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bootleg ground detector


Jerry Lozier
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My Ideal Suretest 61-165 went south, off warranty and $150 from company to evaluate. $250+ to replace...

I use it a few times a month mostly on older homes with 3 prong that show they have a ground. Find bootlegs often... Rarely use the gfci/ afci trip mode as I trip at outlet or the breaker, so don't need really that function

Anyway... does anyone use any other detector that reveals false grounds, that may be cheaper and maybe not quite as bulky??????? Sure I could pull the cover but I like quick better if possible

Jerry

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Jerry, before you go any further, you might try unscrewing the case, pull it apart as much as possible and check the soldered conections from the male cord-plug pins to the circuit board. I've had a couple of Suretests go bad or touchy on me and found cracked solder on both of them. A quick touch up with a soldering iron and solder fixed them.

I haven't had any more trouble since I got rid of the fairly stiff cord the unit comes with and replaced it with a softer and slightly longer one I found somewhere(?). The old cord would dangle from my pouch and occasionally get caught on things, which may have led to the damage. The new one I am able to wrap around the unit itself and the whole thing fits, better protected, in a tool belt pouch.

Or...you might just have a bad unit.

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Also,

When you open it, if you pull the screws that hold the circuit board in place and turn it over, you'll find a little tiny transformer about 1/4 inch in diameter with a U-shaped plastic cover snapped in place over it. The hair-thin wires to the corner of that transformer will break off. I've brought mine into a TV repair shop several times to have that tiny wire connection repaired. The last time, they bedded the transformer in some kind of gooey stuff and then I wadded up a piece of kleenex and reinstalled it with the kleenex wedged between the housing and the transformer to hold it firmly in place. Haven't been back to that TV repair shop in a few years now.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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thanks guys.... I'll try that... nothing to lose.

I know what you mean Richard, about the stiff cord, that was the first thing I did was found another cord (thinner and longer) to test the unit, nothing changed but if the repair works out I think will get a more flexible cord..

thanks for the advice

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Also,

When you open it, if you pull the screws that hold the circuit board in place and turn it over, you'll find a little tiny transformer about 1/4 inch in diameter with a U-shaped plastic cover snapped in place over it. The hair-thin wires to the corner of that transformer will break off. I've brought mine into a TV repair shop several times to have that tiny wire connection repaired. The last time, they bedded the transformer in some kind of gooey stuff and then I wadded up a piece of kleenex and reinstalled it with the kleenex wedged between the housing and the transformer to hold it firmly in place. Haven't been back to that TV repair shop in a few years now.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Hmm. Sounds vaguely familiar to the same repair story you tell about your Protimeter.

Are you sure you're not confusing the two?

Remember, Suretest is for ELECTRICAL and Protimeter is for MOISTURE.

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. . . Anyway... does anyone use any other detector that reveals false grounds, that may be cheaper and maybe not quite as bulky??????? Sure I could pull the cover but I like quick better if possible

If you're only interested in false grounds, I'll bet that for a quick trip to Radio Shack, $20, and a hour of your time, you could make something.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Also,

When you open it, if you pull the screws that hold the circuit board in place and turn it over, you'll find a little tiny transformer about 1/4 inch in diameter with a U-shaped plastic cover snapped in place over it. The hair-thin wires to the corner of that transformer will break off. I've brought mine into a TV repair shop several times to have that tiny wire connection repaired. The last time, they bedded the transformer in some kind of gooey stuff and then I wadded up a piece of kleenex and reinstalled it with the kleenex wedged between the housing and the transformer to hold it firmly in place. Haven't been back to that TV repair shop in a few years now.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Hmm. Sounds vaguely familiar to the same repair story you tell about your Protimeter.

Are you sure you're not confusing the two?

Remember, Suretest is for ELECTRICAL and Protimeter is for MOISTURE.

D'oh!!!

Yep, disregard - I got 'em mixed up.

I swear, alzheimers or somethin...

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Yep, disregard - I got 'em mixed up.

I swear, alzheimers or somethin...

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Welcome to the club Mike. I fend off my memory problems by jogging. Immediate improvement. Never known a rigorously active person to have alzheimers. Not one.

Pardon the drift.

Marc

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My experience in Radio/TV service tells me that it isn't a good idea to put a hot glue gun to such a small transformer. The heat may either ruin the transformer insulation or delaminate the foil conductors on the PC board. It's a mess if you need to change the transformer later too.

Marc

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If you're only interested in false grounds, I'll bet that for a quick trip to Radio Shack, $20, and a hour of your time, you could make something.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Since I limit most of my experimentation to things that float on water, pray tell.........

How might I do that?

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My experience in Radio/TV service tells me that it isn't a good idea to put a hot glue gun to such a small transformer. The heat may either ruin the transformer insulation or delaminate the foil conductors on the PC board. It's a mess if you need to change the transformer later too.

Marc

Just a dab is all you'll need. There is no need to cover it in a pile of hot glue. Just keep it from vibrating around and creating a cold solder break/leg failure.

Once it's cold, it will pop right off with very little force.

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If you're only interested in false grounds, I'll bet that for a quick trip to Radio Shack, $20, and a hour of your time, you could make something.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Since I limit most of my experimentation to things that float on water, pray tell.........

How might I do that?

Heck, I don't know. But I'll bet that, given a little time, you could figure it out. All you need to do is to be able to measure the resistance between the netural and the ground. If the resistance is greater that that of a 5' length of #14 wire, you're good. If the resistance is less, you've got a high chance of a bootleg ground.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen]

Heck, I don't know. But I'll bet that, given a little time, you could figure it out. All you need to do is to be able to measure the resistance between the netural and the ground. If the resistance is greater that that of a 5' length of #14 wire, you're good. If the resistance is less, you've got a high chance of a bootleg ground.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Sounds like a multimeter will do. You could make an attachment for it from a 3-prong plug. That would be bulky,though.

You would run one lead of the meter to the neutral prong and the other to the grounding prong, and set it to measure ohms. Too low of a reading is a heads up, neutral could be shorted to ground. This test would be useless anywhere close to the panel, where the resistance of the ground lead would naturally be low.

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Sounds like a multimeter will do. You could make an attachment for it from a 3-prong plug. That would be bulky,though.

You would run one lead of the meter to the neutral prong and the other to the grounding prong, and set it to measure ohms. Too low of a reading is a heads up, neutral could be shorted to ground. This test would be useless anywhere close to the panel, where the resistance of the ground lead would naturally be low.

If you did use a MM you wouldn't need a 3-prong attachment, just put one lead in the netural and one in the ground and have the meter set to measure ohms. However I wouldn't do it with the power on as you might smoke the meter. Also, I think this would only work on home that has an older system like K&T (without a ground).

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