How to easily upgrade 2-prong electrical outlets to 3-prong outlets without grounding them

I would guess that the risk of electric shock from DIY wiring is considerably less than the risk of fire. Although, I live on Garbage Island, where it is probably more of a challenge to electrocute yourself.

The bit about fake grounded sockets being allowed as long as they have a sticker is pretty amusing. Realistically, what is the sticker going to accomplish?


A good idea, but be sure to follow specific NEC code for these applications. Current kills, not Voltage by itself. Rogue contact with AC will usually shove you away, but rogue contact with household levels of DC will usually hug you to where you won’t be able to force your muscles to unclench. Shield and protect those runs, don’t just wing it and use a few spools of hookup wire.


Liability protection, legally as in “it’s up to code” and morally in that it’s “fair warning”, which isn’t nothing.


I had a shower like this at an AirBnB where I stayed a few years ago. But it had no casing on it. Nothing in the house was grounded.

ETA: I couldn’t find the picture I took of it, but the setup was an awful lot like this:

Lots of sink baths.


Maybe the sticker should be fiberglass reinforced and put over the ground prong hole.
That would be quite safe.


This is how you get yourself zapped in the middle of a guitar solo.

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The sticker can only be applied when GFCI/AFCI protection is present (either at the location or upstream of it). Nothing magical about it, but it warns users of the specific condition present and it serves as a notification to future inspection or electrical work as to what’s going on with that circuit. Home Inspectors will want to see it so it can be notated accordingly on a pre-sale report, safety inspectors (if required by jurisdiction) will want to be aware of it, electricians will want to readily know about it before performing additional work.


…which would then just end up with a three prong adapter plugged into it.

People will always choose good-enough and cheap over expensive and correct. I assume people understand that rewiring an entire house’s outlets is not a trivial expenditure.


I’m glad that many of us Boingers have backgrounds in some technical fields, a discipline that forces us to use rational thought and reason when it comes to understanding systems and their interactions with the outside world.

You will null & void your house insurance if you fuck around with this stuff and get it wrong (as you watch the fire department extinguishing your house you’ll experience an epiphany).

My city recently relaxed the needs for permits when it comes to some electrical work (you needed a permit & inspection to change a light switch from toggle to Decora ffs). You DO need a permit upgrading to GFCI tho.

But I mean… if you’ve got a Dollar General nearby then go for it, don’t let a little thing like safety give you pause.


There are a lot of things that I’m willing to DIY on my house. And I’m pretty good at framing, roofing, trim work, and other kinds of structural things like that. But if it’s electrical I call a pro. It’s just not worth it.


I’ve always thought that if I were having a house built from scratch, I’d specify metallic conduit because it would make pulling new wire easy.


Surely you just put an RCD/GFCI on the whole house? That seems much better and is at least as good as the one-per-socket hack here. Am I missing something? Better would be that plus rewiring, but I can see why that’s difficult…

And who doesn’t love a good floor box?

Whoever built the homes in our neighborhood did this, I guess to save $$ on that many more GFCI outlets, times how many houses… Our bathroom & external outlets all gang to one GFCI outlet under the breaker box. All the kitchen outlets gang to 2 GFCI outlets on either side of the oven. Those things eventually go out, like light bulbs, so they take the rest of that part of the house with them…



Do people do this now? Like 5 Volt USB? I think a problem might be voltage drop on the length of runs you would get in a house. I used to work in a shop where we tried centralized 12V and 5V power supplies; even with very large busbars we couldn’t get it to work at 5V, 12V only marginal. I think you would maybe have a code issue running the wiring next to AC lines as well


During my pre-retirement general contracting days, I worked on a number of historic homes in our small town that still had knob and tube wiring in places. Interesting to me was that where it was run through the attics, you could almost always find a couple of rat skeletons right under the wiring which ran over the tops of the ceiling joists. The rats made the fatal mistake of completing the circuit where a bit of insulation had fallen away, or of biting through it in a “hold my beer” kind of move.


Definitely not an electrician here, though I’ve done a few forms of low voltage install. But I thought I recalled that a GFCI at the end of the run was commonly used to protect the whole circuit? Am I straight up misremembering (rather likely, as I’ve never installed a GFCI) or was that ever a common thing?

Well, told ya I wasn’t an electrician. I understand the voltage loss over distance thing (oh the arguments we’ve had over how far the miter saw can go (at least, more than once)) but I hadn’t realized that even residential distances induced that much drop at such little current draw. But yeah, duh.


Doesn’t that usually involve swapping pins 1 and 2 of a mic cable?

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Ha, yeah, jobsite power tools… “five fifty foot extension cords, should be OK, right?” . With low voltage power distribution the issue is how much current the device uses, since voltage drop and power loss is proportional to the current draw; if the power distribution is 120V AC and conversion is done at the wall wart this is less an issue. You may be right, at USB levels normal 12 or 14 ga wire might well be fine…think it’s 900 ma max on USB. I agree that there needs to be a better solution than wall warts, just hate those things.

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