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Grounding a 3-to-2-prong plug adaptor

NibbleNibble Registered User regular
edited May 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I have a 3-2-prong plug adaptor because the house I'm currently living in doesn't have any 3-prong outlets. In the interest of not blowing up my computer, how do I ground it? It has a grounding attachment like this one: http://www.asihome.com/images/bl-210504.png

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    HawkstoneHawkstone Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things. Somewhere outside of BarstowRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Does your house have adequate ground anywhere ? It may be alot more difficult and or expensive than this is worth if there is no ready place to attach to for grounding purposes. I mean theoretically your could put a grounding rod in the dirt outside your window, but I assume your looking for a more visually pleasing solution than this so some info about your house and especially your electrical service will be needed. It may be that you will need an electrican to install a ground in your house or it may just be as simple as changing the outlet for example.

    Hawkstone on
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    NibbleNibble Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Well, we do have a couple three-prong outlets, which I assume are grounded; but they are for the air conditioners, and they are 20 amps. I'm pretty sure I can't plug my laptop into that. Could I somehow hook my converter up to the ground in my A/C's socket, preferably sharing it with the A/C?

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    tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    That little metal tab with the hole in it? Doesn't that attach to the screw on the wall plate to ground things?

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    DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    As far as I'm aware you should be able to plug your laptop into that 20 amp outlet without issues. As long as it's just a 20 amp outlet, and not a 220v circuit as well. Check what voltage the air conditioner requires. The fact that it's 20 amp just means it can provide more oomph to appliances/whatnot.

    Edit:
    That little metal tab with the hole in it? Doesn't that attach to the screw on the wall plate to ground things?

    Ideally, I believe yes. But that only works if the screw is, in fact, grounded.

    Daenris on
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    tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    If it's a 20 amp outlet don't the plugs look different?

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    DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Yes. They look like this: http://www.saunapedic.com/images/eo-20.jpg but as you can see they're designed so you can still plug a regular 15amp 3prong cord into them as well.

    Daenris on
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    AtomBombAtomBomb Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I had a similar situation with my computer. I had to run coax along the baseboards for cable anyway, so I ran a ground wire with it. There was a spot where the cable came in where I was able to get the ground wire outside the house. From there i ran it around the house to the cold water faucet in the backyard. The pipe went into the ground and was metal, so I attached my wire there with a little ground strap thingy. It has teeth on it, and I had to make sure they bit in well because the pipe was painted. 10 years or so and no issues.

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    HawkstoneHawkstone Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things. Somewhere outside of BarstowRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Daenris wrote: »
    As far as I'm aware you should be able to plug your laptop into that 20 amp outlet without issues. As long as it's just a 20 amp outlet, and not a 220v circuit as well. Check what voltage the air conditioner requires. The fact that it's 20 amp just means it can provide more oomph to appliances/whatnot.

    Edit:
    That little metal tab with the hole in it? Doesn't that attach to the screw on the wall plate to ground things?

    Ideally, I believe yes. But that only works if the screw is, in fact, grounded.

    Yes, the screw must be grounded, thats why I asked about the electical service to the house. The fact that you have gounded outlets implies that the house is wired as such. If you are comfortable with it I recomend you turn the power off to that room and unscrew the outlet, if you see 3 wires conected as opposed to 2, you have a ground there (the ground is usually green). You can then either use the screw or change out the outlet which is a process that take only a few minutes, and is very easy. Just MAKE SURE the power is off to the room at the circuit breaker/fuse box and if possible also at the switch if its a switched outlet. Also to double check, they make current testers that you can pick up at any hardware store for a couple of bucks, there are about the size of a ball point pen and you just stick em in the outlet...if they light up you still have juice there. Alternatively the odds of something happening to your computer from just using 2 prongs are slim, but they do exist and it makes sense to do this if you are able.

    Hawkstone on
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    HawkstoneHawkstone Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things. Somewhere outside of BarstowRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    AtomBomb wrote: »
    I had a similar situation with my computer. I had to run coax along the baseboards for cable anyway, so I ran a ground wire with it. There was a spot where the cable came in where I was able to get the ground wire outside the house. From there i ran it around the house to the cold water faucet in the backyard. The pipe went into the ground and was metal, so I attached my wire there with a little ground strap thingy. It has teeth on it, and I had to make sure they bit in well because the pipe was painted. 10 years or so and no issues.

    This is very similar to what I was saying about going out the window and putting in a ground spike. I would caution you here though that you should use a multi meter to check the quality of the ground if you use piping or the like. Just because you see metal going into the ground does not mean you are grounded. The piping could change to something non conductive under ground or be painted for its whole length etc...

    Hawkstone on
    Inside of a dog...it's too dark to read.
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    MushiwulfMushiwulf Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    If you have a tester, you can check for current between the hot side of the plug and the screw holding the plate on. If you have current, the plug is grounded. If not, it isn't. That said, your equipment will run fine without a ground. The ground provides extra safety in the event of a neutral lifting somewhere in the circuit. It also serves a few other safety purposes that will not effect how your computer runs, generally. If you are really concerned about updating the house or even just that outlet to have a ground, you should contact a licensed electrician in your area.

    Also, the fact that there are some receptacles with three holes does not mean that there is a ground. Grounded receptacles are standard, and whoever installed them may have just used what he or she had on hand and ignored the ground terminal.

    Mushiwulf on
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    NibbleNibble Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Thanks for all the advice. The A/C socket is 250 volts, so I don't think I can use it. My power bar has a ground indicator, so I guess I can use that for testing. I'm on the fourth floor of an old apartment building, so it might be a little hard to get a wire down to the ground; but I'll see what I can do.

    Nibble on
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    VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Ouch, yeah... are you renting the place? Maybe you can talk to the owner and get something set up? I mean, there's not much you can plug in these days that doesn't require a grounding prong... well, not many interesting things at least. =

    VThornheart on
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    HawkstoneHawkstone Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things. Somewhere outside of BarstowRegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Agreed, fourth floor and renting, unless the outlet is grounded so that your adapter works, joo may be humped. Again the odds of it hurting your compy are pretty low, but it could happen. Any chance of running power from one of the grounded outlets if it is that much of a concern to you ?

    Hawkstone on
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    PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited May 2008
    Get tenant's insurance. Get it now. You want it badly because it will be what replaces your laptop with a brand new laptop if/when yours gets fried/stolen.

    Also, while it still costs money to replace, it's very worth noting that if your laptop (like all current laptops I've ever used) has an external power brick (an AC/DC converter, actually), that the brick will almost assuredly fault every time there's a surge, before it hits your laptop. They always have fuses in them to prevent them from melting and lighting gigantic fires as soon as they get hit with a surge, and it should be very rare that they still spike your laptop's internal PSU hard enough to fry the motherboard or any components thereof.

    Pheezer on
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