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Originally posted by Jim Morrison

I finally took the plunge at IW and bought the Ideal Suretest with Arc fault #61-155 for around $240 from Professional Equipment. I think Jerry Simon posted something recently about getting it for around $180 on the internet.


It's about time, Jim! The ol' "wet finger and paperclip" method is gonna get ya sooner or later[:-hot]

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I've been considering getting the 61-155, but am still dragging my heels. (Inspector Tools has it for $253, compared to PE at $276.) I'm not interested in doing voltage drops, after reading many forum threads on it, but the talk about the IW presentation (not there myself) has gotten me to shopping again.

Question about false grounds . . . I assume that's the same as bootleg ground, and it's a reference to jumping a wire from the ground screw to the neutral: what is the safety concern about that? I generally don't call out stuff unless I can explain why it's bad.


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Originally posted by a46geo


Do a Google search for false ground. The very first site listed is Sure Test's explanation. It will tell you all that you want to know. In a nut shell a bootleg ground puts ground in the circuit.


Thanks, George. Here's a quote from that paper:

"If there is contact between the grounded conductor and the equipment ground conductor on the load side of the bonding point, the equipment ground conductor will share the grounded conductor’s current flow causing all grounded metal parts between that point and the bonding point to become energized."

I think that says the same thing you did. But I'm still having trouble with it. Let me take a crack at it:

Current gets loose in a tool and 'leaks' to the tool casing, and goes from there though the tool cord's ground wire to the ground post on the back of the receptacle, and from there straight to the grounded conducter (neutral). At this point I cease to get it. Why doesn't that 'short' current happily just go back to the panel and trip the breaker? Whatb are the 'grounded metal parts' referred to in the above explanation?

I'm thick on this, and have to get through it.


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  • 2 weeks later...
Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Guys,

I'm not Douglas, but I'll quote from his book, since it may be a few hours till he signs on:

A false ground is dangerous because it turns an equipment enclosure into a current carrying conductor. Suppose you plug in a washing machine to a receptacle with a false ground. The return path from the circuit is carried on the grounded conductor, but because that is connected now to the frame of the appliance, a connection between the appliance frame and water piping will also carry current. A person could be the connection and be shocked. If the grounded conductor connection was loose, the person might carry enough current to be electrocuted.



I finally got it. All this time I've been thinking of what happens if there's a short in the appliance and the loose current gets routed from the equipment ground back through the grounded conductor. But what counts is just the reverse - normal current being fed back through the equipment ground. I was justlocked into a point of view that was blocking my logic. Now I can go buy one of these things. And write up new boiler plate. Whew!


PS - Mike, where's your DH quote from? I have the ITA 'Elec Insp of Existing Dwellings 94-98' by Douglas and it doesn't say that.

-David Lee

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I learned the basics of this the hard way (most memorable way). If you pull an outlet that is in a circuit that is under a load upstream of the pulled outlet, logic says the black wire will fry you. Well, the white (neutral)wire will bite too!! Maybe not as hard, but it will bite. Now, if the ground wire is tied to the white, any current going to ground will energize both wires. If the appliance (and you) offer the best ground.....zzzzzzzzzzzap!!

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Isnt this the same concept as a subpanel, where the neutral and ground must be separated and isolated? Where the ground would be hot from the sub to the main, if it was on the neutral bus in the sub?

Thats why the ground and neutral can share the same bus in the Main, but not in the Sub. Maybe I'm missing the entire point?


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Hey Scott,

I'll look at Granger, but I think Ideal has stopped making the ST-1D. I bought mine 2 years ago from Inspector Tools. It's now has most of the writing wore off of it, the ground prong on the extension is loose and useless, I've dropped it into a whirlpool tub once and dropped it countless times (usually on a tile floor).

I wanted a replacement, but I can not find the ST-1D any longer. Only thing I can find are the new digital models which I do not like as well. Of course they have the $550 dollar model that looks like mine, only with more bells and whistles.


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