstairs an LCD HD TV on 1 Dish channel and an analog/tube TV on another Dish channel of box #1. Upstairs are four analog/tube TVs . . . of which three analog/tube TVs are on one circuit breaker and mirrored off one channel on the Dish box and the other on a different circuit breaker and different channel of the Dish box #2. Subsequently, after replacing two of the analog/tube TVs with LCD HD TVs I discoverd the TVs were on different circuit breakers. When reconnecting the mirrored LCD TV coax cable to the wall it sparked. So I checked the receptical and discovered a ground problem. I guess this is why it now has a fuzzy picture too, but the two analog/tube TVs still have clear pictures although one TV is on the ground problem breaker. Subsquently, ground problems are detected at 13 other recepticals on that circuit breaker too. Whereas the replacement LCD TV on a different circuit breaker and on the different Dish-channel of box #2 has no problem. Temporarily I put the two LCD TVs on different circuit breakers and the same Dish-channel for the time-being. Where do I start in locating my problem and what tools do I need for detection. I have Klein Tools 3-prong Tester, which detected the wiring problem (open ground problem) and a Klein Tools Non-Contact Tester, which detects the receptical mounting bracket as being hot too). I switched the white and black wires to opposite sides of the receptical (I know this is incorrect) and the 3-prong tester shows a good ground, but the mounting bracket is still hot . . . according to the non-contact tester). Any help with this would be greatly appreciated! henryl80@hotmail or 832.971.8089

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First thing: Non-contact testers are often useful. But false readings sometimes result from their use. Do not stake your life on a non-contact tester.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 9:41AM
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Ron Natalie

A noncontact tester is great to warn you DON'T TOUCH THIS, but as BusDriver says they're easily fooled (usually on the false positive side).

The plug in outlet tester are three neon bulbs connected to the each combination of pins. The open ground case means that HOT-TO-NEUTRAL has enough voltage to light the light but "HOT-TO-GROUND" does not.

First step, remove the affected outlet and look to see if the connections are present to the ground and there aren't any open wire nuts, etc.. inside that box.
Probably wishful thinking if there are multiple open grounds on the same circuit but you might catch some hair brained thing like no ground present at all in the wiring but some clown put in grounded a grounded outlet.

IIf there appears to be a ground wire connected, you'll just have to check the other junctions on that circuit to find out where it got left open.

The one place where a grounded receptacle is permitted on a non-grounded circuit is when it is protected by a GFCI. The receptacles SHOULD be marked NO EQUIPMENT GROUND. Note if your plugin tester has a GFCI test function on it IT WILL NOT WORK without a real ground (the test button on the GFCI itself is not encumbered by this limitation).

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 10:37AM
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