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If all screws are brass

Posted by taxtax (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 11, 11 at 22:34

I'm aware that black goes to brass and white goes to silver, but in most of the outlets in my house all the screws are brass.

In cases like these, shouldn't the white always be screwed into the receptacle on the side that is closest to the larger square prong-hole? That's how I've always seen it IIRC.

Hover, on one of my boxes that wiring seems reversed. So I don't know if it was a mistake made when this house was built, or if I'm jumping to wrong conclusions here.

I can't test much results with my tester, since it just tells me there is an open ground (old house, no ground wires).

Which brings up another story, since the plug is a 3-pronged-outlet which should be illegal in this scenario, should I just go and replace it with a GFCI? I did hear that you can still use these in a box with no ground, and they are supposed to be quite safe even in that environment.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: If all screws are brass

The larger, left handed (when looking at the face of the receptacle) slot is the grounded (neutral) conductor. You'll find some testers that look like a screwdriver with a neon bulb in the handle (because they are just a screwdriver with a neon bulb in the handle) that will identify the hot side.

If there is no real ground, you are correct that a three prong receptacle is illegal. You can put in the GFCI (be sure to apply the little sticker that says "NO EQUIPMENT GROUND" to it).

RE: If all screws are brass

Hmm, this is getting more interesting now...

I got out another tester, the one for checking which side is live by grounding one probe and using the other needle in one of the square slots. For the outlets in my house that DO come with grounding, they are not consistent on which side is HOT.

Is it normal for a GFCI to be reversed from a standard outlet?

RE: If all screws are brass

I forgot when I posted that "left" is a relative term (there's really no top or bottom to a receptacle)...I was just looking at a picture when describing it.

If there is a wider slot on one side, that one SHOULD be the grounded conductor. It is there so that devices that care can have a fatter blade on the grounded conductor side and can't be plugged into a unkeyed receptacle.

A GFCI should always be the same as the others. Wider pin (and if you have the grounded pin on the bottom, that slot will be on the left is side) is the grounded (neutral) conductor.

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