2-prong outlet, 3-prong p

Surf:
S > I'm trying to help a neighbor set up a computer and printer that her S > out-of-state son shipped to her. S > S > My neighbor's house was build in the 1960s and only has two-prong outlets. In S > the past, whenever she wanted to use a 3-prong plug device, she just used a
S > adapter.
Of course. :)
S > I'm wondering if it would be okay to plug in the surge protector/power stri
S > her son sent into a 3-prong adapter and then plug that into the 2-prong wal
S > outlet. There would be three devices plugged into the power strip/surge S > protector: a CPU, monitor, and printer.
AFAIK a surge protector will not work if the ground isn't there. (BTW, also be sure to surge-protect the cable and/or telephone inputs to the system.) I would get a $10 outlet tester (available at most hardware departments -- are about the size of half a fist and have three LEDs). If the outlet box is grounded the outlet tester will light up the proper two indicators (plug the outlet tester into the adapter, the adapter's ground tab is either screwed to the non-painted outlet cover screw or the ground wire is connected to the metal outlet box).
Years ago I lived in an apartment complex with grounded outlets. Of course the one outlet I wanted to plug the computer in to wasn't grounded for some reason. I ran a 14-g wire along the baseboard to the kitchen sink cold water pipe (sanded the connection site shiney, held in place with a worm clamp). Not exactly legal but it worked. You might be able to run a ground to the service panel for this outlet. (Do NOT connect to plumbing!)
S > Specifically, I want to make sure we're not risking starting an electrical ire S > (or some other calamity).
Assuming use of proper guage wire and connections I don't foresee a problem. As I understand it the ground connection is a redundant safety should the neutral (white) connection fail.
S > If she does need to get an outlet turned into a 3-prong outlet, what elemen s S > would the electrician take into account in his price (e.g., distance from S > switch box) and what's your best guess on what that might cost?
Plus degree of difficulty when creating the run. If the computer's outlet is on the second floor it would be more of a hassle than if the room was located on the first floor with an open ceiling in the basement below.
- barry.martinATthesafebbs.zeppole.com
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(barry martin) writes:

My parent's home was built with BX armored cable wiring. Two wires into the box and the metal armoring was ring-nutted to the back outside of the box to provide the ground. As Barry suggests, get a cheap outlet tester (an LED with two wires/contacts attached). Remove outlet plate, test for current by placing one contact in a slot and the other to either the screw(hole) or the box itself. For good measure test the ground against BOTH outlet slots. If you get a good ground signal it's easy enough to wire in a three-prong outlet. I've done about half my parent's outlets (and incidentally ALL of my own) w/o problems.
Marc
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MrAoD Wrote:

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