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Thread: Outlet ground prong orientation

  1. #16
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    The absolute safest way to install outlets would be at a 45 degree angle with the hot on the bottom so something droping would be protected from touching the hot by not 1 but 2, the ground prong and the neutral prong...2 prongs will hold more weight and just in case 1 of the prongs broke and failed the other would be there as a back up....

    why hasn't any one mentioned this...

    You guys just don't think outside the box enough...

    Last edited by Cass; 11-26-2008 at 05:35 AM.

  2. #17
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apparentgenius View Post
    Thanks for the clarity. I full agree with doing it right, that's why I ask questions and pass inspections on my first try. Thanks again for the help

    From Wikipedia

    Power sockets, power receptacles, or power outlets are female electrical connectors that have slots or holes which accept the pins or blades of power plugs inserted into them and deliver electricity to the plugs. Sockets are usually designed to reject any plug which is not built to the same electrical standard. Some sockets have a pin that connects to a hole on the plug, for a ground contact.

    Uh OH here is another one of them Wiki gotta be right experts.
    Thare ani't nothing that Wiki has to say that changes the words in the only reference that counts, the NEC.

    You can have a Lighting OUTLET. Which way do you turn the ground slot in this outlet?

  3. #18

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    Install these and leave it up to the homeowner (rotates 360 degrees)...
    From: http://www.360electrical.com


  4. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by apparentgenius View Post
    Jar 546,

    Thanks for the help. I think I'm going to go with ground up unless there is a fixed item, like a fridge where it works better in the down position. I read another story about how a kid got shocked using a remote control toy with an antenna that slid down the wall and hit the hot lead.

    GLen
    Glad you are using your head. There is another reason beyond the metal plate, especially with all of the remote control toys.
    http://www.inspectpa.com/forum/forum.php
    My answers are based mostly on the ICC codes. Advice given is my personal opinion and every person performing work should acquire a permit from his/her jurisdiction and get the work inspected. My opinions are not directions to follow for DIYs or professionals

  5. #20
    DIY Junior Member apparentgenius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    Uh OH here is another one of them Wiki gotta be right experts.
    Thare ani't nothing that Wiki has to say that changes the words in the only reference that counts, the NEC.

    You can have a Lighting OUTLET. Which way do you turn the ground slot in this outlet?

    I install them upside down when I use them for shop lights.

    Glen

  6. #21
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default 360,outlet

    At $12.00 apiece, I don't visualize many houses being trimmed with the "360 outlets" in every location. Fortunately, once the cord is plugged in it will probably never be rotated again, otherwise the slip rings might start to have dead spots on them.

  7. #22
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apparentgenius View Post
    Ok, so here's an easy question.

    I'm installing the outlets in my new house. I know that the code does not specify the orientation of the ground slot (up or down), however, Ray Mullen's residential wiring guide suggests the ground in the up position is superior. His reasoning is that if you have a metal cover plate and it comes loose, kit will hit the ground and not a hot prong. Yet, every house I look at has the outlets installed with the ground slot on the bottom.

    Opinions?

    Glen
    Glenn

    After a hard whooping from the moderators of this great site I have been ask to return to this site and do some educating.

    First we must determine just what you are talking about when you refer to an outlet.
    The term outlet as defined in Article 100 of the NEC is a point on the wiring system where current is taken to supply utilization equipment.
    The two most common outlets that should come to mind are lighting outlets and receptacle outlets. I am sure that Ray Mullin and Rex Cauldwell both authors of some of the best electrical training books on the market will point out what an outlet is in their respective text.

    Now some might say, what is the difference? The major difference is that you as someone trying to learn something about receptacles know that there is a difference in a receptacle and an outlet. Receptacle outlets are defined in the NEC as follows:

    Receptacle Outlet. An outlet where one or more receptacles are installed.

    When it comes to the orientation of the grounding pin of a receptacle it can be argued either way. I look at what is likely to happen and what has been documented in the past.
    We hear stories every day but most of the stories we hear are just that, stories.

    Ray as well as several others will debate that in the event of a metal plate coming lose it would be better for the plate to land on the grounding pin of a cord cap should one be installed. I always ask just how many cover plates have come off the devices in your home. How many have you ever seen just hanging on a cord cap?
    This is a very unlikely event and should not be brought into the discussion unless there are documented cases of where this is a problem. If it should become a problem then UL would address the 6/32 by ½ screw that holds the plate cover in place.

