Ungrounded power outlet - how to best handle

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Old Hickory, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. Old Hickory

    Old Hickory Active Member

    Jan 13, 2011


    I want to put a TV and Mini in a bedroom that does not have a grounded power wire in the two-wire receptacle. I plan to have a 20"-ish TV, a Mini, and some kind of surge/conditioner. The bedroom is on the opposite side of the house from the electrical panel.

    My best option is to hire an electrician to pull new wiring and install the proper power outlet. What are the good and better options?

  2. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    I have a very old house that has some two prong outlets. I removed the cover and found the copper ground wire connected to the box. I checked that it was a real ground wire and then hooked it to a 3 prong outlet. You might be lucky too.
  3. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

    Jul 6, 2002
    Keep in mind that none of the devices listed require a grounded outlet, and if you use a UPS on the 2 prong outlet it will still be protected but will report a ground fault.
    You can be safe, but it's not required.
    cwerdna likes this.

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2012
    Riverside, CA


    This. Almost all of my house is two prong. It's not a great situation because you are not protected if an appliance shorts out, i.e., you can get shocked or worse. But, the TiVos works just fine.
  5. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

    Jul 6, 2002
    We struggle at the cottage because it's all 3 prong outlets and almost none of them have grounds connected (previous owner, don't ask) and my sister was very concerned to the point of wanting to look for an electrician to rewire the house.

    However I pulled her off the ledge when I had her look at what we had in the cottage that actually required a grounded outlet and there were less than 10 items, with the big ones being fridge, microwave, and toaster oven.
  6. Old Hickory

    Old Hickory Active Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Yeah, it's the three-pronged UPS/Conditioner (or a power strip) that I need to work on the two-wire receptacle. We've used the cheap adapter in the past but now wanted to know what was out there and better.
  7. cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

    Feb 22, 2001
    SF Bay Area, CA
  8. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

    Jul 6, 2002
    If it were me I'd avoid and conditioner/surge protector and just go for a cheap UPS with a 2-prong adapter, it's not perfect, but it's safer because you're isolated from the mains, whereas on a power strip you would not be, and they leverage the grounding for protection.

    Technically since the mini uses a brick I wouldn't worry about it since the brick will take the hit, if the TV also uses a brick I wouldn't even bother with protection since the bricks will sacrifice themselves.
  9. lhvetinari

    lhvetinari Watching telly, drinking wine - Lily Allen TCF Club

    Jun 24, 2019
    The Mini uses a AC>DC wall wart, and most TVs do now too (even the ones that have internal power supplies are still just AC>DC switching supplies, inside the TV's case). Realistically, given the plastic cases and isolation from the input, a cheater plug would be acceptable (to me, maybe not to an inspector...)

    If you want protection (a Mini replacement PSU is cheap, but if the TV has an internal supply it's a pain in the a--) get a cheap UPS (I'm partial to the APC BE600M1) and just put some tape over the "ground fault" indicator. It'll be fine.
  10. DVR_Dave

    DVR_Dave Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2017
  11. SNJpage1

    SNJpage1 Well-Known Member TCF Club

    May 25, 2006
    By any chance is the wiring run thru armoured cable? If so you might be able to ground the metal shield along th run and use that for the ground.
  12. Triride44

    Triride44 Member

    Jan 11, 2020
    My Sister's house has old 2-prong outlets. They are worn-out and don't hold the plugs tight. I have been replacing them with 3-prong outlets, and testing with a outlet tester, so far all have been grounded. The original house wiring is two separate wires The metal work box inside the wall is grounded thru the armored covering to the service panel. The new outlets are grounded by the two screws that hold it into the work box. You can pick up an outlet tester for for $5-$10 and use it with a 2-prong to 3-prong adapter to see if its worth doing.

  13. Old Hickory

    Old Hickory Active Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    On my list of things to purchase today: circuit tester, GFCI, and a fire extinguisher.

    Thanks to everyone for all the great information.
    SNJpage1 likes this.

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