Orange hospital oulets

Everytime I visit some one in a hospital or nursing home, or go into a doctors office I see orange colored outlets lately. I know this is a special grade of outlet made for medical use. What I do not know is what is special about them? Are they just made more durable, or do they contain some sort of special protection such as a GFCI (no push buttons on them).
Mark
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Orange outlets are Isolated Ground (IG), meaning that the ground pins on the outlets are isolated from the mounting yoke. They are used for equipment that may be sensitive to stray currents on the ground wire, such as computers and medical equipment. They will normally be wired with a dedicated ground wire back to the ground bus in the panel, known as Star Grounding. The idea is that the grounds are tied together at a single location, with a single ground path, in order to reduce noise induced on the ground bus.
IG outlets are designated by a triangle on the face of the outlet, and are normally orange in color, but not always.
IG outlets are not always Hospital Grade, which is a separate rating, but are generally at least Commercial Grade, if not Specification Grade.
Hospital Grade outlets are designated by a green dot on the face, and may, but are not required to be IG.
You may also see blue outlets, which are frequently Surge Protection, or yellow outlets, which are normally Corrosion Resistant. The Surge Protection outlets may also be IG.
Other colors generally have no special meaning, although you sometimes see red used for emergency power circuits.
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On Sat, 22 Oct 2005 10:13:08 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@tantivy.tantivy.net (Bob Vaughan) wrote:

Thanks for the detailed info. Interesting reading. Having worked mostly on residential wiring, I never knew there were all these special types of outlets. Next time I am at one of these places I will have to look for the triangle and/or green dot. I wouldn't mind getting a few of those surge protection outlets for my computer and electronics at home. Seems like thwey would be better than power strip protectors.....
Mark
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[stuff snipped....]

The blue outlets do not provide surge protection in the outlets, I believe the blue means they are connected to surge protection circuitry.
A place I worked at before used red outlets throughout the building for the computer equipment circuits. Kept someone from plugging in a vacuum cleaner or space heater into the same line as a server (at least in theory).
- Mike O.
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On Sat, 22 Oct 2005 21:42:11 +0000, Mike O'Donnell wrote:

At my POE, they're (red outlets) isolated circuits too. They don't want the cleanign crew injecting anything into the grounds. In fact, the cleaning crews also have isolated cords (big blockof plastic announcing that they're isolated and a GFCI brick) on their equipment. There was a time they'd reach into the back of computers to grab power. A few crashes taught a big lesson.
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Keith


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Getting power from the back of a computer is just plain wrong !!!! I'd fire an idiot that did that...... :)
However, plugging a vacuum into the same circuit as a computer really should not cause problems (unless they blow the breaker). I run my computer on the same outlets that run my vacuum, tv set, stereo, and whatever else I plug in. Never seen any problems, except power tools seem to make static on the computer screen and the tv, but they do that on any circuit.
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Right.. I had a bit of brainfade there. I have used some distribution panels where the outlets were color coded to match the phases (black, red, blue).
Lets amend that to say that if the outlet is blue Decora or Quad style, then it is a TVSS (transient voltage surge supression) type, and if it is a standard style, it is not a TVSS device, although it may be connected to one.
A search of the manufacturers catalogs and websites seems to confirm this.
Bryant (now part of Hubbell) markets a line of surge suppression (TVSS) receptacles that are available in blue, brown, gray, ivory, white in Decora style, and in blue and ivory in their Quadplex style. The catalog page shows the example in blue. These are all IG, and Industrial or Hospital grade, nylon or Lexan.
Leviton markets a line of surge supression outlets in orange (IG), white, ivory, gray, red, but not blue. Leviton does not appear to offer blue outlets. (at least not in the printed catalog that I have in front of me.)
Pass & Seymour/Legrand, and Cooper also offer TVSS receptacles in various colors, including blue.
Bryant, Hubbell, and Cooper also offer standard 5-20R or 5-15R duplex receptacles in blue, but those appear to be the only non-TVSS examples that I can find in blue.

In theory :-) In reality, color dosen't do much if the person running the vacumn cleaner dosen't know what the colors are supposed to mean.

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Thanks for the update. Actually after I posted my reply I remembered seeing outlets in all sorts of colors but they are just colored for decoration sake. I think they are called designer types. Actually I used to wonder why they only made them in ivory and brown (years ago). Now I guess we got the whole spectrum. Of course that sort of voids out the color coding of the special ones. I dont know if they make the decorative ones in orange or red, but that could be confusing. I'd think they would redesign the shape instead, for the specialty ones, but who knows that may be next. Just like the propane cylinders now, you got to have that triangular shaped handle. I always thought, "so what if I changed just the handle on one of the older cylinders, instead of the whole valve"?
PS. Back when outlets were only ivory and brown, I always reversed the color of the plates. In other words, ivory outlets got brown plates. I always thought they looked better that way, and was sort of a protest against conventional boredom. (you know, the 60's) But now, with all these designer colors, this could get rather confusing, and of course they do this just before I am about ready to start to get alzheimers !!!! Now I know why so many young people need therapists <lol>.....
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On 22-Oct-2005, snipped-for-privacy@tantivy.tantivy.net (Bob Vaughan) wrote:

That's interesting - thanks for the info. Does that mean that the mounting yoke and box are separately grounded or are they not grounded?
I've only noticed orange outlets in computer environments and only for outlets guaranteed to have power in a blackout - that's what I always thought the colour meant. Now I know better.
Mike
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Everything is grounded, even the threads for the machine screw that holds the cover plate. It should be noted that the higher grade receptacles have steel frames and the "plastic" parts are nylon. There is a reason for the cost difference between receps costing over $15 wholesale and $.69 retail at the Borg.
(top posted for your convenience) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net
(Bob Vaughan) wrote:

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wrote:

Next time you get in a hospital, (hopefully only as a visitor) look at the outlets !!!!
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Michael Daly ( snipped-for-privacy@foo.bar) said...

The yoke and the mounting screws are grounded through the box's normal ground connection, but there is an extra INSULATED grounding conductor that connects to the ground screw on the outlet to provide the ground for the grounding pin.
This insulated grounding conductor provides a direct connection to the grounding point in the distribution panel, so nothing else shares the path back as would be the case with the "normal" grounding conductor.
In an environment I used to work in, it was common practice to wire the orange outlets with 14/3 cable. The white and black were wired to the outlet as usual, and the bare conductor was wired to the box as usual. The red conductor was the isolated ground and was wired to the ground screw on the outlet.
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wrote:

Isolated wiring is not only for protection of the equipment. If you're having an EKG done, you don't want your arm or leg tied to earth ground. If there were a malfunction and you were tied to ground......you might go bye bye.
Bob
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On Sat, 22 Oct 2005 00:24:20 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

I had once worked on servicing medical equipment. On the equipment end it is necessary to use hospital grade plugs. Hospital grade meant that the wire ends should be properly secured and any sparks from loose ends do not ignite explosive gasses or oxygen commonly encountered in hospital environments. The body of the plug is often very bulky to bury the wires deep inside and possibly to contain any sparks that may be generated. Take a look at the plugs. They are often transparent so that one can see if the wire attachment to the plug pins are secure. Loose wires also generate electrical noise that would interfere with sensitive medical equipment.
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