After some wiring upgrades in my house I went around with an outlet
tester to confirm all polarities and grounds were correct.
All tested good.
Later, doing some plumbing work, I noticed that on one run of conduit
(from 1932) is loose at the junction box due to stripped threads.
Even though the ground on the circuits associated with this run test OK
with a circuit tester, with my ohm meter it shows 200 ohms and I don't
I took two ground clamps and connected them to either side of the poor
junction and wired them together and the ground at the outlets shows
about one ohm which should be OK.
My question is:
Is it permissible to leave things like that? If not I might as well
replace the entire run...which is going to be a PITA.
Otherwise, since there are just a few lamps on these circuits, can I use
a two prong outlet...the type with no ground? I see they are still being
sold so presume there are some uses for them.
Certainly. Can't fathom stripped threads on a conduit connector. What
kind of "conduit" are we talking about, specifically? If thin wall
(EMT), can't see why it would be any biggie to simply replace a
connector at the box if really need be--they're just compression fit to
the conduit and threaded inside the box.
The conduit is circa 1932, it's almost like water pipe.
The ends are threaded and it's fastened to the junction box by one nut
inside and one out. I think the nut itself is stripped as it just turns
and does not tighten.
To replace it I'd have to open the junction box and disassemble the
wires. Back in those days they did not use wire nuts...the wires are
twisted, soldered and taped. If I was going to take it apart and try to
fix this, I'd be better off just replacing the run with all new Romex.
BTW: That old wire does not appear to be copper. It may be steel...I
don't know but it's very stiff.
There's a lot of stuff that old and older here on the farm -- I've never
had any trouble in just clipping the ends and having enough remaining to
then use wire nuts.
But, I don't see any issue with the workaround you've installed either
functionally or any Code prohibition.
I'm not sure on the wire itself, I've wondered a couple of times on some
of this if it might not have been Cu-plated but haven't ever gone to the
effort to really find out.
After the electricians put in the new , 200 amp panel I've spent two
weeks adding new circuits and bringing all my "slap-dash" work up to
code...so I don't feel like doing any more wiring right now.
The wiring itself seems to be OK and even the old insulation has held up
pretty well....so for now I'm going to leave things as they are.
Duh, I never thought of that. Will try later.
OTOH I now think it's probably not steel as I used to cut up "commo"
wire when I was in the Army. That has steel and aluminum strands and is
very hard to cut.
My suspicsion is hard drawn copper. When copper is drawn it is "work
hardened" and very stiff. To make it easier to use, modern copper wire
is fully annealed.. Some older copper is not oxygen free and 99.9%
pure, and it precipitation hardens - over a long time it gets hard.
This wire also tends to get a verdigris colouring to it with age.
This is just my "educated guess" and there are half a dozen guys on
the list that will tell me I don't know anything about electrical and
don't know what I'm talking about.
I do have a copy of the very first electrical standards handbook
published in the USA in 1914 handed down through generations of
electricians from my great grandfather's brother-in-law who was one of
the first electricians in Waterloo County, ending up in my father's
hands -I'm part of the first generation since NOT to make my living as
an electrician although I did a lot of work with my dad as a
He's saying if it were drawn it would tend to be work-hardened and hence
stiff...there's some of that here, too, and while it is stiffer than
modern Cu wire of same gauge, the stuff here that is like what you
describe also is _definitely_NOT_ solid Cu--that can be seen w/ a
freshly cut face. It is plated and like your supposition, I think it is
a steel core altho I've not analyzed it carefully.
The reason I didn't respond here yesterday is that I thought I knew
where there was a scrap laying around and went and looked thinking I
could determine if it were, indeed, ferrous by the magnet test, but
apparently I did clean up and tossed it. I did not find any old roll
ends of it in a cursory look around the barn loft where all the
leftovers and rework salvage is, unfortunately.
So, I still don't know more than the appearance and the certainty it
isn't solid Cu--unless there was some other alloy that lost the
characteristic Cu color.
Curiosity question -- what's the insulation material on what is there?
On thinking, I'm not sure precisely what age/era this belongs too...it's
not in the house which was built in 1915/-16 and originally wired K&T
with a Delco 32V DC windcharger system as the power
source...forward-looking for farmhouse in them days, was Grandpa... :)
Anyway, it probably is roughly depression-era as where I've found it is
in the old farrowing house and some other add-ons since the earliest
outbuildings/barn that were all in the period right around the house but
before the coming of the REC in '48 at which time there was quite a lot
of additional wiring added since then had the capacity for more than
just a light here and there. There's also some (where I last worked on
it, adding another yardlight control to the circuit in the second garage
that hadn't ever had one since we've been using both since coming back
to the farm) but that dates to, I think, the early 50s. I'm guessing it
was wired with leftovers from previous work at that time being as how
neither grandfather nor dad would have ever not used something on hand
if possible rather than buy new if it suited the purpose...
With that, I'm wondering if indeed, it is an aberration owing to the
Depression that was a cheaper alternative in times of trouble, but
that's purely supposition. Some web searching has turned up no
references to anything like it that I've found.
It's never been an issue in all the years it's been installed out here
so while I've thought "that's odd!" when run into it, never did more to
really look into it at the time.
Because I was in the battery business and studied the history , I have
seen documentation on those 32 volt systems. There were even manuals
showing you how to make your own lead battery plates!
Yep, I make use of leftover parts all the time!
BTW: Since my house was made in 1898 and they did not start to wire
houses here until at least 1905 I was lucky that it was wired in 1932
and does not use knob and tube.
With knob and tube, even if the insulation breaks down, the ceramic
insulators will keep things from shorting...
HOWEVER: Years ago the parents of one of my daughter's friend asked me
to check out the wiring as their daughter was getting shocked when she
took a shower. The knob and tube wiring was in the wall behind the
bathtub and moisture had gotten in and created a conduction path.
I killed the power to that line and told the mother to call an
electrician and have that circuit entirely replaced.
Later I found out she just turned the power back on and ignored my advice!
No way would I take a chance like that...they later sold the house.
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