    Just as many will debate that the ground pin of a receptacle should be installed looking downward. Their reasoning is that a right angle cord will plug in with out bending the cord back over itself. This could cause the insulation on the cord to crack and start arcing across the conductors which will result in a fire.

    This break down of the insulation on cords was the forerunner for the induction of arc-fault protection on bedroom circuits in the NEC. The first arc-fault devices were designed to detect parallel arcs such as would occur in the event of cracking of the insulation of the cord that was folded back across itself starts arcing from one conductor to the other.

    There is no code rule that mandates the orientation of the grounding pin of a receptacle. In the event that the appliance being used caused the cord to fold back across itself it would be a good idea to reverse the receptacle to relieve the strain on the cord no matter which way it was originally installed.

    Remember that a receptacle outlet (the box) will be turned so that it can be installed on the stud but the receptacle can be installed as the installer desires. The correct orientation of the ground pin is at the discretion of the installer and anything else is nothing more than opinion. I am sure that you have heard the old saying about opinions and everybody have one just as everyone having something else and both probably stink.

    It is also important to know terminology when talking about trades. Some will sit back and laugh at my determination between an outlet and a receptacle.
    There are many plumbing moderators on this site and I wonder how they would respond should I ask if I can install a tee in a waste water drain. Can this question be answered with a simple yes or no? Will you want more information so we can reference Table 706.3 of the code? (Notice that I didn’t say anything about a sanitary tee)
    The same is true for electrical.
    For the plumbing moderators which way does the ground pin go on an outlet?

    Bottom line is if you are going to walk the walk then learn how to talk the talk.

  8. #23
    DIY Senior Member seaneys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    At $12.00 apiece, I don't visualize many houses being trimmed with the "360 outlets" in every location. Fortunately, once the cord is plugged in it will probably never be rotated again, otherwise the slip rings might start to have dead spots on them.
    Our village 'recommends' the ground up or neutral up.

    They also like to see 'child proof' outlets....

    Steve

  9. #24

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    I would imagine it would be owning your own business, doing homes, etc. My husband was a sparky and EE, and it did all kinds of different things, business, homes, mills, NASA, you name it. You got to put yourself out there; and I believe a good attitude counts.

    Remember too, all things are circular, it comes and it goes, it comes and it goes...

    Then, new things open up, new fields, new jobs are created, I try not to get caught up in the doom and gloom of today. For tomorrow could be alot better. I don't associate with those who do.

  10. #25
    DIY Junior Member apparentgenius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    Glenn

    After a hard whooping from the moderators of this great site I have been ask to return to this site and do some educating.

    First we must determine just what you are talking about when you refer to an outlet.
    The term outlet as defined in Article 100 of the NEC is a point on the wiring system where current is taken to supply utilization equipment.
    The two most common outlets that should come to mind are lighting outlets and receptacle outlets. I am sure that Ray Mullin and Rex Cauldwell both authors of some of the best electrical training books on the market will point out what an outlet is in their respective text.

    Now some might say, what is the difference? The major difference is that you as someone trying to learn something about receptacles know that there is a difference in a receptacle and an outlet. Receptacle outlets are defined in the NEC as follows:

    Receptacle Outlet. An outlet where one or more receptacles are installed.

    When it comes to the orientation of the grounding pin of a receptacle it can be argued either way. I look at what is likely to happen and what has been documented in the past.
    We hear stories every day but most of the stories we hear are just that, stories.

    Ray as well as several others will debate that in the event of a metal plate coming lose it would be better for the plate to land on the grounding pin of a cord cap should one be installed. I always ask just how many cover plates have come off the devices in your home. How many have you ever seen just hanging on a cord cap?
    This is a very unlikely event and should not be brought into the discussion unless there are documented cases of where this is a problem. If it should become a problem then UL would address the 6/32 by ½ screw that holds the plate cover in place.

    Just as many will debate that the ground pin of a receptacle should be installed looking downward. Their reasoning is that a right angle cord will plug in with out bending the cord back over itself. This could cause the insulation on the cord to crack and start arcing across the conductors which will result in a fire.

    This break down of the insulation on cords was the forerunner for the induction of arc-fault protection on bedroom circuits in the NEC. The first arc-fault devices were designed to detect parallel arcs such as would occur in the event of cracking of the insulation of the cord that was folded back across itself starts arcing from one conductor to the other.

    There is no code rule that mandates the orientation of the grounding pin of a receptacle. In the event that the appliance being used caused the cord to fold back across itself it would be a good idea to reverse the receptacle to relieve the strain on the cord no matter which way it was originally installed.

    Remember that a receptacle outlet (the box) will be turned so that it can be installed on the stud but the receptacle can be installed as the installer desires. The correct orientation of the ground pin is at the discretion of the installer and anything else is nothing more than opinion. I am sure that you have heard the old saying about opinions and everybody have one just as everyone having something else and both probably stink.

    It is also important to know terminology when talking about trades. Some will sit back and laugh at my determination between an outlet and a receptacle.
    There are many plumbing moderators on this site and I wonder how they would respond should I ask if I can install a tee in a waste water drain. Can this question be answered with a simple yes or no? Will you want more information so we can reference Table 706.3 of the code? (Notice that I didn’t say anything about a sanitary tee)
    The same is true for electrical.
    For the plumbing moderators which way does the ground pin go on an outlet?

    Bottom line is if you are going to walk the walk then learn how to talk the talk.
    JW. I truly mean this. Thank you for the response. It is very informative and that was my original intent, to gather opinions so that I could decide which is best for my application.

    I agree with your statement of LEARNING to talk the talk. The learning process involves myself not knowing everything and being willing to take constructive feedback, hence my questions. A response of "Didn't know that outlets had ground slots" in my opinion comes across as petty rather than helpful. It didn't seem like your intent wasn't trying to get more information to be helpful. A response such as, "do you mean receptacles rather than outlets" would have been informative, polite and helpful.

    Regards,

    Glen

  11. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by seaneys View Post
    Hmmm..

    What percentage of electricians and plumbers work on business and industrial projects? I suspect the demand may declining.

    Steve

    I know who would be able to answer that question very well would be Rugged. He is very enterprising in business, does very well, and appears to be having fun doing it all! We could all learn from him, he is a natural born educator and businessman.

  12. #27
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apparentgenius View Post
    JW. I truly mean this. Thank you for the response. It is very informative and that was my original intent, to gather opinions so that I could decide which is best for my application.

    I agree with your statement of LEARNING to talk the talk. The learning process involves myself not knowing everything and being willing to take constructive feedback, hence my questions. A response of "Didn't know that outlets had ground slots" in my opinion comes across as petty rather than helpful. It didn't seem like your intent wasn't trying to get more information to be helpful. A response such as, "do you mean receptacles rather than outlets" would have been informative, polite and helpful.

    Regards,

    Glen
    Maybe a question like- What do you mean when you say outlets don't have slots would have helped also. It was my intention to spark a question from someone but it is kind of obvious that some are kind of thin skinned.

    When someone is giving something away for free the one receiving takes it as it comes not as they would like to receive it. My advice is free on this site and I will give it in the manner I want to give it or I won’t give it at all. To gain the knowledge that I have amassed over the years one has to ask questions. I do not give step by step directions and hope that if you want my knowledge bad enough you will ask for it. I will always give references to my answers and when asked a full explanation.

    I have been standing in front of a classroom full of people trying to learn the electrical for a lot of years now. The one thing that they have taught me is that a given answer flows off peoples back. Get them involved and they retain what they learn. If they truly want to learn they will ask. If they want someone to give them the answer to the questions on the test then they aren’t looking to learn anything.

    The one thing wrong with the Do-it-yourself type of discussion board is, it is only human nature to search for someone that agrees with our thoughts and this makes everything seem right. One of the most common responses to a post is; “what is unsafe with it?”
    or “my electrician has been doing it that way for years” or “the inspector has always passed it that way”
    This in no way means it is correct.

    In the world of electricity a wrong answer might work for a long time before something goes wrong. Jar546 (Jeff I think) has posted a link to a little boy who was killed from electrical shock. This circuit worked without fail until the tragic accident.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the person that made that installation was not thinking about killing someone when he installed that circuit. They probably thought that the installation was done in a proper manner. Without a doubt in my mind the person did it in the fashion that they were taught or done something someone had told them would work. I feel sure that they didn't do anything they thought was wrong on purpose.

    How many people do you see on this site that asks if the equipment grounding conductor can be used for a return path? This has been asked here several times and at least once in the past week.

    Why is this happening? It is because bad advice is given and the person receiving the advice takes it at face value with doing any more research. It is due to the closed minded person that always says: “I asked 100 people and one of them said it will work so he must know what he is talking about”
    Unless you have some idea about electricity then any answer could be correct and the pocket book will tend to make cutting corners come easier. This is why terminology is as important as every thing else.

    Now I shall go to bed.

  13. #28
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    Maybe a question like- What do you mean when you say outlets don't have slots would have helped also. It was my intention to spark a question from someone but it is kind of obvious that some are kind of thin skinned.

    When someone is giving something away for free the one receiving takes it as it comes not as they would like to receive it. My advice is free on this site and I will give it in the manner I want to give it or I won’t give it at all. To gain the knowledge that I have amassed over the years one has to ask questions. I do not give step by step directions and hope that if you want my knowledge bad enough you will ask for it. I will always give references to my answers and when asked a full explanation.

    I have been standing in front of a classroom full of people trying to learn the electrical for a lot of years now. The one thing that they have taught me is that a given answer flows off peoples back. Get them involved and they retain what they learn. If they truly want to learn they will ask. If they want someone to give them the answer to the questions on the test then they aren’t looking to learn anything. .
    While on here there is one person asking the question but there may be 100s or 1000s reading and truly interested in the answer...that is why it is important to answer the question the first time it is asked even if it is not asked the way you would like it to be...it is still your choice weather or not to answer...

    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    The one thing wrong with the Do-it-yourself type of discussion board is, it is only human nature to search for someone that agrees with our thoughts and this makes everything seem right. One of the most common responses to a post is; “what is unsafe with it?”
    or “my electrician has been doing it that way for years” or “the inspector has always passed it that way”
    This in no way means it is correct..
    Agree...which makes it more important to set the record strait when the question is asked the first time...

    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    In the world of electricity a wrong answer might work for a long time before something goes wrong. Jar546 (Jeff I think) has posted a link to a little boy who was killed from electrical shock. This circuit worked without fail until the tragic accident.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the person that made that installation was not thinking about killing someone when he installed that circuit. They probably thought that the installation was done in a proper manner. Without a doubt in my mind the person did it in the fashion that they were taught or done something someone had told them would work. I feel sure that they didn't do anything they thought was wrong on purpose.

    How many people do you see on this site that asks if the equipment grounding conductor can be used for a return path? This has been asked here several times and at least once in the past week..
    In my mind I don't know how any electrician could think it was "OK" to send energy down a bare copper wire that was not properly insulated...this is just another reason that answering questions when they are first asked is so important...some of the possible 100s or 1000s of readers may never come back and it may be the only time that they will hear the correct answer...and with your expertise and knowledge you are better able to answer their questions in a clear concise manner that will correct their faulty understanding...

    I personally want to thank you and the other elecricians for helping on this forum as your input here has been invaluable.

  14. #29

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    Ah, yes in a perfect world, we all would know all the correct terminology for everything. We could speak like doctors, engineers, electricians, plumbers, teachers, in all the languages in the world. In a perfect world, we all could speak sign language, french, english, german, and all the small dialects in far away lands from the USA. In a perfect world our bodies would never fail us, they would never age, we would not weigh too much or weigh too little, we would be perfect and just the same. In a perfect world we wouldn't need schools, or plumbers, or doctors, or electricians, because nothing would break and we would know everything. There would be no wars.

    We are living in a world far from being a perfect one. We strive to make it better. We all do our small parts to make our lives and those around us enriched.

  15. #30
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cass View Post
    In my mind I don't know how any electrician could think it was "OK" to send energy down a bare copper wire that was not properly insulated....
    This is a prime example of answers given on a web site for a do-it-yourselfer. Just enough information was given for a wrong answer to be accessed. Through research one can easily find that the courts came up with a different conclusion than that of the link posted.
    Someone read just what was posted but failed to ask those hundreds of other questions that are needed to form a correct conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookie View Post
    Ah, yes in a perfect world, we all would know all the correct terminology for everything.
    When dealing with something that has the potential to cause death as is outlined in this thread concerning Isaac the use of correct terminology is very important.
    Given a 120 volt circuit we will find three conductors that have the word “ground” in them in some sort or fashion. There is the ungrounded conductor, the grounded conductor and the equipment grounding conductor.
    As has been displayed on this site twice in the past five days some seem to think that the grounding conductor can be used as the grounded conductor. One of these even thinks that an un-insulated conductor will carry current. This is very true and also very dangerous as the link concerning Isaac shows.
    As can be seen in this example the terminology is very important wouldn’t you think? But then again we can become lax in our terminology and let this continue into our installation. This easement of terminology could be the very reason why Isaac is no longer with us today.

    The bottom line here is that electricity is very dangerous. There is a reason why it takes years of experience before someone can obtain a license in most states. It is simply because the proper knowledge can not be posted on a web site on everything one needs to know in order to make a safe installation.
    Remember just because it works does not mean it is safe.

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